Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Are you judging me?



This weekend we decided to have a little trip to the shops.  I would never normally brave the shops at the weekend because I hate being pushed, shoved and poked out of the way by rude people who seem hell-bent on fighting there way to the socks you happen to be standing in front of.  You know, as if it is a matter of life and death, or there may suddenly be a shortage of the damn things.  Well you get the idea.

Luckily, because the weather just happened to be El Scorchio, the shops were surprisingly quiet.  Everyone was out enjoying the sun.  So we go into a shop, I take Holly's pram and push it around while daddy picks out clothes he likes.  Then it is my turn to look while dad pushes the pram.  Within about 5 seconds of this switch-over, Holly decides it is time to start the show.  She has already been fed, changed and had a lovely long nap, but still the screaming and crying begins. We take her out of the pram and hold her.  Nope, that doesn't work.   We put her instead in the sling, still no joy. There is no soothing her.  She is probably just cranky due to the heat having lived nearly her entire life so far in near sub zero temperatures (it is Scotland you know).

The looks have started already though.  Other shoppers, walking by, staring, some shaking their heads, some tutting.  Making faces as if to say...

"Can't you keep your baby quiet"

OR 

"Don't they know how to look after that baby?"

I am being silently judged by other people.  I feel like an inadequate and bad mother.  After all, what kind of mother brings a crying baby to the shops?  Or can't soothe her crying baby? Me, apparently.  Daddy says its fine and to keep shopping, she'll calm down eventually.  I can't though, I'm too annoyed/upset and I abandon my shopping and leave the store.  I hate being judged.  I wasn't doing anything wrong was I? I certainly wasn't ignoring Holly's cries.  Yet I am made to feel like shit by strangers.  This is why I hate taking Holly out in public, for the most part she is good, but in the back of my mind there is always the fear she has a meltdown and it terrifies me.  As a result I tend to do most of my shopping online to avoid such situations.

So my question is, if you had seen me and my crying baby, would you judge me?  Would you act like I was ruining your day and make it so blatantly obvious that you thought I was doing a shit job?  Or am I over-reacting?   Should I just ignore these mean, ignorant people?



12 comments:

littlemansmum said...

They obviously weren't parents or they're kids are now grown up and therefore can't remember what it was like with a little one.

Crafts on Sea said...

I think most of the time is other parents and they know your pain! I've had a screamer (well my son did) in Tesco's and I have never been back there though due to the looks people gave and comments! I'm sure some people are trying to be friendly but it just doesn't feel that way at the time :(
Having said that, we had a woman sit down behind us on a plane last year and say loudly "Oh! I just moved so I didn't have to sit near a baby. I hate children!) To whick the husband replied very loudly that we love them. Which shut her up!

Juliet Lewin said...

I know that feeling SO well. My oldest boy (nearly 4) has special needs and my little one (20 months)...well, he's just a feisty little boy...and together then can create absolute mayhem!! Going into a shop is torture as they take it in turns to either hit each other (and me) or pull everything off the shelves. Staying calm can be very difficult and yet I do, because I know them and what works for them in terms of discipline. But I see the looks on peoples faces as they wonder why I can't control my own children. The fact is, I know I just have to focus on me and my beautiful boys, and not ignorant people who don't know my situation and have never tried living a day in my shoes. Lets face it, I don't think any two little boys are easy...and neither are babies when they are tired, hot, grumpy, teething, hungry.... You are not over reacting, but I think the best thing to do is to ignore the stares and just do what you do best. Look after Holly! (Obviously easier said than done ;) I hope it gets easier for you as she gets older x

Sonya Cisco said...

I know how you feel, I always flee or home if kids start playing up too. Shame. Tho I wonder sometimes if it's more me judging myself!

Marilynn said...

Thank you! I know I'm probably taking it far too seriously but I really felt like poop about it. I do think a lot of people forget what its like to have a baby, or possibly never had one as highly strung as Holly!

Marilynn said...

So glad to hear it isn't just me! I just really take things to heart. Really need to stop guilt tripping myself over stupid stuff I can't control. Well done your hubby for telling that woman on the plane! We are thinking of taking Holly on holiday in September, but terrified to think of how she might be on a plane! If you have any advice about plane journeys I'd love to know!

Marilynn said...

Wow, well done you for managing to stay calm with two boisterous boys to look after. Its good to know there are others dealing the same ignorant people. I'm feeling so much better now I've read your lovely comment. I'm going to try and follow your example and not let it get to me in future (wish me luck). Thank you! X

Marilynn said...

Think you have a point about judging ourselves. David always says that to me, that I'm too hard on myself and that it isn't as bad as I think. He says I'm always beating myself up about not doing a good enough job with Holly. So I think maybe I'm just reading too much into SOME of the looks I was getting. Although some were still genuinely rude! Kids eh?

Jackie Cr said...

When I hear a baby crying or see a toddler having a tantrum I mainly sympathise with the parents and secretly feel relieved that it's not my child having the tantrum. I very rarely go shopping with the kids (in fact very rarely go out shopping full stop) as I usually have the ones that are playing up.
At the moment it seems every day that I have one or both of my toddlers have a tantrum or generally play up on the school run. I very often feel like people are looking down at me. As easy as it is to say to ignore it, I know that in practice it is very hard, so I can totally understand where you are coming from. ((hugs)) x

Molly @ Mother's Always Right said...

I can so clearly remember this time just over 2 years ago. I went to the supermarket with my husband and newborn daughter. She started crying when we were about halfway round. By the time we got to the checkout she was really loud. Lots of people looked on in sympathy but the woman behind the checkout? She tutted and said, "Don't you know your baby's hungry?". I literally left all my shopping unpacked and abandoned my husband to deal with it, while I marched my baby out of the shop, never to return to that particular chain of supermarkets again.

I must say, though, that on other occasions when we've been out and my daughter's had a crying fit (often at the moment as we approach Terrible Twos) most of the looks we get are from people who can probably remember being in that exact situation themselves. I think it's easy as a new mum to be sensitive to other people's looks, and sometimes take it the wrong way. It is stressful though!

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, my son started crying when we were in a shop and I knew it was because he was tired (upon leaving the shop he was asleep within minutes), and I was trying to soothe him. I got 'the look' as if to say "why dont you do something?" from a woman in her 40s. It made me feel inadequate, that I wasn't doing it right or I should be doing more. I do agree that these people have either no children of their own or can't remember how hard it was! I read a lovely quote somewhere, it said "the only critic that matters is the one you tuck in at night". That made me feel better x

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