OK, it was sunny at the weekend and it was hot. However, the following facts are also very important: it was 4:30, Lauren was covered in suncream and we were out for 5 minutes. So, I am happily pushing Lauren along the High Road and a horrible woman literally runs towards me shouting ‘SSSUUUUNNNNN’ in my face. She is clearly to beside herself as a result of the utter neglect she sees before her. She tries to form a sentence, on the second attempt just managing to get out ‘her’ and ‘sun’. Yes, it’s true most of the other buggies out and about had muslins covering their babies and Lauren wasn’t wearing her sunhat (I gave up after the 12th time of putting it back on for her to pull off) but she was fine. She was certainly perplexed by the deranged old bag but before that had been happily chatting to passersby and enjoying the weather.
If it was a one off occasion, perhaps I could shrug it off but I’ve received totally unwanted advice in the street twice before. Once, another old woman told me off really meanly because Lauren had no socks on and it was in her opinion too cold. Another time, on the bus, I was told clearly (as was the whole bus) that I should pick up screaming Lauren from her pram because obviously that would soothe her. The fact that the bus was moving and I was standing up wasn’t a concern. No, I was clearly an evil mother who enjoys listening to her baby cry.
What on earth do these women (and it is ALWAYS women) think they are doing? How dare they comment on someone else’s child? Mums are neurotic enough without perfect strangers telling us we’re doing things wrong. Seriously, there should be a law against it. An on the spot fine for busy bodies who think they care more about your child than you, their own mother does.
What happens I wonder to mothers who do actually neglect their children? Do they get comments, or are the grumpy grannies too frightened to give their opinions out to mums who might abuse them back? It’s a bit like speeding and parking tickets – the police are too busy/scared/lacking resources to go for people driving without insurance, or when banned, so they prey on the easy target middle classes who parked with their back wheel touching a yellow line.
Anyway on all occasions I refused to sink to their level, so calmly turned the other cheek and walked away. Yeah right! I was actually too cross to think of an appropriately cutting remark and spent the next hour going over in my head what I should have said if only I’d been quick thinking enough.
I could become paranoid, but lots of my mummy friends have reassured me they too have received unwanted comments from random strangers, so I say mums of the world unite! Don’t let these horrible, confidence smashing, stick their oar in where it’s not wanted, strangers ruin your day. Mums know best and that is that.