14/08/2014 16:35 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Yes, I'm Childless - No, I'm Not A Babysitter

Let's cut to the end, I'm sick of looking after other people's children in restaurants.

It's boring, makes me furious and frankly, one of the things I love about being childless is having the freedom to eat dinner and not worry some three-year-old has decided to colour in the table.

Recently a friend and I went out to breakfast. It wasn't cheap - £20 a head - but we were belatedly celebrating our birthdays and decided to splash out. But just as the food arrived, so did a family of mum, dad, two young children and a dog.


The kids were shouting and throwing crayons at each other. The dog - in an attempt to bolt round the cafe - got tangled in my chair. And the parents? Settled down, opened their papers and ignored the whole thing.

Untangling the dog and picking a crayon out of my overpriced pancakes I said to the mother, holding out the dog's lead and doing my best sorry-to-be-a-pain face, that he seemed a bit nervy.

She looked up from her paper, smiled beatifically and said, "He'll be fine".

Neither she or the dad took the dog. They didn't try to pacify their children. They had the relaxed breakfast we'd planned while we got caught in a crossfire of child warfare/dog neurosis. I mean, Jesus Christ.

I don't have children or pets and I don't want to look after other people's - that's it. I'm not some bitch-child-animal-hater - I just think if you're bringing your kids to a restaurant, they're your responsibility.

A childless, pet-free girl is not a nursery nurse waiting to happen and while we're on the subject, childless, pet-free guys are never expected to deal with this kind of shit.

Through a flash poll of friends I discovered I wasn't alone in my feelings or experience. "The moment you smile or coo even just a little at a child, some parents assume you're taking over babysitter duties," said one friend. "So I ignore them like I would anyone else who sat down next to me."

Another added: "It's the weirdest thing - why are some parents happy just letting strangers look after their kids? Waiting staff get it the worst, some people don't realise childminding isn't part of their job."

Does any of this sound familiar? Join the discussion - tweet us @MyDailyUK.