Tuesday, 24 June 2014

No Prams Allowed!

While at the gym this morning I managed to catch a bit of a news report about a local cafe owner who has decided to ban prams/pushchairs from her cafe. Hmm...bold move! I have to admit I wasn't totally surprised to see a story like this but am not entirely sure if this is a wise move for the cafe owner.

The cafe has not banned parents, nor has it banned children, but it has declared (quite clearly with a sign) that prams are not allowed in. So here's the deal: now when you visit this particular cafe, you must leave your pushchair/pram either outside the cafe or in the foyer. 

The cafe owner felt obliged to make this move, as at one point there were 13 prams in the cafe and staff were starting to worry about the health and safety not only of themselves but of the children and parents they were serving. While I won't disagree that there is a safety concern when so many pushchairs are in such a confined space, I can see why parents that frequent this cafe with their little ones are upset. Prams make a massive difference in the ease of getting around with our children and quite frankly without one even for such a short time or distance the day becomes a little more chaotic.

What is a mum to do when she is due to meet up with a friend or just needs a change of location and she has a sleeping baby in her pram? Surely waking the little one will wreak greater havoc on the cafe as screams bellow out of that tired little one's mouth. What about that mum or dad who has two or more toddlers and a newborn in tow; how will they get all of them from the door to the table in addition to a (probably big) baby bag for a light lunch? 

The giant double pram only made it to outdoor cafes.
Since I have become a mum, I have realised that one of the cafe's biggest frequenter is a mum! Mums need a break. They want a little treat, so a coffee and a cake with other mummy friends is a godsend. A cafe is also a fantastic middle ground kind of place to meet up with friends that may not have children (after all, I can't imagine many non-parents fancy a jaunt to the local soft play area) and above all, it gets you away from your house which can be a necessary change of pace for everyone's sanity! 
Single pram also took up some space. Imagine 13 of these in a room!
However, having said this I also realise that there is a time and a place for everything including prams and with children you need to be a little bit more in tune to that. I very rarely if ever join friends at cafes any more. I have two angelic yet wild toddlers. They don't want to sit down quietly while mummy has a coffee. For awhile it worked to keep my youngest in the pram and have my oldest sit on my lap but even then, I knew I would have to find a large cafe that could and would accommodate prams. I stopped having lunch out at one of my favourite healthy cafes as it is so small even a tiny pushchair would be inappropriate to try and smuggle in. 

So, there probably is no real wrong or right here. I can easily see both sides of the issue. I guess the way forward for us cafe-going parents is to look for larger more accommodating (baby/pram friendly) cafes, head to soft play areas (some of which have lovely coffees and cakes!), now the weather is better head outside, join friends at their houses (take turns, it is only fair) or just be prepared to leave your pram outside. It certainly is nice and sometimes sanity saving (depending on your children) to get to a cafe but it isn't a right and lets face it, most of us would rather go elsewhere than have boiling hot coffee dropped on our little ones due to tight spacing from too many prams in a tiny cafe. 

Additionally, let's not forget, it won't be long until our children won't need prams and we can then venture back out to our local tiny cafe for a brew without worry (well, worrying about fitting a pram in anyway) ;-) As for the cafe owner, I'm sorry to say, but the unfortunate consequence of this ban will probably be a loss in sales as your pram toting parents may very well be your best/most frequent customers. 

What are your thoughts? 

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