Why I will continue to use my laptop at the restaurant with my children

Yesterday, I received a moralizing press release from the fast food chain Frankie & Benny's, proposing to give them my phone 600 euros so that my children can consume a free meal that will clog their arteries. No, thank you. In what was probably the most condescending email of the year, I read: "In order to get the country to appreciate and value the time spent with family, we will ask customers who will visit our schools in December of cell phones and other tablets during meals. "Since when a fast food chain – which has just been denounced this week by a Watchdog investigation for endangering the lives of its customers – arrogates it's the right to give morals to parents, such as the demi-gods of the police state of 1984? You want to tell your story? Has an event in your life made you see things differently? You want to break a taboo? You can send your testimonial to testimonial@huffingtonpost.com and consult all the testimonials we have published. They talk about "handing over the phones" before bombarding us with statistics on how children feel abandoned and betrayed by the use mobile phone. "We can only be upset when we know that 8% of British kids are trying to hide their mother's or father's cell phone, desperately trying to get their attention." Even if it's upsetting, I really doubt that it's because Mom reads her e-mails that her kids are stuffing themselves with donuts and ice cream. I work on my own, I chose this way of life in order to always be able to bring my children to school, whatever my mission of the moment. When I was a little girl, my mother – who worked full time and brought me up alone – could only bring me to school once a term, to please me. Or twice, if need be, if my birthday fell at the right time. Having a mobile phone allows me to start working once I've seen them enter school. It gives them something that I have never had. If I get a work-related call at that time, I can respond quickly without putting the lives of my children or their mental health at risk. My phone gives me the freedom to be a working mom.As I am self-employed, and I work alone, my professional e-mails arrive on my cellphone. I can not afford the luxury of a second phone or assistant to answer calls while I do something else. I interrupt my assignments in time to pick up my children at least three times a week – which, it seems to me, is fundamental to their emotional well-being and sense of security (see above) – but I then go back to work from 8 pm to midnight to finish my day. If we stop to nibble something, returning from the park or on the way back, it will certainly not be at Frankie & Benny's. And if, when I'm at the restaurant with my children, you see me strumming on my phone, it's not to go on Facebook or play Candy Crush but to respond to a professional email and try to avoid working until 'at one in the morning. I have professional responsibilities but the fact that I can handle minor problems here and there thanks to my mobile phone, or report that I will deal with thorny issues later, means that I keep my clients, that I keep my commitments and, therefore, that I earn enough money to pay restaus to my children. You see where I'm coming from, and while we're there, dear moral directors of a fast-food chain, I also have a family outside of my children. If my mother falls on the tile in the bathroom or the kitchen and breaks her back (yes, it really happened), I want the paramedics to be able to reach me. Likewise if my house is on fire or a friend in trouble. As the Watchdog study showed this week, the staff of Frankie & Benny's is unable to tell a person allergic to celery if the meal she consume contains, while it could cost him his life. Why should I give them something that belongs to me Finally, have you ever tried to have a quiet family meal with a hyperactive three-year-old? On my cell phone there are programs like Gruffalo Snap, Peppa Pig's and a whole stock of Disney cartoons. These entertainment is really welcome because they allow me to swallow, without being climbed above, a little more than three bite-sized balls of meat and spaghetti passed in the microwave, that you charge 15 euros. What do you think of this proposal: from now on, parents could forbid their children from eating in chains of moralizing pizzerias, and spend their money elsewhere.This blog, published on the British HuffPost, was translated by Claire Bertrand for Fast ForWord. To see also on The HuffPost:

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