by Kylie Krackenbacken
I had no idea how much stuff there was to worry about when you have a baby. Pre baby me also could never have contemplated the things that I would find exciting.
Like when my tiny human was super constipated last week (welcome to starting solids, you don’t know you’ve got a problem til you have a problem, just one more thing to worry about!) and on the way to the bath crapped on my partner’s hand. We cheered him on like we were at a football match, it was literally the most exciting thing that had happened all week.
Cue conversation about the things we would have been totally grossed out by pre baby.
Having a baby is a beautiful and rewarding experience that comes with a plethora of new things to worry about but the one thing I never anticipated was the thoughtless and sometimes just bloody mean crap that random strangers say to you when you have a baby.
I hasten to add that this uninvited parenting advice from strangers is NEVER offered to my wonderful partner. Apparently men don’t warrant random advice because it is just so damned great that they are ‘babysitting’ their kids. Can you babysit your own kids rather than parent them?! Grrrrr, OK, I’m distracting myself from the list.
So at nearly 7 months in, here are just some examples of random stuff that strangers say. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list.
‘Get off the footpath with your bloody pram.’
Oh, OK, sure, the pram has wheels so it must be exactly like a car, silly me. I had no idea my footpath permit had been revoked when I had a baby and put it in a pram.
‘I don’t know why you people take your prams into the supermarket.’
I explained (God knows why I bothered, I think I was surprised) that sometimes us people with the prams need things at the supermarket too and as I’m the only caregiver during the day, where I go, he goes. Nice lady follows up with:
‘Well my dog doesn’t like being left by himself at home either.’
Yeah, OK lady, it’s just like that but I’m sure when I do it, it’s illegal. Let’s just hope that I see her in the supermarket with my pram every freaking day and it annoys the crap out of her. In fact, I’m almost prepared to just wait in the supermarket all day for her to show up just to ruin her day but alas, I have an actual life to lead.
‘Oh poor little thing, he looks so unhappy!’
This was outside the council buildings after an appointment with my MCHN. My usually beautiful, happy baby boy was a total horror show, screaming so loud that his face looked like a big, fat, red tomato.
Yeah, no kidding random lady #1 & #2 with the disapproving looks on their faces, you’re right, I hadn’t noticed, he does seem unhappy doesn’t he?
This is as I’m feeling close to tears trying to juggle him, a pram, a nappy bag, a bottle, blazing summer heat and work out what was wrong with my poor little man.
‘Did you know it’s a 40 plus degree day and you are out with your baby in a black pram?’
Wow, I did think it was kind of hot out here, I just thought I’d started menopause or something!
Yes, I knew about the heat thing but I have a MCHN appointment that I can’t reschedule because I need to ensure my baby is putting on enough weight and made the risk benefit analysis that he would survive the 8 minute walk to the station and from the station to the appointment.
‘He is too young for that, he is going to suffocate in there,’
says nice old lady in the chemist as I’m trying to get Jack used to the super expensive sling that I’d bought. The sling by the way had the infant insert in there and was entirely age and size appropriate.
‘When are you having another one?’
This was barely a month in, one of the most hated question for new mothers. Especially when we are still recovering from the birth of this one and existing purely on memories of sleep. When I said that this beautiful baby was it, I was told ‘oh don’t do that to him! That’s just cruel.’ Wha…? Really? How is that cruel? Having two loving, doting parents is cruel?
‘You deliberately elbowed me in the breast,’
from hysterical screaming lady in the fancy clothes on the tram the first time I took Jack on public transport. Who, rather than waiting for everyone to get off the tram, waded her way through disembarking passengers and walked her tit into my elbow.
What was I doing? Just standing protectively over the pram protecting bubs from the crush of humanity. She continued to hurl abuse at me for the next 5 minutes. I mean hey, it’s not like I was stressed taking my new baby into work on 2 forms of off peak public transport because I don’t have a car. Yell away.
So what’s the advice?
As I’ve said before, you know advice is crap, especially mine but here goes: can we just all be a little nicer to each other please and not fill the universe with so much judgement and pettiness?
It’s bloody hard having a baby some days and it would be really nice if people had nothing nice to say that they just don’t say anything (thanks Mum). Or, to quote a good friend of mine, ‘…for every crazy miserable person out there, there’s 1000 who quietly admire that you even left the house this morning and a dozen or two who will tell you as much.’
Let’s try to be the dozen or two that have something nice to say eh?!
Let’s start a ‘say something nice’ campaign. Comment below and tell us: what’s the NICEST thing a random stranger has said to you lately?
Read more by Kylie:
Linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF:-)