We don’t eat out that much as a family, to be honest it’s never been much fun. The food is way too colourful (ergo suspicious), it takes too long to arrive resulting in the unpopular activity of extended sitting and if you down your babychino in one and lob the cup over your shoulder unashamedly, well it turns out some places are not quite so ‘baby friendly’ after all. In short I can think of better ways to spend 50 quid.
Now compare this experience to that of McDonalds – the food is consumed voluntarily and without fuss, delivered to you within seconds, all wrapped up in an exciting looking box and with a piece of plastic tat for good measure. Is it a no brainer? Do you scurry your brood in, head hung in shame or would you not let your kids within 100 ft of the golden arches?
When I was a kid Maccie D’s was part of childhood. It was the post panto tradition every Christmas eve, it was the crème de la crème of birthday parties with the coveted kitchen tour. I fondly remember scoring stacks of no purchase necessary game cards and standing in the street with my sisters, fervently scratching the panels in the hope of revealing ‘free regular fries’.
We used to wolf down the chicken teeth and giblets along with the nuggets no bother and moo at our mad cow brain burgers. Mechanical separation – say what? Pig fat milkshakes – Yum!
Yet times have changed and despite a massive positive shift in the processes and quality of the food there those who would have you believe that every time someone buys their kid a happy meal Jamie Oliver finds a kitten and stamps on its head repeatedly until it is dead; which seems confusingly contrary to his general ethical stance on stuff but hey ho.
I confess – we go. I just make a massive show of licking the babies chips clean of salt before he eats them. Better people think me unhinged than an irresponsible parent. And I can hardly wax lyrical about the benefits of healthy eating soon as the only vegetables I would consume up to the age of 25 were potatoes and the tomatoes in ketchup. Look at me, I’m not dead (yet).
Worth a visit for one of my favourite photos ever
So does taking your kids out for chicken nuggets and chips as the odd treat or a convenient refueling stop make you a bad mum?
Well I guess it depends on who you ask, for my 3 yr old the answer is a resounding no. His expected opinion to my very shame – ‘Best tea ever!’
As for the cute little guy below, he may disagree, but then I’m not the one performing the death stamp am I?
Kitties your beef(burger) is with the naked chef. #leavechickennuggetsaloneyoubastard
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)
I once had lofty ideals about what is feed my kids. Milin is now two and my parenting is more along the lines of if he eats it, that’s a victory! As long as something goes in, I’ve stopped fretting about what it might be! X
Yep anything eaten is definitely a victory! And sometimes you just need a stress free meal :)
Ha ha this made me laugh. H has had a couple of mcd/burger kings in the last year or so. It’s not something I’m opposed to at all, well I mean unless it’s every day then yes perhaps not great. A little of what you fancy and all that xxx
Exactly! The forbidden fruit is only more temping right! X
I love that guy looking at you in the background – are you licking chips at the time of snapping? We go – no big deal x
I was wondering weather to mention him! He really makes the shot doesn’t he ;)
Haha this really made me chuckle. We pass a McDonalds every day on my home from work and that’s precisely the point z will announce “I’m hungareee! I want chips!” Some People are SO horrified aren’t they? :)
Nowt wrong with chips! Ha
my 4 yr old knows where the services are when were near! lol
Oh, we go. If we are in town over lunch, it remains the cheapest (the ONLY) place where I can feed my family of 4 (well, 3…lucky Rory gets breadsticks or rice cakes from my bag) for under a tenner. Considering the cost of parking and whatever thing we originally came into town to buy, we make a small saving by going to Maccy D’s for lunch. Also, Arlo actually eats it. And I quite like a dirty burger.
All those reasons are exactly why we sometimes go. Why pay 4 times the price for stressful drawn out meal?!
I love this!!
I went down the (largely) baby led weaning route which I swear on my life was through laziness. Nothing pleases me more than to see Gwenn feeding herself in the high chair watching “I Can Cook” while I sit out of sight eating a massive empire biscuit from the bakers round the corner.
She’s never eaten a McDonald’s (although she’s eaten IN McDonald’s) but she isn’t quite one yet. However, despite many attempts on my part to get her to try any food I can think of, her main diet consists of oranges, and toast with Philadelphia or pesto. The other night she had potato waffles and fishfingers (all the beige) and not a crumb hit the floor. I’m with one of the previous posters; if she eats something then I’m happy. I think I went through a week of worrying about her recent pickiness and then thought, “Well, she hasn’t grown horns or anything so I reckon she’s probably doing okay”.
I think all kids go through fussy phases and getting stressed out about it just makes it worse. Just gotta roll with the punches ;)
I’m so with you. As a veggie, I shudder at the thought of McDs and I never thought I’d take my kids there. But I can’t bear eating out with them – it’s a very stressful and wasteful way to spend £50, as you say. So we do go there on occasion, but my ultimate fast food is takeaway sausage rolls – yes the car gets flakey, yes my kids will only eat the cheapest meat there is (posh sausages being “too spicy”), but we don’t have to sit down with them in public! Great post hon xx
Ha ha brilliant Wry – will have to try them :)
I must be a bad mum too then! Though we like you, we hardly ever have a meal out, unless we have friends over for a visit. Little T loves happy meals too – I must be a bad mum to let her have it! Thankfully she doesn’t have it often :) x
Well it seems to be pretty normal by all accounts Dean so i think we are doing ok x
I love this! We went this weekend, too, and I felt a little guilty amidst wolfing down my french fries. Just a little.
Also agree that it is not that much fun to go out to eat with young children. Same as going on vacation with them–the work-to-fun ratio is too high to make it worth it. :)
Looking forward to reading more!
yep holidays – different location, same old sh*t ;)
My mum was far too snobby and health conscious to ever take me to MacDonalds… so of course I do the opposite – my girls love going every now and again. Our local one has a little soft play too so I often get to drink my coffee in relative peace and eat the leftovers of their food while they play, win win. ;-)
SO jealous Morgana! We need soft play Maccie D’s x
Sign me up as a full7y paid member of the bad mums club. We go – not every day obviously, but yeah, we go. My kids always eat everything, and have been known to lick the sauce pots clean. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and they eat. Winner.
laughing at licking the sauce pots clean – i loved it just as much as that as a kid x
I think this is my fav post you’ve written so far! Love it! Eating out with a handful of small people is hellish – I just wish my boys would actually eat a MDs as it would be so easy to pop in and escape before they’d had time to destroy the restaurant. They don’t eat chips and only one of them will eat nuggets (weirdos) but they can spot the golden arches from a distance of 500m which goes to show how insane the branding is. We’ll stick with Pizza Hut instead – just as unhealthy but at least they all eat pizza and the tomato sauce has to count as one of their five a day, right? x
Absolutely BLOODY fabulous! I think this is my favourite post you have written so far. I would totally take my kids to McDonalds, I am all for pig fat milkshakes (especially Vanilla!) and huge greasy quarter pounders but would you believe the f*eckers don’t actually like it? We have tried numerous times to bribe Mads with chicken nuggets and chips with lashings of ketchup but she just WILL NOT EAT IT and eats the bloody fruit bag instead. Definitely not a normal child and definitely not like her Mummy. ;)
‘Chippies’ was about the fifth word Henry learned, and he would shout it as soon as he saw the golden arches in the distance. We go quite a lot, and I always hang my head in shame a little. Now I know I’m not alone, I won’t feel so guilty! x
Haha brilliant … Again!!
Well I already confessed to you what I had for my brekkie yesterday ;) so you know where I stand on McDonalds, personally. I’ve never taken my daughter there to eat, but you make a good case…!
Oh I’m all for a Maccy D’s. And our three love it! I do think the tat in the Happy Meal does swing it for them but, hey, anything that gives me an excuse to eat a Big Mac! Giggled at you licking the salt off the chips – Macdonalds induced dehydration. But all for a good cause ;) Brilliant post! Xx
Thanks Emma – and yep Big Macs mmmmmmm, sometimes they are the only thing that will hit the spot! x
Whenever I aks my eldest what she fancies for tea, the answer is invariably “Maccies” – we do have it now and again and I don’t mind them having it. However, we have just recently watched Supersize Me, so that she does get the idea that eating it constantly is not great. WOW – I’m a proper responsible parent and that :) I do confess to having a bit of a liking for their breakfasts…but I never lick the salt off their chips. Now that is just WEIRD Gin! x :) Great post xxx
I’m weird?! Your blog is full of video/photographic evidence of your weirdness Mardy! x
Good on you girl. I often take the children post-school on a Friday and that means hubby and I can enjoy a meal in peace later that night. It is a winner winner chicken dinner. I too am laughing that the random man in the background. Do you think he knows he is now famous on the Hurrah for Gin blog ha x
ha ha wouldn’t it be funny if he came forward! He does really add something to the photo :)
I love the Golden Arches! Very happy it’s the holidays now and we can go! If only they delivered………
Great post! You know my stance on ‘convenience food’ but this is a whole different topic! I’m all for fast food – There are times where it’s definitely tradition and a treat and other times where there’s nothing else available – Motorway services or at a retail park shopping that took far too long.
LP had her first experience of ‘dippy’ at McD’s and had fish fingers – That probably contained more fish than the ones we have at home. I will occasionally stop at McD for a milkshake as a treat too when in town – There’s definitely a place for McD’s in our lives :) I too have fond memories from childhood! x
I am shocked at this Donna but the over riding feeling is relief – i was a bit terrified you might hate me for this post :)
Ha! I felt so guilty on Saturday when I got J a Happy Meal. We very rarely go with the kids as I do always try and cook meals from scratch and pile in as many fruit and veg as I can. However, I knew I wanted him to eat a big lunch and I knew fish fingers and chips would be demolished. It’s the food guaranteed to be eaten without fuss, like you say. I just raise my voice and say “tonight, you’re having vegetable pasta and no pudding” or the such, just so everyone can hear and not judge me too harshly.
Without sounding like a massive sycophant (as I always say the following but…) I LOVE this!!
I always said I’d never give my kids fast food, purely because I’m a fat bastard that couldn’t pass the Golden Arches as a kid without nagging for a meal. I didn’t want my kids to get into the habit of it like I did. Now I have kids my thoughts have gone well out the window, T LOVES Nandos. I take him every time we go into town, mainly because I know he’s going to eat a full meal and not decorate the walls with it like he does at home.
Ha ha Laura :) The thing is, denying it only makes it seem more attractive. Its just about balance i think, the odd treat is good for them!
When my daughter was younger I made a point of getting the happy meals with carrot sticks and fruit but you can only get away with that for so long. We don’t eat a lot of take away food these days (due to price not ethics) but she does prefer subway (footlong tuna on wheat with cucumber at 8y/o!) or kfc as they have corn on the cob again her choice not mine.
I love your post Katie. So jealous too of your golden arch visits. I had fond memories of birthday parties and special dinners with the family there too. I am only sad that places like this at the moment can’t be visited by us as Buba has deadly allergies to all nuts and eggs which make restaurant food a nightmare so we cant go to fast food places. sadly. I do foresee a sneaky special mommy daughter day out and promises not to tell her brother when she is much older and can keep such a secret from him with Missy Moo is she too doesn’t have bad allergies. Love this picture of your lil one with chicken nugget face! too cute. You are so right here. Great post and I love the bad mums club even though I wrote last month bad mum posts but did my in a way too serious no one got the sarcasm kind of way. I will have to rethink this next one. hahaha
Oh no Jenny i didn’t know that, it must be such hard work! Well i do hope his allergies improve soon.
I must have missed your last post – will have to look it up x
1) mmmm why is it harder to win prizes in McDonalds now? Makes me fume 2) happy meals make us all happy 3) my best party ever was in Maccy Ds! x
ha ha ha!! We love us a good old ‘Mouse D’s’ as my little one calls it – he got confused with the ‘Mickey D’s’ concept!! And I also must confess to a bit of salt sucking off the chips – especially when my girl was 10months!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh! I’m defo a bad one!
Great post. We go to macdonalds every few months – my daughter gets really excited. Whenever we pass ‘old macdonalds’ we have a long conversation about everything she likes about it. Xx
I confess we go to McDonald’s probably more than we should. My daughters favourite is the cheese burger. I’ve given up feeling ashamed of not cooking, but hey its not everyday! :-)
McDonalds a life saver! Especially when he is sick! No matter how down he is McDonalds lifts up his mood =) #badmumsclub
I bloody love a McDonalds. I don’t give a hoot what’s actually in it. As a student I ate 3 Big Macs in a row – I’m proud of that. Anyway, yes N has had french fries from there, and I didn’t even think to lick the salt off….
I once greedily polished off a portion of maccy d chips that my twin nieces didn’t eat only to discover that my sis had pre – sucked the salt off the whole lot beforehand….nice!! Ha! It’s all about balance innit?! The odd naughty treat isn’t going to do them any harm…its not like you’re blending a pot noodle every day for their lunch! :) my husband let’s Jude have a whole french stick to himself when they go to sainsburys on Saturdays when I’m at work and he pulls out all of the bread from inside, pops the hollowed out shell on his arm and then eats his “robot arm”….strange child! X
Ha ha that’s brilliant – well both the weird robot arm thing and the fact you at a portion of pre-licked chips :)
p.s are you not meant to feed blended pot noodles to kids then?!
We are no strangers to the odd Maccys! The kids refer to it as “tea from the shop” & can’t nag for it as dont know its “McDonalds” lol. ;-)
I don’t go to MacDonalds but that’s only because I am a Burger King girl. So far I think I have managed to keep my daughter away from there but once she is a bit older I have absolutely no issue with us going there for a Friday evening treat or something. A bit of everything in moderation is fine! I laughed at your memories of Maccies Birthday Parties, I remember getting a Wimpy one and feeling on top of the world! These days kids would probably turn up their noses at that, but in my day it was the height of sophistication!!
It totally was the height of sophistication wasn’t it?! We used to play pass the parcel at home and have pineapple and cheese hedgehogs but nowadays the amount of money spent on parties is mental!
p.s Burger king?! you are weird. The burgers taste way too real.
Now I’m showing my age BUT McDonalds wasn’t really very well known when I was a child (or at least my parents wouldn’t darken the door!). Once I hit the teenage years I was there every weekend with friends and my kids love it! Personally I think you’re a bad mum if you DONT let them try these things. Now, how do I get the accolade of ‘Bad Mum’? Not heard of this little community but it sounds right up my street!
Ha ha i should have mentioned it to you Suzanne. Just link up – it’s on Alison from not another mummy blog this time and Aimee at pass the gin next time. First Monday of the month x
We may have gone there for lunch today, and I let Archie have his very first Macdonalds. I felt so bad but we got the boys chips without the salt and that basically made it a healthy meal! (If you want to save your tongue then just ask them, or maybe you like the salt – salt is rather yummy, as are calories!). We eat out quite a bit with the boys and nothing is as UNstressful as MaccieDs
Thanks for confession…I thought I would never take my toddler to McDonalds! But we have been… several times! EEK …. she loves the damn chips! And, the ice cream…. oh, well every now and again!
Now if they served G&T’s for mamas I might be tempted in a bit more!!!
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