Working in Cafes

(53 Posts)
manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jun-15 16:24:37

Can I ask the general concensus on the acceptability of this? I'm willing to accept IABU.

I'm a single mum of 3 girls with large age gaps. It's very difficult for me to get work done at home. During the holidays I spend a large amount of time in school where the children have loads of stuff to occupy them (hall, swimming pool, woods, dance studio, computer room etc. They aren't deprived!).

But at weekends I don't like to do this. We only get Sundays away from the place so I go a bit stir crazy if I go in Sundays too. At busy times of the year wonderful people take my 2 older children and then the baby and I go to a café and work. I don't have to go to the cafes, I just like to.

Usually I don't have a problem. I choose a range of different cafes, always buy more than one drink and always leave if it looks like getting busy.

Today I tried somewhere different which I'd heard was lovely but always empty. It was indeed quiet (not empty) but I made a big mistake. The only other people there were obviously tourists and the waitresses eyebrows went sky high when I got a laptop and exams out. Later I heard them muttering about 'not an office' and 'poor baby'.

My baby is 15 months old and had a drink and cookie in her high chair and some toys. She was babbling and playing (not especially quietly but the other 2 groups in there were families with more than one child).

I did 20 minutes work to be stubborn then left. Now I'm in my lovely village pub with its free wifi having several more drinks while my daughter plays on the grass. Much nicer. But I'm paranoid now!

What do you think - is it unreasonable to work in a café? Or did I just make a poor choice of café on this occasion and end up ruining a tourist atmosphere?

mileend2bermondsey Sun 21-Jun-15 16:28:44

Oh god, I cant handle another cafe/office thread.
I'm out.

MythicalKings Sun 21-Jun-15 16:31:26

It's VU to work in a café at all.

NinkyNonkers Sun 21-Jun-15 16:33:07

And yet you commented just to say you were 'out' Miles?!

I don't see the issue with working if you bought something, and there was loads of available space. What's the difference between that and staring into space for 20 mins? Same money spent.

Where you are now sounds like a winner though.

howtorebuild Sun 21-Jun-15 16:33:13

The pub sounds better, so study there.

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 21-Jun-15 16:34:08

If you get a table in a cafe you can do what you want at it. Loads of people work in cafés, it's fine. Loitering for hours without paying for more food/drinks is bad - whether you are working, staring into space or chatting with a friend. A cup of tea an hour ought to do it.

GlitzAndGigglesx Sun 21-Jun-15 16:34:42

They probably thought you were ignoring your baby hence the comments. I remember a pretty recent thread about staying for hours but buying minimal. It is quite cheeky

GlitzAndGigglesx Sun 21-Jun-15 16:35:41

I meant staying for hours and buying minimal is cheeky, not 20 minutes

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jun-15 16:35:41

Thanks Miles, that's helpful. confused Wasn't aware there were banned topics on here.

Split so far - interesting! (yes, I agree, I'm in a great position now - even considering that some alcohol might help the reports flow now I'm in walking distance of my house wink )

monkeysox Sun 21-Jun-15 16:36:04

I couldn't have concentrated on work with a little one with me.

muminhants1 Sun 21-Jun-15 16:38:37

Ultimately it is up to a cafe's management whether they are happy for someone to buy one coffee and cake and then spend hours working in a cafe. If they are not, they will tell you. The waitress made her feelings clear, you left.

It was not up to her to make comments about your baby though, and she has no idea about how you are trying to fit in work with the rest of your life and should mind her own business.

EastMidsMummy Sun 21-Jun-15 16:39:57

There are no rules about working in cafes. Some places would fold without people on laptops; some places would prefer you didn't work.

It's up to the proprietors to move you on if they're not happy with how you're behaving. Everyone else can STFU.

Purplepoodle Sun 21-Jun-15 16:40:45

Loads of people work in cafes where I live but I live in a city. I'd say reaction was more the fact you were working while baby was in high chair

Koalafications Sun 21-Jun-15 16:40:59

Oh god, I cant handle another cafe/office thread.
I'm out.

What a pointless contribution.

Koalafications Sun 21-Jun-15 16:42:09

I think it's absolutely fine to work in those circumstances. If your DD had been upset and you had ignored her then that wouldn't be acceptable.

Don't sweat it, OP. smile

mileend2bermondsey Sun 21-Jun-15 16:43:03

As is your post Koala

sparkysparkysparky Sun 21-Jun-15 16:43:16

As long as you bought drinks or whatever regularly, didn't take up too much space, interacted as best you could with your little one and left or stopped entirely if your little one started to kick off, I wouldn't care. Perhaps there was another person before who drank one water in three hours, took up loads of space, ignored their child etc. J k Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter in a cafe.

SolasEile Sun 21-Jun-15 16:46:18

I'm impressed that you can do any work with your 15 month old in tow! Mine was a one-man pint-sized riot at that age. Cafes were a no-go area. He only sat in a stroller if it was moving - otherwise everyone was subjected to a scream fest.

So I'm jealous on that count. Re working in cafes, why not if you're a paying customer? If staff make odd comments then just stick to places where you feel comfortable like the pub.

The5DayChicken Sun 21-Jun-15 16:47:38

I don't see the issue being you working in a cafe. They were probably sneering at the fact that your baby was with you. You won't be judged by me because I can accept that everyone works differently but I can't personally study while my baby is awake. To study properly, I need to be completely absorbed and if I was completely absorbed in work, I'd be flat out ignoring DD.

Koalafications Sun 21-Jun-15 16:48:18

Really? mileend2bermondsey hmm

I thought you were 'out' anyway?! confused

ilovesooty Sun 21-Jun-15 16:49:01

I'm not sure you should really be marking exams or doing reports in a public place.

manicinsomniac Sun 21-Jun-15 16:49:08

Thanks smile Feel a bit better now. I guess, seeing as I took the hint and left that café, it's all okay!

I am guilty of ignoring the baby a bit but I can't help it. There are limited numbers of people I can palm an active toddler off onto and I have to work. Perils of being a single parent I suppose, but I can see how it looks (and maybe is) bad. She's happy though. I'd stop if she wasn't.

I should probably stop by 'write 3 report then check mn' cycle now! grin

SunnyBaudelaire Sun 21-Jun-15 16:49:25

tbh it does depend on the cafe.
If I had a small cafe, and someone came in and set up office with a baby, perhaps only buying one drink and then staying for hours, I would be pretty pissed off. It is hard enough to make ends meet as it is for small cafe owners.
On the other hand, if it was say, a Wetherspoons, then that would be fine.
No idea how you concentrate on work with your baby with you though.....

WipsGlitter Sun 21-Jun-15 16:51:36

Do you work in a boarding school? Are you kids allowed to roam around the school??

londonrach Sun 21-Jun-15 16:52:57

Not sure i could work with a baby in a cafe as id be watching baby all the time so well done. Maybe library without baby would be better to get more work done. Agree re depends which sort of cafe but also i should imagine, location, day and time.

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