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Mom who packs her child a meal when going out to restaurants has parents fired up

Does she have a good point?

karlie smith, kids and eating out, unbreakablemomma

Karlie Smith shows the meal she's bringing to the restaurant for her son.

A mom who admitted she packs her 2-year-old a meal when they go out to dinner has started an interesting debate on TikTok about restaurant etiquette and how it applies to young children.

The video posted by Ohio mom, Karlie Smith (unbreakablemomma on TikTok), has received nearly 600,000 views and has over 1,850 comments.

“Call me cheap, call me whatever, but if we’re going out to a restaurant, I’m packing my kid a meal," Smith, 21, said in her post. "I do this for many reasons. On Friday nights, my family and I get together, and tonight, we’re getting food out. My son is not getting food out.”


"For one, you want me to pay $6.99 for chicken tenders and fries that my son is going to throw half of it on the floor? You’re crazy," she continued. "Also, whatever I pack is probably going to be healthier than what the restaurant has anyways."

Smith’s example of a $6.99 kids’ meal is generous. In some parts of the country, a kids’ meal will set you back a lot more than that.

@unbreakablemomma

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

In the video, Smith demonstrated what she prepared for her son's meal that day: a sandwich filled with peanut butter and jelly, banana slices, cubed cheddar cheese and a chocolate-flavored Lara bar, all neatly organized in a plastic container.

Smith added that when they get to the restaurant, her child can begin to eat immediately without having to wait for a server to take their order and the kitchen to prepare the food.

"I can just hand him this and let him go to town,” she said. “Also, my child is not opinionated. He does not care what he eats; he just wants to eat."

The mother of two created quite a stir on TikTok after posting the video, with some people shaming her for bringing outside food into a restaurant. Many felt she wasn’t being fair by taking a seat without buying a meal, while others thought the restaurant was a good place for a child to learn patience. Others felt she wasn’t being fair by eating a restaurant-cooked meal while her child ate food from home.

"$6.99 is not a outrageous price. Eating out is definitely a experience a child deserves while everyone eats out," Suki commented.

"It is sooo important that they learn patience at that age. The same two-year-old who doesn’t learn that becomes a screaming five-year-old," Heth added.

"Someone once told me if u can't afford to let your kid get whatever meal they want at a restaurant, u shouldn’t be eating out," Kiana stated.

"You are paying for the seat at the table, not just the food. The price of the food to the restaurant is a tiny part of it," LiverpoolLilac wrote.

However, many people felt for Smith and thought she was doing the right thing for her child and finances.

"This is a great idea and I will be using it! Why would I buy a 2-year-old a meal they won’t eat? People need to stop harassing you," Katy Brown wrote.

"This is great cause restaurant food is rarely healthy for kids. Always chicken tenders and grilled cheese or corn dogs etc, and fries fries fries," Luna added.

"This is so smart, my kids always waste out food & always eat what I make so thanks for this tip!" Ceryna said.

After the video was bombarded with comments, Smith told Today.com that, as a former server, she always leaves a tip that compensates for the food brought from home and cleans up the table.

Smith put out a follow-up video where she had some fun with the negative comments she received on the video.

@unbreakablemomma

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

This article originally appeared on 5.26.23

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