Are there mothers who you really can’t stand?
Ones who set your teeth on edge. Make you secretly seethe. Make you mutter under your breath?
Do they break the Motherhood Code by doing things the Wrong Way? Or not Your Way?
Today I was at the supermarket for 1 hour. And for every minute of that hour, a young child was screaming and wailing at the top of her voice. TOP OF HER VOICE.
I am not exaggerating. I was in the *ahem* chocolate aisle and could hear here 7 rows down when she was in the dairy aisle.
It was excruciating.
Everyone was looking and exchanging glances and wondering why on earth her mother was paying no heed whatsoever to this screaming child following her around like a little waif.
And then I found myself tutting and raising my eyes at her.
Yes I did it, I confess.
I looked at that mother and I heaped all kinds of blame on her shoulders as I silently observed her from the bread aisle.
I judged her. I set aside all my principles of treating others as you wish to be treated and without saying a word I radiated the You’re a Bad Parent vibe.
So, I pay for my shopping and I push my trolly to the door. And then there she is. Standing outside the store, tucked up in a corner so people can’t quite see her, and she’s silently sobbing. Shaking a little. Casting little looks over her shoulder like a frightened little bird, with tears streaming down her pale face.
And I felt sick.
I had turned into one of those judgemental mothers who question why you didn’t parent the way they think everyone should parent.
Who look down on you if you didn’t breastfeed/if you used a dummy/clothed your child from head to toe in manmade fibres/immunised/didn’t immunise/gave up work/work.
There was I being judgemental and superior. Like one of those Other Mothers who think they know best.
When I was pregnant there was always always unsolicited advice.
Farming your baby off into childcare so you can go to work is cruel. Giving up your job to stay at home is selfish. Breastfeeding is the only way. You’re not STILL breastfeeding are you? If you’ve only got one child/your child is only 2/not at school yet/not putting you through teendom hell; you can’t possibly really understand motherhood yet.
I dislike those kinds of people and I don’t want to be one.
And I promise my two kids right here and now, when they are grown with babies of their own and those little munchkins are racing around with snot streaming down their faces and you’re feeding them a chocolate bar to get them to sit still for 10 whole seconds, I will NOT be the grandma who whispers under her breath ‘that’s not how we did it in MY day’!