Open letter to The Helpfuls

Dear Person who clearly thinks I’m not capable of parenting my child,

I appreciate your concern that my child is obviously distressed. I’m not deaf. I can hear her screaming like an alley cat. I’m just choosing to ignore it. Why? Because I know she is making that noise because she is tired. I also know that it will stop in approx three minutes when she goes to sleep. That is her protest cry.

And Don’t tell me to give her a dummy. We tried that. She woke up every forty minutes getting me to put it back in, which led to my toddler eating peanut butter on weetbix every meal because I was too sleep deprived to muster up anything more nutritious.

I know you think that because you parented a child back when we still had pet dinosaurs, you know better than this young, tattooed Mummy who is not comforting her child. But please, when you say “OH she’s hungry!” and I reply “no, she’s actually tired” refrain from insulting me and my parenting by repeating She’s hungry. With the knowing nod and look. I might have to give her to you to try and feed. And when she doesn’t want to eat I’ll be there with a giant told you so look on my young, inexperienced mummy face.

Don’t look so shocked that she’s wearing a cloth nappy. Yes, there are those of us who still use them. Don’t try and cover up this shock by saying “They don’t make them how they used to!” No, you’re right, they don’t. It’s called advances in technology and thank Ford for it.

This is also probably the appropriate time to tell you that I know when my child is cold. She turns purple. (Kidding!). That noise she’s making? She’s just having a chat. Trying to get my attention, because I’m currently trying to pry my toddler away from the confectionary stand.

Speaking of my toddler. Yes, he says No! a lot. And occasionally he throws tantrums. To be honest, I’m actually jealous that he can throw the tantrums he does because most of the time they are for valid reasons. Like not being able to eat as much chocolate as he wants. I wish I could eat as much chocolate as I wanted. But I can’t. So he’ll tanty for the both of us.

BUT when I am reprimanding him for his behaviour DO NOT say to me “boys will be boys” with that same look of knowing. Yes, I get it. Boys will be boys – because they have penises. A penis does not mean you can misbehave in public (or at home). All it means is that you stand to pee.

Thanks for listening, I’m sure you appreciate me clearing this up for you.





14 thoughts on “Open letter to The Helpfuls

  1. I love LOVE LOVE this entry!! You have just said what all us Mothers think when we are judged by someone who THINKS they know more about your own child than what you do!

  2. This is part of the reason why I tend not to comment on some parenting blogs. I have an opinion about lots of things. But as far as parenting decisions are concerned no one needs to know what it is. And as far as babies and toddlers and children are concerned everyone can tend to feel like it’s their duty to tell you how you’re messing up.

  3. Love your work!

    I’d like all those busy body old biddies who used to tut at me and offer their fabulously helpful advice to read this.

    You can’t win. The cloth nappies that were going to delay his mobility clearly didn’t affect him since he was crawling at three months. Ah, crawling so early, that’s dangerous. Their heads are too heavy. Early teething? Bad for speech. First words at 6 months. Clearly teething was bad for his speech! And ad nauseam!

    My favourite was the old biddy who told me I was a child abuser for only having one child. And here I was thinking beating and starving your child qualified!

  4. Amen! It’s such a different thing every household, you can’ apply a blanket policy on everyone. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I had no manners when it comes to dealing with other people telling me about my parenting.

  5. I never really got many comments. But we always did get the looks. The ones that say, “Are you beating that child who is screaming?” or “Why aren’t you beating that child who is screaming?”
    One time my son lost his sanity in the checkout line(because I wouldn’t give him a treat or something). after I’d already unloaded all the groceries and therefore had to just try to get through the line and out of there. We managed and got out into the parking lot when this lady came running up to me. I had seen her in another line at the same time as me. I thought oh god she’s going make some stupid comment about this.
    She made a comment. She said, “You’re such a good mom.”
    I got us strapped in the car and cried from the roller coaster of it all. Those are the comments people need to be making.

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