An Open Thank You Letter to My Fellow Chick-fil-a Moms

One afternoon after sending my force-fed children off into the glass-enclosed zoo exhibit that is the Chick-fil-a playground, I began my ritual of grazing waffle fries dipped in sauce. Without my own children there for me to beg not to lick the table or repeatedly state the necessary amount of nuggets to eat before playing, I’m left to watch the other restaurant patrons.

It’s no surprise that most of them are moms with children. There are a few adults without kids, and I can’t help but wonder what their deal is. Why would anyone prefer sitting in this chaos over chilling in a quiet car if they didn’t have to!?! But, I digress. In between counting my children through the glass window every few minutes, I found myself becoming more and more grateful to be in the presence of moms just like me, and I felt compelled to write them a thank you letter.

Dear fellow Chick-fil-a moms,

As I watch you stand over a child who is face down on the ground and throwing a tantrum because you told her it was time to leave, I can’t help but feel thankful that it’s not me. It has definitely been me. But in this space and time, it’s not. So, thank you for letting me witness your hot mess while I stuff my face with fries at my calm (for now) table and post a sham of a cute picture of all of my children smiling and proudly displaying their balloon animals with the caption “We love kids’ night at Chick-fil-a!” (lies, all of it, lies).

Even Stella knows it’s a sham.

Then, I overhear an all too familiar conversation at the table next to me. You are trying to reason with your irrational toddler, and I can’t look away as you plea, “Since you had to take a bite out of the bottom of the cone, it’s starting to leak and I have to throw it away.” Your child then proceeds to drag you through the stages of grief for ice cream cone loss. I hear you trying to offer your heartfelt condolences, but it’s not enough. The ordeal culminates in a flailing and screeching trip to the car. I am overcome with appreciation that I’m not having the same experience. Thank you for that.

Thanks to you, Chick-fil-a mom! We only ask for cups now.

Not to be out done, a child a few tables away proclaims, “I need to potty!” I see the defeat on your face, Chick-fil-a mom. You just sat down and distributed nuggets and fries to all your kids. Seeing as your child is too young to go to the public restroom alone, you have to pack the food back up and drag the whole crew, drinks and all, to the bathroom. You’ll never be able to get out of there without potty germs ending up on those straws, and you know it. Thank you for making me grateful to be past the eating portion of my Chick-fil-a experience so there is no longer a chance this might happen to me.

And since it is impossible to leave Chick-fil-a unscathed, it’s now my turn to pay you back. A child I don’t know has just run out of the playroom to inform me that my oldest is crying and thinks she broke her foot. I race inside to find an inconsolable five year-old who continues to scream bloody murder-style for the entire five minutes it takes for me to get three and a half year-old twins to put on their shoes. She won’t let me put her down even though the foot is fine, so I’m forced to carry her, three balloon animals and my giant mom purse across the double wide drive-thru line while spinning in circles to keep an eye on the twins. I don’t mind if watching this spectacle makes you feel less like a hot mess. You have done and will continue to do the same for me.

Yours in solidarity,

Another Chick-fil-a Mom

Mandy grew up in Baton Rouge and graduated from LSU with a degree in Anthropology. In an attempt to figure out what do with an Anthropology degree (seriously, what do you do with it?!?), she moved to DC and received a masters degree in Forensic Science at George Washington University. Still at a loss for what she wanted to be when she grew up, Mandy moved to Austin, TX. Over the course of seven years, she built a successful(ish) jewelry design business, met some of her favorite people ever, imported her now husband from Baton Rouge, and made the decision to move back to Baton Rouge to start a family. Since then, Mandy has worked for a jewelry designer, a CPA, and now a financial advisor. And in between, she was a stay at home mom to three feisty, but sweet daughters, two of which are twins. Her girls love to dance and sing just like their mom, and Mandy's dream of a possible girl version of the Hansons or a Judds-like situation is becoming more of a reality every day. In the meantime, she is pouring her creativity into her writing which can be described as honest, funny and little bit snarky, just like Mandy. You can check out more of her musings at Tantrums and Twirls.

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