Highlights of the Week: #31
January 7, 2017
Raising My Little Veggie!
January 9, 2017

Backseat Parenting!

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Picture this… you’re out with your little one(s) and everything is going fine. You’re a little tired perhaps but then you have been tired for the past however many years so that’s nothing new. You’re pushing your trolley around the supermarket, your child is sitting nicely in the seat when all of a sudden you make the fatal error of mistakes and you say “No darling, don’t touch that!” It’s like everything goes into slow motion… the item gets thrown to the floor, along with other items from the trolley that are in reach of frantically grabbing little hands, the scream reaches all new levels in both sound and pitch (so much so I’m not even sure dogs can hear anymore), when they aren’t grabbing things from the trolley and throwing them, they are hitting you whilst also practicing their hand eye co-ordination by kicking you AT THE SAME TIME and you have barely had a chance to take a breath since exhaling the word no at them a few seconds previously whilst also going the shade of a tomato and preying that no one is watching. You try and calm said child down soothingly and in the end bribe them with either something to eat or something they can hold that you are 89% sure they cannot break or get into and are about to move on when you have obviously neglected to pick something up off the floor and in comes the back seat parenter…. they hand me the item from the floor and in a nice clear, calm crisp voice state “Having trouble with your little one?  That’s not how we did things in my day….”

a woman with her face in her hands and hair falling down

If that had been the other way around, I wouldn’t have said anything. I perhaps would have given the mother a smile to show support and let her know that it was okay but I wouldn’t have made her feel bad about the situation. NEWSFLASH… children play up. They do. Sorry but that’s the truth. No child is an angel all of the time and in fact there is only one time Alyssa has ever played up in a supermarket because she actually enjoys them because she just sits and chats away to random people. However, that one time she did play up, woman pulling her hair outI gave her something to eat because I knew it would keep her quiet and then I hurried my shopping and left – but why do people think they can back-seat parent like this?!

It’s not only the older generation in supermarkets we have to contend with… oh no! Sometimes we even get it in our own homes. After sleep training Alyssa a few weeks ago, things have been going well sleep wise. However, the last week or so she has not been great at sleep, has been waking up and has been taking longer to go to sleep in the evenings too. Someone in my house, who has no children of their own I’d like to point out, made the off the cuff remark of “Well, I don’t think you’re doing it right. You should put her to bed when she is ACTUALLY tired!” Errr…. excuse me?! I think I know my own daughter. I know when my daughter is tired and I also know that my daughter likes routine and if I thought she wasn’t tired I would not put her to bed – I don’t put her to bed just so I can have a break you know!!! I put her to bed because she is a little girl who needs to go to sleep and get some rest before the following day.

Since this comment, plus several others from this person I might add, they have since told me that they were only joking and that I am a great mum. They clearly do not read my blog or they’d know how much I worry about that very thing… and that is what backseat parenting does.  It instills doubt into the minds of the actual parents. Stereotypically, grandmothers are notorious for this and can often leave their own children feel frustrated or that they are lacking when it comes to parenting skills in some respects. Thankfully my own mother and Alyssa’s other granda woman holding her head blurredparents are wonderful and frequently tell me what a good job I am doing but the niggle remains doesn’t it?! It is so much easier to listen and remember the bad than it is to remember the good – which is horrible but a fact.

The next time you go to visit a friend with a new baby, think before you speak. Did they ask for the advice you’re about to unload on them or did they just mention something that had happened with their child. FYI if they want  help… they will ask for it! I am a stubborn mule bag and try not to ask for help to often as it makes me feel inadequate but I do need help sometimes and when I need it, I ask for it. I know my backseat parenter in the long run does not mean any harm and is genuinely making jokes (at least I’m 99% sure anyway) but that person in the supermarket or that tutting person sat at another table in the cafe… why do you do it?! Do you have children? If you do, were they angels 100% of the time??!! If you just answered yes then I am sorry but  you are either lying or delusional because unless your child is a robot they will have had to cry and get upset or frustrated at some point in their childhood and would you have appreciated someone coming over to you and telling you how to parent better or worse looking you up and down and tutting? No, I don’t think you would!

little boy having a tantrum on a stone floor covering his face

This has once again turned into a bit of a ranty post which wasn’t my intention but I think people as a whole need to be brought down a peg or two when it comes to parenting. Everyone has an off day, including our children and when they are young, other than cry or shout or scream, they have no way  of telling us what is wrong which must be horrendously frustrating for them as well as us parents. So, next time you see a child acting up or a parent struggling, either give them a supportive smile to let them know it’s okay and they are not alone or move along and don’t acknowledge it – get out of the car and walk, STOP being a backseat parent!

 

 

40 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I definitely understand this. My baby’s grandparents are the culprits generally, in particular, my mother and my SO’s dad, oddly enough, who really does not know what he’s talking about but does it anyway. My favorite was sending us a parenting video about how millennials aren’t prepared for the world because they were just given everything, while simultaneously refusing to cut back on the amount of stuff they buy their grandbaby, even though we’ve asked repeatedly. Pffft! Definitely agree that we should all be giving smiles of support! #ablogginggoodtime

  2. Lucy At Home says:

    Uuurgh I hate it when people chip in when it’s not needed. As you say, we worry enough as parents without the criticism from other people knocking our confidence too. I’m sure you’re doing a great job. Keep going. #ABloggingGoodTime

  3. Rach says:

    Parenting will always incite opinion, no matter what. It does my head in big time, I would never give unsolicited advice, in fact I might even feel a little off key if I was asked my opinion to be honest, it’s such a personal thing. #ablogginggoodtime

  4. I cannot stand this! As soon as I became a mum I vowed not to back seat parent. If someone comes to me for advice then I will give it.

    My in-laws like to give advice. I nod and agree with them and then ignore what they said. I’m quite tough skinned so it takes a lot to get to me. I know I’m the best mum I can be and doing best for my girl.

    Great post!

  5. Helen says:

    Parenting is a topic that provokes a lot of sometimes strong views or opinions. I am very much of the opinion – you do you and I’ll do me – when it comes to parenting. However I am aware of times when I’ve truly been trying to be helpful by sharing my experience of something to do with parenting, but later worry that it came across not as intended. There are just so many emotions when it comes to discussing parenting! #ablogginggoodtime

    Helen x

  6. Becky says:

    I understand why your post turned rants! You had a lot to get of your chest! I feel lucky to have never witnessed back seat parenting from a stranger. I’m sure my time will come and I hope for their sake I’m not tired when it happens! 😡😡😡
    I have however experienced the family member back seat parenting. Or in that particular case my OH parents. I know it wasn’t meant with harm but as you say left me doubting my parenting techniques.
    Since becoming a parent I pass judgement a lot less. Whether you have children or not people try their best to get along in life, who are we to say their not doing it right!
    #ABloggibgGoodTime

  7. You’re so right – and most of the unsolicited parenting advice I get is from people who don’t have kids! I know they mean well, but they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. I just try to ignore it because I know they don’t have enough experience to actually be helpful. #ablogginggoodtime

  8. I can understand your frustration. The backseat parenting brigade get on my nerves. I don’t understand why fellow mothers become so judgemental, since they have surely been through similar situations. If it was me witnessing you having trouble, I think I would ask if you’re okay and whether I can do something to help. If only there was more helpfulness and less commenting on the situation and doing nothing. #ablogginggoodtime

  9. Anna says:

    It’s infuriating! You should turn the tables on your persistent offender. Start telling him/her how to do their job. #ablogginggoodtime

  10. Just how lovely is it when you’re out and someone gives you that look of encouragement instead of judgement. I’m a real one for asking if they’re ok? Just that little show of support can make such a difference. hate the judgey ones. Must just point out here that this can’t be your Alyssa your’e talking about? Not that perfect little angel?! #abloggingggoodtime

  11. Omgosh…GREAT post! I always felt the pressure by everyone who came at me with their advice when I had my little one (10 years ago). Because of that, with new babies coming into play with my sister and best friends. I literally just say, give me baby…go take a nap, or whatever you want. Paint your nails. Take a long long shower if you want. 2x. Or I’ll help her wash her dishes, or fold laundry.

    Nothing boils me more than someone without children trying to advise a parent. Thank you for this post! Well done =) #ablogginggoodtime

  12. kerry says:

    Great read! I had an old lady on a bus say to me “you know what he needs don’t you? the back of your hand” there were no words!!! we are all allowed an opinion its just a lot of people seem to think that their opinion is the right “way”

    #ablogginggoodtime

  13. yes! I feel shitty enough…please just judge me in silence

    #ablogginggoodtime

  14. People definitely need a filter, they mean well (most of the time, I think)but you know that you are a great Mum and you’re doing a great job, let them say what they like, you know better. #ablogginggoodtime

  15. Why on earth do people think comments like this are ok? Do they really think they’re helping? Or do they just get a kick out of humiliating others? When I’m in those situations I definitely appreciate people pretending they haven’t noticed anything or just a compassionate smile that says ‘I’ve been there’
    #Ablogginggoodtime

  16. Nicola says:

    Here here!! It’s the tutting and looks down their nose that I hate. When I see someone struggling I always walk away, move to another aisle and let them deal with their child in private. Noone wants to be in that situation and there is not right way of dealing with it, only what is right for you. #ablogginggoodtime

  17. It’s so frustrating when people make comments when there is no need for them. I swear my family do it on purpose sometimes just to wind me up. I really have to bite my tongue sometimes. But now after 3 and a half years after first becoming a mum I’m resigned to the fact people older than me will always feel the need to give suggestions and make comments because ‘they know better’. Yeah right!

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com

  18. I hate when people comment on my parenting. It never fails that my kid will act up at the most inconvenient time. Then the judging eyes start. I have been there.
    #ablogginggoodtime

  19. Everyone’s an expert, until they’re in the spotlight anyway! I literally ALWAYS have food for the toddler just in case, it makes the screaming stop instantly! Haha!

    #ablogginggoodtime

  20. People have always got something to say, I have learned to just nod and smile. I literally don’t listen to a single word of advise unless i have asked for it. #ablogginggoodtime

  21. Jenni says:

    Hmmm people interefere way too much x #ablogginggoodtime

  22. It’s frustrating isn’t it? I think the best thing people can do when they see a toddler acting up is keep their heads down and move on. If they know enough about parenting to offer advice, then they’ll know that if a toddler has chosen to have a public meltdown, then there is absolutely nothing you can do other than let it run its course. I always find that the worst part of a tantrum is the attention it brings, so if people just went about their business and ignored it, it would be so much easier to deal with! #ablogginggoodtime

  23. So frustrating when people do this, it just makes you want to tell them to sod off.

    When people started visiting after Baby was born I got a lot of “Oh you don’t want to hold her so much” and “You’re making a rod for your own back rocking her to sleep” etc. She was less than a month old for God sake and seeing as she will be my only child and won’t be little for long I intend to hold her and rock her as often as she will let me!

    Anyway, I feel your pain #ablogginggoodtime

  24. So true what you’ve said in your post! Everyone is so smart when it comes to giving advice or judge another. So easy, when they don’t have to deal with their own problems, right? Best thing you can do, is to just stop stressing about it. Let them look, let them whisper, let them talk – they are the ones with problems not you! One ear in, other out;) #ablogginggoodtime

  25. Sonia says:

    I feel your pain and have to admit returning home and bursting after a similar incident in a supermarket! Fortunately, friends and family don’t fall into this category and I think, if they had, they wouldn’t be darkening my door for very long! There’s a way to give advise and people should know when to give it and when to just shut up! My hubby soon learned that the phrase ‘can I make a suggestion’ wasn’t always gratefully received!! xx #ablogginggoodtime

  26. Petite Words says:

    Oh dear god, this is mad, no one has the right to say that! #ablogginggoodtime

  27. YES! what is wrong with these people? My mother in law is particularly bad for this, when she leaves after staying with us, it takes me about a week to get back to feeling confident with being a Mom. Also the people in the grocery store, ergh, I had an elderly woman tell me my daughter was too noisy and I should do something about it, she was singing – ok rather loudly but it was happy noise. I’m not risking a melt down by telling her to be quiet! Thankyou for writing this, its nice to know other mothers have the same experience! #ablogginggoodtime

  28. I HATE back seat parenting. Not only should people really leave us to get on with it as we know our children, they also don’t know who we are or what we as a family are going through. I’m always willing to listen to advice but really only if I ask for it! Thankfully the only time I have had someone say anything so far was when my then 3 year old was having the worst screaming fit ever in our local shopping centre – as I carried him out of the centre as fast as I could do, a lovely lady said ‘I remember when my little one used to do that – I promise they will grow out of it eventually! ‘ It actually made me feel so much better! #ablogginggoodtime

  29. Crummy Mummy says:

    Oh yes the dreaded supermarket – it’s always the supermarket isn’t it!! #ablogginggoodtime

  30. I was always one of those who smile and then out of earshot comment to Hubby – but since becoming a mum I cringe at how i was. Ive been that mum in a restaurant with a screaming baby who wont settle. You can feel the eyes stabbing into you as if to say “sort it out sharpish” it doesnt help i look so young so i get paranoid comments like “shouldnt have had him so young if you cant cope” kind of thing.
    I hate those kind of comments, but love hearing stories of people coming over and asking if there is anything the mum needs or even offering to queue up to get their cup of tea for them. That is what I would love to see rather than judgement!!
    #ablogginggoodtime

  31. I hold grudges (not very mindful of me – I know I should just let it go)…. there is a shop assistant in our local sainsbos who told my son to stop whining about 4 years ago and I have NEVER gone to her checkout again since…even when she is clearly the one who will get be through the quickest. I couldn’t stand her invention that day… I was feeling crap anyway – not what I needed at all so I totally get this! So reassuring it’s not just me…. #ablogginggoodtime

  32. Topfivemum says:

    Oh I just want to jump into that scene and tell that lady in the supermarket to butt out for you! But for your friend to give advice, that’s almost worse isn’t it? We all know how best to handle our kids and we also know what their triggers are and how to avoid/escape/rectify them. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do as they’re just in one of those moods/tired/hungry whatever it is that means you can’t speak to them to help them get out of it. The worst I had was in a cafe when I had to feed my baby (4 months at the time) and I was with my then not quite 2 year old. She was sitting really nicely but then after 10 minutes started to get bored and was grabbing a few things off shelves. The ladies at the next table turned around to glare at me. With one babe in arms, and trying to drag the other down to sit on her seat with the other, all I could say was ‘i’m trying my best you know’. Oh, and f you. Luckily I didn’t say that last bit out loud (this time). #ablogginggoodtime

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