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!

youarewinning Sun 31-Mar-13 18:15:41

Dorcas that is hysterical. Sadly DS was born and raised in tenerife so it would have been a useless retort! Can I have the chinese translation please? wink

youarewinning Sun 31-Mar-13 18:11:48

YANBU.

I even had a comment about being a bad mum the other day - my DS is 8!!!!

My crime? Nope - not lack of food/water/clothing but to re question adult about the assault on my son as she had changed her story. (btw the assault was by another child and not even her own!)

Opportunity for her to clarify? Nope - opportunity to accuse me of shouting and to state she's concerned about what type of upbringing he has?!

When he was 8 weeks/ 8 months I would have crumbled - thank to MN I've learnt so simply replied "one where my DS knows he's loved and protected and he knows he can tell me anything - your point?!"

Sorry off topic and slight hijack but needed to get that off my chest.

I do find though simple statements given calmly do work - or a simple 'thank for your advice/opinion' as you walk away clearly show you actually have no intention of listening to their ramblings!

You sound very in tune with your DS' needs - enjoy him grin

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 31-Mar-13 17:45:26

Thanks icedgems!

"There is a major difference between saying 'oh dear, is someone hungry?!' In a nice friendly tone, to saying 'take that baby home and give him a bottle immediately,' the first is conversational and acceptable, the second is hostile and judgemental. "

^^ yy OP.

I've met lots of lovely people who've smiled at DS, tried to distract him when he's cried, walked him round in restaurants etc. They help make the world a nicer place! It's the people who treat you like you're stupid and that you don't understand what your baby needs, which are the irritants.

Doodledumdums Sun 31-Mar-13 17:23:10

Dorcas, that is hilarious! Will definitely remember that!

To be fair, My post wasn't picking at people who are nice and helpful, it was about people who clearly judge negatively, and the experiences I have described can hardly be considered nice and helpful can they?! I would have no objection to people being nice, like the lady behind me in a queue this morning who was lovely about my baby and said in a very non judgemental tone 'oh dear little one, that sounds like a tired cry!' I had no problem with this, she was nice and was clearly just making conversation and being nice about my son, I object to the people who are not making conversation, but are interfering unnecessarily. No one needs to remind any mother that their baby needs to be fed. There is a major difference between saying 'oh dear, is someone hungry?!' In a nice friendly tone, to saying 'take that baby home and give him a bottle immediately,' the first is conversational and acceptable, the second is hostile and judgemental.

I live in Oxford, but was in London for the wedding. I don't think the women were drunk, I think they were just nasty women looking to pick on someone, and unfortunately that was me. I hate people like that, it really upset me and I am an over anxious person anyway, pick on someone else!!

Thumbwitch Sun 31-Mar-13 15:50:58

This is what I got from the translation site:
"Sorry, but the idea that there is a child raised by you is a concept so alien to me I have forgotten temporarily how to respond to you in English. Deal with it."

attilascupcakes Sun 31-Mar-13 15:46:51

I have had this too, and sadly its always been from much older women. I used to tolerate it when I was a nervous new mum. Now I just look them in the eye and say "Mind your own business".

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 15:46:23

What does it mean dorcas.

Just knows that I would like to say to some of the old biddies who clucked - look, he turned into a brilliant flanker grin. Having just swept his balcony clean of Marlboro Lights, agreed he can have a g/f to stay, and he's gone soft coz no-one makes a bacon sarnie and cuppa like his mum blush.

Thumbwitch Sun 31-Mar-13 15:45:47

<snigger>
I had to have that translated but it's pretty funny. Shame the person you say it to wouldn't have a clue. grin

DorcasDelIcatessen Sun 31-Mar-13 15:41:13

Memorise this. It will help no end. <clears throat>

Lo siento, pero la sola idea de que existe un niño criado por ti es un concepto tan ajeno a mí me han olvidado temporalmente la forma de responder a usted en Inglés. tratar con él.

slatternlymother Sun 31-Mar-13 15:27:30

Oh my goodness, I've never had anything like this; I only read about judginess like this on MN!

Either I've been really fortunate, or I walk around with a face that says 'fuck with me and I'll smack you in the teeth', most of the time. grin

Thumbwitch Sun 31-Mar-13 15:24:13

God don't worry about it Kaekae! I had Ds2 last year at 45 - I'm not bothered about other people's thoughts on this, least of all the idiot doctor who told me, 4w after my first MC at 42, that as I already had DS1 I should stop bothering to try to have another child, given my age. Had to see him again a week ago for DS1's cough - the temptation to brandish DS2 in his face was enormous, but I knew he wouldn't remember being so fucking rude to me so I'd just look like a crazy lady.

Kaekae Sun 31-Mar-13 15:21:05

Goodness I am 35 this year please don't say this is deemed old! I am also considering having a third baby next year! shock

minesapintofwine - we have some friends who think you catch a cold from being in cold weather, and were aghast when I was babysitting their child and took her out in -2 weather (she was 18 months at the time, and had a hat, coat, gloves, snowboots etc on). I think they are bonkers. They are constantly saying to their little girl 'don't splash in the puddles, you'll get wet feet and catch a cold'. What's even odder is that they are from a very snowy and cold country, even more so than where they live now.

Kaekae Sun 31-Mar-13 15:13:13

Those women sound vile and I would have probably told them to p off!

What I find even more strange are the comments from people who don't actually have children but seem to know best!

I've never had anything as downright aggressive and I would be upset too but as other posters have said it's your baby you know best ignore those ignorant people. To the woman who said the baby needed feeding I would have said 'he's just been fed'..put her in her place.

However though I do tend to do the nod and agree thing, I did have to go hmm at one lady who said she thought it was 'cruel' to take children out in the cold. I didn't have my dc's with me she was just commenting on the weather and her gc etc but I just thought 'cruel?' Get real lady! Some folk live in the dark ages thank god you don't op ignore ignore ignore hopefully you won't get any more nasty ones and try not to be sensitive to the ones that are expressing a bit of a worthless opinion totally crazy. I don't mean that disrespectfully, I am very sensitive, especially when I was a new mum, but to let them bother you is to let them win, especially when they know fuck all anyway.

Mine has NEVER worn gloves - I live where it's very cold and snowy, and the amount of looks I get when he's got no gloves or no hat on is silly. Honestly, if you fold the mittens on his jacket over his hands he'll throw the biggest tantrum. I'd rather he had no gloves on and be happy than wearing gloves and crying the place down.

On a train once, where the air-conditioning had broken, I stripped baby all the way down to his nappy, and he still wouldn't settle. I was starting to go slightly mad when the lovely (old) woman next to me took him off me and stood up, rocking him for about 20 minutes. I could've cried. I bought her a cold drink instead smile

Thumbwitch Sun 31-Mar-13 14:48:14

OP - I had a hot baby in DS1 as well. Born in early December in the UK, but I had to be really careful that he didn't overheat, as he was prone to it! Only ever had a singlet vest on under his sleepsuit and then a hooded fleecy coat over that, and a blanket to keep his legs warm. I used to feel his hands to check - they were usually toasty, so no need for gloves (yep, got Looks for that) and he couldn't have a hat on as well as the hood or he'd be dripping with sweat. Yes, he sweated buckets (and still does, sweats through his head like me) and it was hard to persuade others that he was quite warm enough, thank you. Someone gave me a snowsuit for him - he overheated in about 30secs, so he never wore it.

DS2 is a funny temp baby - also an overheater, but he chills down very fast as well. Now we're in Australia it's been bloody difficult to regulate his temp, because he gets hot and sweaty in the muggy heat outdoors, but then chills down in the airconditioned indoors, so he feels like he's cold-sweating - really hard to deal with in terms of clothing!

As for the comments, you just have to learn to ignore them - or you could try the sarcastic responses, or possibly just the angry ones. Or something like: "I'm glad you know so much about MY baby, how incredible that YOU know more about him than I do!"

Pandemoniaa Sun 31-Mar-13 14:38:36

Do please avoid the "sour old woman" riff. Age is immaterial.

Can I second this? Only I am "the older generation". We are not all interfering old bats who spend their days looking for younger mothers to upset with unhelpful comments. The people that do are being insensitive, unhelpful and downright nosy. But age has nothing to do with it. Incidentally, when I had ds1 (nearly 32 years ago) I was also told of the dangers of allowing babies to get overheated. ds1, being a hot baby anyway, and born in a warm summer, wore very little. That didn't stop the occasional person tutting.

Ultimately, you need to ignore other people's unwanted comments only any complete stranger who wants to pass on judgemental "advice" is the one with the problem. Not you.

Ahh, that's so nice of you marriedinwhiteagain - to recognise and encourage those doing the "hardest yards". I'm glad I have those early years under my belt now, though teenage ones can still be tricky at times ! Hope you are enjoying your Easter weekend ? Love to all thanks smile

seeker Sun 31-Mar-13 14:25:07

I still remember the relief when dd was tiny and crying in a cafe and a woman asked me if I was breastfeeding, and when I said yes, said "well, feed her then!"
Somebody giving me "permission" was wonderful.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 31-Mar-13 13:50:35

The only unreasonable thing about your post is that someone referred to a fucking baby. Ignore - totally.

OTH I think I'm also guilty of Seekerisms and DeVereisms. I even turned round to the pew behind me where a desperate mummy was trying to keep a very small baby quiet and said "just feed her" and she did with a sigh of relief and peace swept over the back pews.

And at the end it was lovely to say that lots of us had been in the same position and it was lovely to see them there on Easter Sunday when they were doing the hardest yards of all.

I had a hot baby too - he's still a hot baby - all 6'2" of him. He didn't wear a hat or keep his coat on and it doesn't seem to have harmed him.

MrsDeVere Sun 31-Mar-13 13:41:54

My MIL was utterly scandalised at what she saw as DD's inadequate clothing.
Bless her, she never said.
But I knew

GeoffVader Sun 31-Mar-13 13:38:20

That was one of the things I learnt when I first had DD, that babies do in fact sweat, everyone told me that babies cannot sweat, they can. It is odourless though as HV told me the sweat only starts smelling when they go through puberty.

I've got a hot baby too - it's freezing today, and when we just went out for a walk in the buggy, he was wearing a vest, t-shirt and jumper. Refused to wear a hat. Indoors, he often only wears a vest, nappy and t-shirt.

It's hard, but ignore or nod and smile.

DuttyWine Sun 31-Mar-13 13:33:32

How bizarre op! What area do you live in if you feel able to say, I don't think strangers or people I know have ever passed judgement on me and my baby, even when I had dd at 18! Or maybe they have and it's gone over my head! Maybe I'm just lucky. People often stop and chat to me and my ds I live in a village in a northern town and lots of older ladies chat to us at the bus stop but it's always nice things.

Try not to let it get you down its really them with the problem if they care enough about remarking on a mother and baby they don't even know in a rude way!

I am really shocked that people walking past just started swearing and having a go! I doubt I'd even notice what someone across a road was doing with a baby. Did they seem drunk?

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