Occasionally, as I have mentioned before, the wife and I muster enough energy and petty cash to sneak out of the house for few hours. I know what you're thinking; with two full-time jobs, a mortgage, a weedy yard, a leaky roof, an attention-dependent, partially house trained mutt, a 2.25 year old Toddlersaurus Rex (who's completely unhousebroken) and a grad-school program that's turned your wife into a Chinese Olympian, why would you ever want to leave the house?
So color us crazy. If you don't get your jollies from walking past a restaurant peering through the glass at child-less couples actually savoring a meal without the thousand-yard stare, then you probably aren't a member of the married with children club. If you're out some night and happen to see a couple walking zombie-like, partially overdressed but perhaps one is accidentally wearing the shoes he uses to mow the lawn with with an Elmo sticker on the seat of his pants, just remember, they're people too. And it's rude to stare.
If that same couple should end up at the same hip, trendy night spot (or Chili's) at the same time as you, let them go ahead. They're probably here thirty minutes later than they wanted to be and the thirteen year old that's at home texting, watching their TV and ideally keeping the kid from needing poison control is getting paid by the hour.
If you happen to be the employee responsible for waiting on said couple this night, keep in mind smugness, eye rolling, and a general display of impatience will negatively impact your tip. They get to experience this treatment at home, don't expect them to pay extra for it somewhere else.
Yes, the wife will need a full sixteen minutes to peruse the drink menu so there's really no need to ask us if we've decided every thirty seconds. It's our first time out in awhile so we really have no idea what we want and we'll likely end up ordering your gourmet fish sticks and mac 'n' cheese anyways. Boring, yes. But those leftovers are a toddler-approved microwaved meal for tomorrow. Which means we'll be needing the boxes, so don't look all incredulously when we ask for them when we order.
And if you see that couple, quietly picking through their meals, seldom talking, frequently checking their phones for texts, don't feel for them. They're probably happier than you can imagine.
And please, stop staring.