parenting

Unhelpful things people say

Over the last 8 months I have noticed that when you have a baby with you complete strangers will stop and talk to you. A lot of the time this is very sweet. It is very rare that I am out with Zara and someone doesn’t stop me to say how lovely she is and to fuss over her. Check out assistants, waitresses, complete strangers in the street…they all do it! As lovely as this is, I do find it strange. No one stops people in the street so say how much they like your outfit or your hair or your shoes but babies seem to be an automatic talking point.

I have also noticed that people like to offer their opinions. You don’t have to ask. You don’t have to have ever seen the person before. They don’t need to have children but they seem to think you would value their opinion on what you are doing. Here are just a few rather unhelpful comments people have made when I’m out and about.

  • ‘Don’t you think she should be strapped in’. This comment was from a check out lady in Tesco. Zara was stationary in her car seat. I’d been carrying her round the shop but had briefly put her down in the car seat to pay. She was about 5 months old at the time and as far as I was aware had not developed the ability to leap out of her car seat.
  • ‘That’s just what she wanted. You’ll spoil her’. This was a completely random lady on the sea front when I picked Zara up out of her buggy when she was crying.
  • ‘Oh pick her up, she needs a cuddle’. This was the same time as the previous incident. Zara had been crying in her buggy for a few minutes but I couldn’t really carry her and push the buggy for long and had put her back down.
  • ‘Oh give her the toy, that’s what she wants’. When entertaining Zara in a long queue in a shop I was jiggling a toy around. She was reaching out for it and giggling. However, if I gave her the toy the game was over and she wasn’t interested. The lady behind me in the queue thought I was being very cruel by not handing over the toy. I did then oblige. Zara promptly threw the toy on the floor and started grizzling!
  • ‘Does she sleep through now?’. My all time least favourite question. I have been asked this many times and several times by people I don’t know. I met one lady at a baby yoga class who asked, ‘what’s her name? how old is she? does she sleep through the night?’. Why do people need to know? For the record the answer is generally no but I don’t mind! I truly believe that she will when she is ready. I also know that it changes all the time. She will be sleeping well and then she’s poorly or teething or it’s stupidly hot and it all changes.

I’ve discussed this with other friends with babies and I know I’m not alone. Anyone else got any unhelpful comments people have made to them?

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