Today was a good day.

The sun was shining despite the winter temp and Millie and I headed off for a walk.

Mum and daughter gleefully going about their day – until an opinionated nosy parker decided to ruin it.

My hubby was called interstate on business for a few days, so I decided to go to a cafe with Millie for lunch to save myself cooking a big dinner for one.

In a high chair, Millie Moo played with her toys, ate the lunch I had brought along for her and sampled the eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast from my plate. She was such a good little bub, happy to munch away and occasionally smile or wave to fellow customers as they passed through.

A journalist by trade, I relished the chance to read the paper while sipping a latte. How lovely. Well…

Millie started to grasp at the edges of the newspaper so I passed her the catalogue that was lodged in the middle. The shiny, crunchy paper kept her occupied for a couple of minutes as she waved it about and slapped it against the table.

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A woman, probably in her 60s, came over to tell me she used to give her kids the toy catalogues to look at. I smiled, thinking she was just being nice.

“I would never have given them that one though,” she continued.

Say what?

“You have to watch what you give them. I had to look twice at what she was holding,” she said.

Oh my goodness, I thought – have I given Millie a catalogue laced with poison? Was it covered in pictures of naked men? Had she grabbed someone’s book and was scrunching it up?

No. It was a Dan Murphy’s catalogue. Shock horror.

“She doesn’t know what she is reading,” I said to the woman, assuring her that Millie was still a long way off talking and walking let alone ducking off to the bottle-o.

“Well it won’t be long,” she said. “Naughty mummy.”

I was shocked, otherwise I would have come up with something witty to say.

It didn’t matter that Millie had a morning nap, was quiet, happy, warmly dressed, eating vegies or had a clean nappy on? Or that I had triple-sterilised her utensils, love her dearly and am a new mum still learning how the hell to be a good one?

I wish I had told her to mind her own business.

Millie didn’t see the pictures on the catalogue and even if she did, she doesn’t yet know what they are.

Most households have bottles of wine on display at home. We have a small collection in a rack in our lounge. It will be years before Millie realises they’re there.

I could count the number of alcoholic drinks I’ve had in the last 11 months on one hand (and none in the 9 months before that).

I don’t need to justify myself. I was just mad at this stranger judging my parenting after a quick glance.

Why do people of a certain age feel the need to be critical once you’re pushing a pram?

A girl from my mother’s group was chastised by a shop assistant for taking her 6 month old son into the supermarket bottle shop. She was getting a bottle of wine for guests that were coming for dinner that evening.

Other friends have had older people tell them their child needs warmer clothes/a hat/a sleep/all of the above while out with their baby. Those pregnant with their second or third have been told with raised eyebrows how tough they’re going to find it once the new bub comes along. Just a smile or “congratulations” would be nice.

I don’t get it. Why do some people only say negative things to mothers of babies – mothers who are probably running on minimal sleep and are pleased just to be out of their pyjamas and out of the house?

How about it rude lady? Next time you see a mum and her baby, how about telling her that her baby is lovely and remind her that she is doing a damn fine job.

If you haven’t got something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Have you been confronted by people with opinions on how to raise your child? What did you say?

4 Comments on Back off rude lady, I’m doing a stellar job

  1. My daughter and I was at the Geelong Show last year. My husbands band was playing in a very large marque. My daughter and I had gone along to watch and support. We found a spot to stand with my daughter in the pram right at the back close to the open panels of the marquee. I had a similar aged lady tap me quite abruptly on the shoulder and tell me I was a bad mother for having my child in an area with such loud noise. She told me I should know better and to take my daughter to a quieter place. I was stunned. My sister in law was near by with her very young children too. No comment to her. It made me question my parenting. But I too was too shocked to respond quick enough. If I had I would have really given her a piece of my mind.

  2. Natalie, there are so many opiniated people..what a wonderful life this nosey parker must lead. I had to laugh when I read this as I just can’t believe how people are thinking sometimes. Yes you should have told her to mind her own business and to get a life.

  3. I know exactly how you feel! It seems as though we get the most support from other new mums but the least support from mums of an older generation. It is frustrating because it comes as such a shock when you hear the negative things said to you. I almost want to write a journal about how it feels so that a few decades time it will remind me NOT to be that sort of person. Rest assured you’re being a great mum. xx

  4. It always surprises me that middle aged to older aged women who, presumably are mothers, are the ones who feel the need to critasize.
    I can understand (although dont agree with) it coming from my single friends, or even some men, who THINK they know what its like to be a parent…But coming from women who have once been a new mum themselves really bothers me. If only they could think back to all the unsolicited advice they received way back when and how it made them feel!

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