A letter to a judgy stranger

Seagull selfie

I was reading the Metro on the bus recently and came across this gem in the letters section:

What is it with those mothers who are permanently nagging and bawling out their small children? In what way do they think this will help in either the long or short term, compared with, say, interacting with them? Do they enjoy it?

– Puzzled Seagull, Leith

This is how I would respond:

Dear Puzzled Seagull,

I’m going to assume that you’re not a parent. If you were, you would know that no parent enjoys nagging their small children. We would love to be simply ‘interacting’ with them – telling silly jokes, playing peek-a-boo, enjoying a relaxing family meal – but sometimes we can’t. Because sometimes our kids act like a***holes.

When you overhear us shout things like, “Stop licking the bus window!” or “Shoes are for your feet, not for your mouth!”, what you don’t know is that we’ve probably already shouted those phrases a dozen times that day.

Before shouting, we tried gentle coaxing. Then pleading. Then bribery.

“I’ll give you a biscuit if you stop trying to eat your filthy shoe,” we said. Our small child took that biscuit, ate it, then pulled off her shoe and stuffed it in her gob. Hence the yelling.

We are frustrated. We are tired. We don’t understand why our child insists on putting things in their mouth that don’t belong there. We are worried – correctly, it seems – that people like you are judging us.

So the next time you see a frustrated parent bawling out their small child, instead passing judgement, give them a smile instead. Sometimes that’s all we need – a look that says, “Hey, I know this whole parenting thing isn’t going too well for you right now, but it’s okay. You’re doing your best.”

Thanks,

Katie

Diary of an imperfect mum
A Mum Track Mind

28 Replies to “A letter to a judgy stranger”

  1. People without kids usually just don’t get it- I didn’t before I had my little boy, I was so naive- but oh how I learned quickly! When I go out to the shop and my little lord plays up I look for the all knowing look of a fellow parent and ignore the awkward glances from other shop goers #stayclassymama

  2. Well said… it makes me giggle when someone passes judgement who doesn’t have children. In my head I am singing ‘just you wait’. Love your letter *thinks to self, wouldn’t it be fab if she saw your post!* #ablogginggoodtime x

  3. Love the letter. I don’t give a s**t about the judgy strangers anymore, my little man has Autism so we get a lot of stares, tuts & judgements without people realising why he’s having a meltdown #ablogginggoodtime

  4. I would wager that Puzzled Seagull does not have children! I’ve tried to be less judgy since having my two. As you say, you just don’t know the context of the nag and how tough a day the mummy is having trying to control her brood. It’s bad enough having to nag without knowing that someone has clocked you and is sending mental venom your way! #ablogginggoodtime

  5. alisonlonghurst says: Reply

    Great – got it in a nutshell. Judgers piss off. Well said 🙂 Alison x #ablogginggoodtime

  6. Hear hear. I cannot stand it when people who have no effing clue get their judgy knickers on. Just Eff Off! #tribe

  7. Well said Katie! It is hard being a parent, much harder than my pre-parent slightly judgemental self ever realised 😉 x

  8. Well said! Also, I enjoyed the puzzled seagull haha! Lucy xx #triballove

  9. True, true. Also one of the reasons we nag is to keep them quiet so we dont get disapproving looks from people like that! #stayclassy

  10. This is brilliant! People are so quick to judge and look somewhat confused as by the seagull but your recount is so funny. You wait till they tell you “Mummy please can you not do this in public!” Somehow that makes me want to say it even louder in public even more! #ablogginggoodtime

  11. I seriously cannot stand hearing the opinion of someone who has not raised a child. They truly do not understand, and everything comes out so judgy. It’s true, sometimes the best thing you can do for a struggling parent is give them a pat on the back. But, it’s 2016, and in this age, apparently everyone is a perfect parent….
    Thanks for sharing #StayClassyMama

  12. The seagull picture made me LOL. I hate judge people and love your response! #ablogginggoodtime

  13. Haha love the seagull pic! Hear hear, why do people have to be so judgey? As you quite rightly say, you can rest assured that they do NOT have kids, and don’t understand the importance of having a packet of emergency biscuits in the changing bag at all times. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

  14. Here here! I hate that look of contention from people as if they think you ‘let’ them have a tantrum on the floor. I always break and say something funny to people to break the ice. #triballove

  15. People that don’t have kids need to stop writing these letters! You give a spot on response though 🙂

  16. This reminded me of a meme I once saw of Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games with her hands up in her solidarity salute. That is what I think of when I see a Mum ‘bawling at her kids’ or shouting at them not to lick the window. Solidarity for other mothers. Not judgement. Judgement is for toss pots and douche bags!

  17. That damn Seagull! Well said. How can someone without kids write a letter like this? It just doesn’t make sense. They just don’t get ‘kids will be kids.’ Like you said, take a biscuit and then shove a shoe in their mouth! haha so funny btw. #triballove

  18. Haha love it. We try every trick in the book don’t we? At some point(s) of the day we are just going to give up trying and snap.

    The funny thing is that that same person who sees you telling your child to stop licking the window could have seen you 10 minutes earlier singing wheels on the bus and commenting on what a great parent you are. We’re neither great not bad parents 100% of the time. Just depends what snapshot those seagulls get at any given time of day.

  19. 2travellingtots says: Reply

    My son has just realised that he can negotiate with me…please stop hitting your brother, I’ll give you a biscuit if you stop hitting your brother….*pause while he thinks about it*…then answers…give me 3 biscuits first! WTF? here yo go judgy stranger borrow one for a day and then lets see what you have to say! x

  20. Perfect response. Totally agree that it’s usually the ones without kids who make stupid comments, or Facebook updates! #StayClassy

  21. That statement can only come from a non parent. My 10 y/o keeps saying to me ‘why are you shouting?’ well you didn’t register/acknowledge the first 10 times I asked nicely and you only notice when I shout! #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. Hehe – please send this in to the Metro!

  23. Here here!!

    #fortheloveofBLOG

  24. Absolutely! But also know there’s usually someone in the crowd thinking ‘poor dear! thank god it’s her turn and not mine….’ #Fortheloveofblog

  25. A very dignified comeback. Seagulls make a horrible noise in public and steal other people’s, terrible behaviour. Not that I’m judging… #fortheloveofBLOG

  26. I was glad to see you write this. I feel like people are judging me about this all the time. But sometimes you really are just so fed up. #TribalLove

  27. “Stop licking the bus window” – priceless! I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to say that! Wouldn’t it be good if people would just mind their own business and stop passing judgement! Thanks for joining us on #fortheloveofBLOG

  28. lilah turtle says: Reply

    Love this post. Recently took my 2.5 yr old away on holiday and he was unsettled a lot (change of routine etc) he had an enormous meltdown near a beach and ran away when I tried go pick him up. I navigated him into an enclosed area for safety and let him cry waiting for him to calm down. For about 5 mins a miserable old woman tutted and exchanged remarks with her companion about my poor parenting. Felt like asking her for her opinion on what I should be doing differently!

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