to stop myself from offering a potentially tiny helpful suggestion to harrassed-looking mum on the bus today?

(77 Posts)
Mintyy Wed 04-Sep-13 21:39:59

because you lot have forever put me off that kind of thing for fear of being told I am an interfering old bat?

Seriously, a few years ago I would have spoken up. Today (because of Mumsnet and the outrage I have seen towards strangers saying anything whatsoever about your baby) I kept quiet.

Feel a bit shock at self, tbh.

SomethingOnce Wed 04-Sep-13 22:35:40

Whatever you do, do not talk through the child.

I've a friend who does that and it makes me angry

hazeyjane Wed 04-Sep-13 22:40:09

I wouldn't mind someone pointing that out at all, someone suggesting ways to stop a meltdown in the supermarket, however, would really hack me off!

Hoolit Wed 04-Sep-13 22:40:12

Oh it is a fine line cos you don't know if child been like all day and your helpful comment is the 99th and she was hoping the child would shut her eyes in the sun long enough to fall asleep and she's just plain frazzled and not noticed.

FreeWee Wed 04-Sep-13 22:40:21

AndIFeedEmGunpowder 'would you like a hand turning your buggy round so she doesn't have so much sun in her eyes?'

That's a great way of putting it. As a relatively new mother who doesn't always notice all these things I'd have said yes and not felt judged. The child would not have the sun in its eyes and I'd have been happy to have had it pointed out to me in that way.

Hoolit Wed 04-Sep-13 22:42:34

I must say its been a while since mine were that young but I would of loved a hand when I was struggling, I have wanted to offer to help out ie unload shopping etc but not had the nerve!

I was on a bus , at the back, out of the way.
A woman with a toddler in a buggy got on, sat in the buggy park.
Toddler not secured, climbing about the buggy.
Numerous bags slung on the handlebars.
Woman/Mum on her mobile, didn't stop yakking when she got on, sat down, the whole journey.
Almost inevitably her bored toddler stood up, the buggy fell backwards.
A young man was getting off the bus, he picked the buggy up - she hadn't bothered to get up- and uttered the helpful suggestion ;
"well if you weren't so busy on your bloody phone..."

And I reckon 99% of the bus agreed with him.

yellowballoons Wed 04-Sep-13 22:54:32

I would, definitely, and take the consequences.

Though I know what you mean.

I started a thread once on here, with a different name, with, to me, helpful advice. There were several cries of "patronising".

I was reluctant after that. But now I have moved on again to the stage of "I really dont care if some posters think I am patronising".

I think there may be a MN 7 stages thing going on!

yellowballoons Wed 04-Sep-13 22:57:58

To me , the main person was the child in the buggy.

Soditall Wed 04-Sep-13 22:58:16

I think you should have said something.But I get why you would be worried.

I'm afraid I'm in the camp of can't stop myself from helping.

There was a Nan recently trying to hold a newborn baby whilst loading the shopping up at the supermarket and I asked her if she'd like some help(couldn't believe no one else had offered)she was really pleased(she was helping her daughter with the shopping and didn't have a carrier or car seat in the shop with her and daughter was of grabbing something else)I put all the shopping up for it and helped with the packing till her daughter came back.She was lovely and thanked me about 4 times.

I once saw a Mum that looked at the end of her tether,older Mum with a big age difference between her children and her toddler was laying on the floor in full tantrum mode,she looked at me and looked like she was going to cry(typical I was never a child adults walking by tutting)so I just touched her elbow and said oh my god I know how that feels and she lent into me and cried.

I gave her cuddle,talked to her for 5 minutes and then spoke to her little boy and told him how his Mummy had told me what a brilliant helper he was for Mummy helping her doing the shopping around town and what a big boy he was.He stopped straight away big beaming smile,got up and held his Mum's hand.

We chatted for a few more minutes and then he walked off with his Mum.

It's just tiny little things but they can make such a difference to someone's day.

Blu Wed 04-Sep-13 23:04:07

I think it depends if you can say the right thing in the right tone of voice at the right moment.

It might have been possible to say, sympathetically, if she caught your eye "It's so hot on this bus! Do you think the sun in her eye is making her uncomfortable?" or it might not.

I always wonder why people park the buggy and leave the child facing away and don't talk to it, or reassure it or give it any clue that it's Mum is still at the handlebars. for the whole of a long journey.

I once saw a woman with a v young baby in a pram indoors and it was wearing a fleece suit and very overheated. The baby was crying, and I said to her that it might be because the baby was so hot...she looked desperate and unconfident and very grateful for my comment, and asked me how many layers to take off without causing the baby to be cold.

It all depends on circumstances and everyone's mood.

TwoTearsInABucket Wed 04-Sep-13 23:10:28

Awww that's nice Soditall.

If I had been told about my pushchair being in the sun, I would have felt awful. But if I hadn't noticed that the sun was in my DC's eyes then it would have been better for them for me to have been told.

I took my two DCs on an hour and a half plane journey once. They were 2 and 3. I was doing my best to keep them quiet and entertained. They weren't being awful thank goodness. An older lady turned round and told me I was doing a great job. It really boosted my confidence as I was very nervous about taking them on my own.
And on another plane journey when they were 3 and 5 at the end of it a couple next to us said that our kids were excellent travellers. That made me feel better as over the 10 hour journey i had mostly felt like throttling them!

However, after a particularly fraught trip to the supermarket culminating in my son setting off the alarm on the emergency doors at the check out, a lady stopped and told me that her son did that when he was little and now he is a captain in the army. I gritted my teeth and smiled but really i wanted to tell her to shut up.

So, actually you can't win! or, you can as long as you tell me nice things about my kids when I am not too stressed!

Svrider Thu 05-Sep-13 14:45:10

I had 3 children under 5yo
The only way I could contemplate going out and about was the thought that someone would help me
90% of the time people did
Better to offer help I think

Tailtwister Thu 05-Sep-13 14:51:23

I never offer direct help/advice with the baby, but would do other things like unpack a trolly as mentioned up the thread. I have carried things for people in self service restaurants (JL is a nightmare with a pram!) and such like. If someone really looked like they were going to break down I may offer a kind word of encouragement (along the lines of you're doing well, things do get better etc).

It's really hard to know how someone will react though.

I offer practical help. Have been known to show people how to use/collapse buggy if its one I've had and they have a teeny tiny baby.

Best moment I had with a screaming toddler lying on pavement and twins screeching was a mature gentleman in city suit and umbrella came up to me, and told me I'd be ok; he had twins and a slightly older child too (grown up), and that I'd get through it - with good times too. He was so spectacularly not the kind of person I would expect to come over - but it really helped, and took me out of the moment...

Thurlow Thu 05-Sep-13 14:57:15

It's the 'advice' part of it. Anything that sounds as if it is slightly critical could be incredibly upsetting to the parent. I know if a stranger said something to me that could be seen as critical of my parenting skills I'd be livid. A compliment or an offer to help with something is nicer.

I think I would have said something like "oh my DCs used to hate being on the bus in the buggy when it was hot, especially with the sun in their eyes, I used to hate it. Do you want a hand turning the buggy so she's not right in the sun?"

But now I've read this thread I would probably say nothing at all sad

recently, I was working on the till and there was a lady at the back of the quite long queue with a toddler having a full meltdown. for whatever reason, the toddler didn't want his mum to go to the tills and so had got out of his buggy and was pushing against it so that she couldn't move forward. every time she tried, whilst balancing a load of shopping in the basket as well as the buggy, he screamed louder and pushed harder.

I was trying to get a break in the queue so I could go and help her, because everyone was just walking round her and she looked like she just wanted to cry. by the time I got to her, and was going to take her shopping and purse to the till so sort it all out for her, another customer had come and done the same. she looked so relieved.

absentmindeddooooodles Thu 05-Sep-13 15:09:37

I was in a hospital waiting room the other day waiting for results with dp. We had been yold it was a 10 min appointment, so had ds with us as we were on the way to somewhere anuway.
We were there 4 hours. Ds is 2.5 and I have never known him to sit still for more than 3 mins. He ran riot. Threw things shouted and regardless of what I did I could not control him.
A woman across the room called him over by his name ( id been saying it so mich I rekon everyone in the waiting room knew it) she got her phone out and showed him pictures of all her animals etc and really engaged him in conversation. She was lovely and when he learnt to say a new word prompted by her the whole waiting room clapped. Very grateful to the lovely lady smile

Ive also had a woman come up to me in a shop and just put her hand on my shoulder. At this point ds was on the floor screaming and screaming kicking and hitting whenever I tried to pick him up. She just said really quietly to me....youre doing a great job love. Get this over with and go home and relax. I could have kissed her. Ds carried on the whole way round the shop...I ended up with a nlack eye and broken thumb. The woman ran to me as I was walking out the ezit and handed me a bag with a mini bottle of wine and a magazine for ds. She didnt stop so I could object. Bless her.

Once soneone grabbed ds off me again in the supermarket. He was 2 weeks and had hideous colic. Some busy body literally came upto me while I was looking the other way and took him off me. Saying oh ill show you how to calm him. Me and dp got her chucked out. Everyone around us was like shock

yellowballoons Thu 05-Sep-13 15:09:48

But surely helping a baby trumps the parent's feelings?
I have been thinking all day, poor baby, having the sun in its eyes for a long time.
[not blaming you op, but this is a way in which MN does not help society].

Forgetfulmog Thu 05-Sep-13 15:22:29

Oh my gosh, some of these stories on here are making me cry. People can be lovely smile

SilverApples Thu 05-Sep-13 15:33:39

'a lady stopped and told me that her son did that when he was little and now he is a captain in the army. I gritted my teeth and smiled but really i wanted to tell her to shut up.'

Why? She wasn't being critical or disapproving, she was trying to be supportive.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Thu 05-Sep-13 16:19:27

PigsDoFly The last time I was complimented on the bahaviour of my children in a restaurant, I almost howled as I was having a bad day, feeling despondent, etc. etc., and it made it all worthwhile. I ALWAYS love to be told that (even if I disagree!).

CuppaSarah Thu 05-Sep-13 16:27:53

People can feel patronized by receiving compliments? When I first took DD on a train at 3 months she was a little fussy and had a small cry about halfway. I was really feeling awkward about putting everyone through listening to that. But as we got off a woman told me how amazingly well behaved my DD was and how good she was. I could have cried it made me so happy.

As for giving advice, I don't think many people would be insulted if it was given in the right way. A little small talk and respect goes a long way.

mrstigs Thu 05-Sep-13 16:47:26

One day i was catching the tram to a sling meet the other side of the city and my toddler had her first big trantum for most of the journey. A good half hour she screamed and struggled. People were all tutting and staring and i was feeling so embarrassed and helpless, it was just awful. Then one woman moved from her seat several rows away to sit with us. She didnt try and fix it, or say anything patronizing, just chatted and was friendly to me. Thanks to her i stopped feeling like a social outcast and a terrible mother and calmed myself down which helped my toddler too. I was still frigging traumatised by the whole thing but that kind lady really made a difference to my day.
Also, on holiday some nice man walked past us waiting outside a cafe on Holy Island after walking back from the castle and said 'you have a really lovely family'. Made my day that did. So no, not everyone minds people helping out or making nice comments.

Lutrine Thu 05-Sep-13 18:48:27

A woman on the bus in front of me recently didn't even bother to turn round, just hissed "he wants feeding,love, can't you tell, he wants his tea" when my DD was crying. We were on our way back from DDs second lot of jabs, no idea why but I told the woman that, actually, she has just had her jabs, she replied " hmmph that usually shuts them up". I cried when I got off a few stops early and still get upset when I think about it a month later sad

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