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, I 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 grandparents 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!