Mom Enraged After Staff At 'Family Friendly' Cafe Made Her Sweep Up Her Child's Mess

She says that it was only a small mess, but others argue that it is in the principle that matters.

Mom and son at restaurant Krystyna89 / Shutterstock, Skinnysky via CanvaPro

As a mother was preparing to leave a local cafe with her baby, she was approached by a staff member with cleaning supplies in tow, asking her to clean the mess her baby had left behind on the floor. 

The mother was surprised, as she had never been asked to clean up after her baby at a restaurant before, and asked other parents if she was being unreasonable for expecting the staff to deal with it since the cafe is advertised as “family friendly.”


Sharing her story to the U.K.-based parenting forum, Mumsnet, the woman sought the advice of other users asking if she should have been the one to clean up after her child in the cafe. 

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The mother was handed a broom and dustpan by the restaurant manager to clean up the mess her baby had left behind on the floor. 

According to the mom, she and her baby go to a local cafe with a group of friends and their own children every week. 

A week before the incident where the woman was asked by restaurant staff to clean the mess her baby had left behind, she claims that a friend of hers had been reprimanded by the manager of the cafe after her own baby left a mess of food underneath her high chair and her mother did not clean it up before she left. 


One day, while the woman was getting ready to leave the cafe with her baby daughter, who was overtired and screaming due to teething, she was approached by the manager. “She gave me a dustpan and brush and pointed at the few bit of food under her high chair and asked me to clean up after myself,” the mother wrote. However, she was not entirely in agreement with the manager’s request. 

 Photo: Mumsnet

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The woman believed that the restaurant staff should expect to clean up messes left by children since the cafe is advertised as ‘family friendly.’

She adds that her baby’s mess was not “unreasonable” and that she just dropped a few scraps of food on the floor. She claims that staff at other restaurants she’s been to with her baby were more than happy to clean up the mess left behind themselves. 

“I guess I'm going to be way more conscious about allowing my baby to make a mess in the future,” the woman admitted. However, not everyone agreed with the cafe manager who handed her cleaning supplies.  “After I told my mum, she said I should leave a negative review about it on their cafe page and seemed to think it was unreasonable.” 

The mother went on to ask other forum users if asking a parent to clean up after their children at restaurants were unreasonable. “On one side, I can see how it would be annoying for the staff. On the other hand, I don't bring cleaning materials with me and it's advertised as family-friendly... which I would think would mean they're aware that babies make a mess!” she wrote. 

 Source: Mumsnet


Many forum users believed that the woman should be expected to clean up after her baby at restaurants. 

“Babies can make a lot of mess - if an adult dropped stuff on the floor it's good manners to pick it up. Just because your baby does it doesn't mean that you leave it for the staff to clean,” one user commented.

“I always clear up after my baby it takes five seconds whilst they are still in the chair to use a baby wipe pick up the pieces and put them onto a plate etc to be cleared away,” another parent shared. “It's what you would do at home why on earth should someone else do it for you when out?” 

RELATED: Frustrated Mom Says Daycare Gave Her A 'Warning' After She Refused To Make Daughter Clean Up Before Taking Her Home

However, others believed that it is part of a restaurant’s staff’s job to clean up after their customers. 

“I think that clearing up the excess mess is good manners and I tend to try and leave it tidy, but the cafe owner or staff handing you a broom, and telling off one of the group is s–tty and passive-aggressive,” one user wrote.  “Customers tidying up after themselves is a bonus and shouldn't be an expectation. After paying a massive premium on food and drinks to eat out and be served, I don't expect to HAVE to clean, any more than I’d expect to have to make the lunch and do the dishes after. It kind of defeats the object.” 


The question of whether or not parents should be the ones to clean up after their children has been a controversial one in the media lately.

Just weeks ago, Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass started a war over the question after sharing his disapproval after a flight attendant made his wife clean up a popcorn mess that their two children had dropped all over the plane floor. The baseball player publicly called out United Airlines for forcing his pregnant wife to get down on her hands and knees on the floor to clean up after the children. 

The incident had many people debating, with some believing that parents should not have to clean up after their little ones after they make a mess in public spaces and that it was the staff’s responsibility, while others arguing that their children’s mess was entirely up to them to clean up and that it demonstrated common courtesy to workers. 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.