Sporadically, across my blogging life, I have offered up anecdotes of situations I have found myself in where complete strangers have given me advice or suggestions as to how I should parent my children, in particular Jude. Do you remember the elderly lady in Waitrose who strolled up to me when Jude (then 5) was mid-tantrum on the floor and commented that perhaps I don’t love my son enough…I think her exact words were “maybe he just needs some love.”
Does he now.
Well, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of situations some of my blogging friends have found themselves in where strangers have given them random pearls of wisdom when out and about in public. I basically wanted to know if it was just the SEND community who were subjected to these unpredictable, self-proclaimed parenting experts popping up here, there and everywhere, but apparently…judging by this lot, it isn’t.
Here are a few of the best, or most horrifying experiences people have found themselves in:
- One lady was carrying her 8 month old baby son in a sling when someone said to her that surely he was too old to be carried and how would he ever learn to walk!
- Someone’s grandmother gave a fantastic suggestion as to how she could encourage her young baby to gain a bit of weight – by adding custard in the baby bottle. Yes, custard. The baby was only three months at the time so probably not quite ready for a bit of Ambrosia.
- A mother was walking around a shop when she began chatting to a couple of women, as you so often do with a cute baby strapped to your front. During the conversation, one of them took it upon herself to pull the little boy’s dummy out of his mouth saying that surely he doesn’t need “that thing.” Her son was ten months old at the time and very much liked his dummy, thank you very much. How rude!!
- Slightly horrifying but one lady was told that her daughter needed a good slap. A stranger overheard the little girl answering her mother back and felt this was the best way of teaching her how to behave! Wowsers. Nothing like a bit of violence to show your child who’s in charge!
- One day, a lady was sitting on a park bench, breastfeeding her three month old daughter and generally enjoying the peace and quiet. Her bubba started to cry so she held her gently over her shoulder and began to tap her back to see if she had a bit of wind. Along comes a guy who decided to stop and tell her how to wind her baby properly. She wasn’t doing it wrong in the first place!
- One lady was in town one day looking around the shops when her daughter, randomly, decided to pull her mother’s hair. No big deal…children do things like this all the time, right? Well, someone obviously didn’t think so and told the mother to pull her daughter’s hair back! Tit for tat and all that.
- Another supermarket situation – makes you afraid to set foot in them with a child! Anyway, similar to my experience above, a toddler was having a tantrum and screaming on the floor whilst his poor mother was simply trying to buy some food. Just to make her feel that little bit worse, an elderly lady wandered over and said to the mother that she shouldn’t have brought her toddler out of the house because they’re too inconsiderate!! Ha!
- Finally, one of my friends said that she was told breastfeeding her daughter would turn her gay. And that baby led weaning was a made up phenomenon (aren’t they all at some point?) and clearly she wanted to starve her baby.
Oh yes, there we go. Whilst the above are all pretty awful, I’m glad to hear it isn’t just me that attracts all sorts of crazies trying to undermine my ability to parent in my own, unique way.
Have you any experiences to add to my list?
I’d like to thank my blogging friends below for their input.
Sara from SoppyMum
Suzanne from And Another Ten Things
Emma from Emma Reed
Vikki from Mum Times Two
Julie from Pondering Parenthood
Leanne from A Slice of my Life, Wales
Amy from Amy and Tots
Laura from Savings4savvymums