To be sick of strangers judging my parenting?

(119 Posts)
Doodledumdums Sat 30-Mar-13 11:47:53

I have a beautiful 12 week old baby boy, who is absolutely the centre of my universe, but ever since I have had him, I have been absolutely shocked by the amount of strangers who think it is okay to comment on my parenting, and yesterday something happened which has really made me upset.

My little boy is a really hot baby, and sweats a lot and gets himself worked up very easily, which in turn makes him hotter and more agitated. I have established that the best way to help him when he gets hot and bothered is to cool him down quickly, and as soon as he is cool then he immediately calms down and is back to his beautiful, smiley self. (I have checked with my GP and health visitor, and there is nothing wrong with him, he is just a hot little thing.) It may seem odd to some people, especially as it is winter, but the best way for me to cool him down quickly is to stand outside with him for a minute or so, and it always always makes him much happier. Anyway, yesterday I was at a family wedding, and he got himself hot and bothered, so I just took him outside for a moment to cool him down, and we had been outside for about 20 seconds, when a group of women on the other side of the road started hurling abuse at me, telling me to get my f**** baby inside, and how I was an unfit mother because he wasn't wearing a hat and they were going to report me for child abuse etc etc- I tried calmly explaining what I was doing and that I would be taking him inside in a minute, but they carried on shouting at me until I had no choice but to just go inside to escape the abuse. Am I being unreasonable to be really upset by this? My baby was wearing a vest, a romper suit, socks and little soft shoes, so he wasn't just in a nappy or anything. I can't stop thinking about the fact that I was acused of child abuse yesterday, and I am so upset that anyone could think that of me.

Usually I just get the usual comments, such as 'That baby needs feeding,' when we are out and he is crying in his pram (despite the fact that he is 12 weeks old and weighs 16lb 10oz- so is clearly eating adequately!). Or comments such as 'Get him out and give him a cuddle,' when he is crying, as if I don't know what my own child needs. I did get a rather hostile comment the other day, when I was in a shop and he was crying and a woman said 'Take that baby home immediately and give him a bottle, he's hungry.' (Actually he wasn't, I had breastfed him about ten minutes before, he was actually crying because he was tired and fighting sleep!)

Does anyone else have similar experiences? I am naturally a very anxious person, and get really upset by things like this. My baby means everything to me, and I really do think i'm a good Mum, so why do people keep judging me? I don't understand!

ZZZenEggain Sat 30-Mar-13 12:23:10

it is hard for a lot of people to see a crying baby and think you are not doing anything to help the dc. Maybe it is that sometimes

blueballoon79 Sat 30-Mar-13 12:26:08

I've had extremely rude comments about my parenting too from complete strangers.

When my son was very little, I was crossing a road with him and he pulled the hat he was wearing over his eyes. I noticed this but obviously didn't stop to sort it out until we had safely crossed the road.

As I was halfway over the road a woman who was crossing in the opposite direction grabbed hold of my arm and told me that I shouldn't be allowed to have children as my sons hat was over his eyes and I'm a neglectful mother!

I wasn't too upset about it to be honest as I thought she must have been crazy!

I've also had people telling me I was cruel for keeping him sitting down at meal in a pub as all the other children were playing. These people kept saying to me "He wants to get down and play", "He needs to be able to have a run around", I nodded and smiled for several minutes until I got really annoyed and told them "actually my son is disabled, he can't get down and run about, so please keep your opinions to yourself.

They apologised and said they were sorry but they didn't realise and I said "No, why would you? You're complete strangers who know nothing about my family so it's perhaps best not to comment on my parenting strategies when you know nothing of my situation"

Beautifulbabyboy Sat 30-Mar-13 12:28:20

This Is just what I needed to read today. I love the nod and smile comments. At least it is strangers giving bad advice, I have to put up
With my mother in law constantly having some form of an opinion and how she would do it differently.

Will keep nodding and smiling!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sat 30-Mar-13 12:31:07

Ignore them all! Your baby. Your choices. Have to say, can be hard not to snap back at times though when you're sleep deprived.

I've found that super polite bordering on sarcastic can work as a retort, because people can't always tell whether you're being serious or not so generally don't say much back.

You sound like a great mum and you know your baby best, remember!

CocktailQueen Sat 30-Mar-13 12:32:12

Wow. I have NEVER had any comments like that. How bizarre. The people are the wedding were cleared drunk/lunatics so wouldn't listen to reason anyway,. Best thing is to ignore. The others, smile and nod. Or tell them to f off, depending on your mood <helpful>

CocktailQueen Sat 30-Mar-13 12:32:22

clearly, not cleared!

Finola1step Sat 30-Mar-13 12:34:37

Hi Doodle. As other posters have said, you do just learn to smile on nod. Or in my case, develop a death stare to stop them in their tracks.

Your little boy sounds just like how mine was. My ds (first baby) was born in the spring of 2008 which was also a really cold spring. We still had snow in the April and I remember vividly how he was only truly happy out in the freezing cold in his pram. At just a few weeks old. The looks I used to get from all and sundry! I can only suggest you ignore such comments; anyone who is brazen enough to comment in the first place is not going to listen to your reasons. Death stare every time.

Doodledumdums Sat 30-Mar-13 12:38:53

Thank you for all of your replies :-)

MsAkimbo I am definitely going to try those, your post made me laugh so much!

I guess I could be being overly sensitive to some of the comments, but there is no doubt about the situation yesterday, they were being very nasty! I don't think they were drunk, it was only about 3pm, but I guess that doesn't mean anything, people can get drunk at any time of the day!

ZZZenEggain- I am 26, so not young enough for them to think I wouldn't answer back I wouldn't think. Though I was standing there in a floor length bridesmaid dress with my hair and make up all done, so maybe they thought I was an ideal candidate to pick a fight with because I clearly wasn't going to fight back?! (Not that I would EVER fight back anyway, regardless of what I was wearing!)

I am finding myself more able to deal with the 'helpful' comments, and usually if people tell me he needs feeding then I tell them that he has just eaten (which 99% of the time is true, as he is a very hungry baby who loves a bit of boob very regularly!), but yesterday was a whole new level, I was horrified that anyone could be so judgemental and downright nasty to a complete stranger holding a clearly well loved baby! I would never be so rude to someone about their own child. Well, unless they were doing something outrageous like dangling them by their foot out of a window or something!

I am glad I am not the only one who has received judgements from people, clearly if you are a mother then you are public property! I think that the women were just lucky that my husband wasn't there, he may not have taken the comments as well as I did!

skratta Sat 30-Mar-13 12:42:46

I would do the smile and nod thing. I never had comments about my parenting though, as such (although plenty of 'fucking foreigner' and 'fuck off to your stinking home' comments when I moved countries...) so I have been very lucky...I think most people who do this do it with a caring motive...b have no sense and can be incredibly aggressive....luckily I haven't met them yet, but I've been lucky!

My friend had one person tell her she needed to feed her baby (it was crying in Tesco...) because she was clearly neglecting it, and if she didn't, the woman would tell the managers and SS might have Ti be involved! hmm

She just went 'Oh my god! Are you being serious? Like, you aren't joking? Because...woah...I never knew we were supposed to feed these things. Why the hell did nobody tell me?' grin

JenaiMorris Sat 30-Mar-13 12:43:42

Does anyone else have similar experiences?

Er, no. Either I have been a consistently excellent parent for the past 12 ½ years, I'm completely unaware of anyone around me or I live in a parallel universe.

Often (and I'm not suggesting this to be the case here) posters have clearly been far to quick to take offence at innocuous small talk.

Shelly32 Sat 30-Mar-13 12:54:20

Re: the 'undressed look' in winter, I feel for you!I'm a mum to twins and had to take one poorly girl to the Drs with a raging temperature. It was Jan last year and as the advice was to keep her undressed and as cool as possible. On the way back I kept her coat off as she was sweating(5 min walk from house to surgery) and an old woman tutted at me and rolled her eyes as if I was the worst mother in the world. I felt really hurt esp as I was trying to do the best by my daughter. Ignore people's comments. Most will be trying to help and don't realise that their comments are unnecessary/patronising/unhelpful etc. Try not to let it get you down. As a first time mum you regularly feel unsure if what you are doing is the best possible thing. The last thing you need is other's comments making you more confused and anxious. You sound like a great mum by the way!

Smithsgirl88 Sat 30-Mar-13 13:07:59

One thing I hate seeing is parents all snug and warm and their kid with trousers on too short, no coat etc...In the middle of winter. You, of course, had an adequate reason, and I wouldn't dream of saying anything, anyway. I get it with my son, he's 2 and very fiery so I tend to ignore him when he's throwing a tantrum. The looks I get for not acknowledging my son!! But then I'd rather put up with that and teach my son that he gets ignored if he plays up than give in to what he wants and set myself up for worse tantrums just because of what other people think.

Jengnr Sat 30-Mar-13 13:10:04

My Mum's the worst for it. I'm constantly being told he's too cold/too hot/something else equally ridiculous.

I just tell her to shut up usually. I'd have told those bitches at the wedding to fuck off though.

thebody Sat 30-Mar-13 13:16:47

Sweetheart yes smile and nod thats great for 20s

Now wait till your 40s and you will find you are far far more assertive and confident and surprisingly noone makes remarks to you.

Seriously ignore. I expect you looked gorgeous in your bridesmaid dress and they were jealous and drunk.

Your baby your rules and if push comes to shove try 'oh please just fuck off will you' works a treat.

thezebrawearspurple Sat 30-Mar-13 14:02:25

Thank God I don't live near any horrible people, round here everyone minds their own business because most people wouldn't tolerate that kind of shite. 'Go fuck yourself, you ignorant cunt', is the only response they need. As for those women who abused you, how pathetic to pick on a mother with a tiny baby, you should told them to go fuck themselves or you'd be calling the police to have them done for abusive and threatening behaviour.

thezebrawearspurple Sat 30-Mar-13 14:03:23

And ffs, don't smile at these obnoxious people, that's why there's so many of them.

abbyfromoz Sat 30-Mar-13 14:13:04

Fwiw you sound like a wonderful mother. You are definitely not the only one this has happened to and won't be the last- and it has NOTHING to do with your parenting skills. There are just a lot of sad people out there who have what i would call a personality disorder feeling the need to have (and make known) there opinion on other people. Yes there is always the odd negligent mother and circumstances in which you really should speak up- or want to but don't... But most of the time they are just sad pathetic busy bodies with nothing better to do with their time but thrust upon you their unwelcome advice. You are right- they are wrong. The end.

midastouch Sat 30-Mar-13 15:05:41

I haven't had that many judgey comments but I find I do this face [Buhmm] rather than smiling.

Whatalotofpiffle Sat 30-Mar-13 15:11:36

It gets easier, well it did for me. First few months I cried when things like this happen, now I either smile and nod or tell them to bog off ... Politely sometimes, other times not so!

"I'll call Social Services" only deserves one response - go on then! Calling their bluff works rather well.

I have rarely had comments like this though: I think I give a "fuck off and myob" vibe smile

MrsDeVere Sat 30-Mar-13 15:23:01

Some of it will be judginess, some of it will be kindly meant burble.

I have seen posts on MN about babies crying in shops and posters have suggested the OP should have phoned the police ffs!

For example:

'I was in Aldi yesterday and this baby was crying and the mother didn't do anything, she just carried on shopping, paid and went home' shock

'OMG what a heartless cow, some people don't deserve children'
'So what did YOU do OP? Did you call social services?'
'I would have walked over and told her to stop being so selfish'
'next time just call the police, this is child abuse pure and simple'

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't of seen it on here.

I am one of those burbling baby bothers though. Can't help myself. I will always say something. I am always meaning to be friendly but I dare say I have been misinterpreted on many an occasion. Specially now I am older and look ancient to some young mums sad

Gosh, I think you've been a bit unlucky in the amount of criticism and comments, especially from those women yesterday. How dare they ?!
I'm very sorry if they've understandably upset you - however you had very clear and straight-forward reasons for your perfectly harmless actions and
You obviously know your son and his individual needs much better than they do so try to take no notice smile

MrsDeVere Sat 30-Mar-13 15:24:46

I was once waiting for a bus in Camden Town. It was cold and DD was in a sling with a snow suit, hat, mits, etc on

This woman kept staring at me. I knew she was dying to say something.
The best she could come up with?

'You should cover up that baby's face, its very cold' <glare>

Even in my hormonal, pfb state I had to laugh at that old bollocks grin

Oh, I often say something too MrsDeV !

Like the other day I was walking round the lake at the park and a couple and their child were walking towards me, child started having a tantrum about something. So I just said to her (the toddler) there are some lovely ducks just back there on the wobbly bridge and she slightly huffily walked on to see what I was on about. So, it might have helped fend off a full-blown meltdown, and eased things just a little for them all ?

So, I'm a meddler, but a well-meaning expert one grin

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sat 30-Mar-13 18:27:57

I feel for you OP. I've got a 7 month old who is a hot baby and awful for fighting sleep. He used to frequently scream at the checkout in supermarkets as he was tired, hot and the pram wasn't moving. If I took him out for a cuddle, he would calm for 2 mins before screaming blue murder again - only solution was to pay ASAP and get back outside again.

I had a couple of comments (luckily not the torrent of abuse you suffered), so if he kicks off now (rarely, thankfully) I do the annoying loud parent thing for the benefit of potential busybodies: "yes, I know you're tired sweetie and it's too hot in here. We're nearly finished and then we'll be outside where you'll feel better."

The worst my mum had was when my sister was a toddler. She was a very ill child having contracted measles as a baby and was in and out of Great Ormond Street, resulting in her being very skinny. Mum had taken DSIS to feed the ducks in the park. She ate some of bread while throwing some and a woman told Mum she was neglectful and obviously starving her, so that she could only eat stale bread. My Mum was distraught and thinking about it now, it still upsets her.

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