A little baby: public property?

March 19, 2008

Your newborn baby is not only yours and your husband’s child: she is public property. Most strangers, particularly middle aged woman, firmly believe that they have the right to give you their personal opinion on how you should dress up, dress down, feed and treat you child. They mostly think that you are doing a terrible job and that their way is the only way possible.  Does this sound familiar?
I had strangers tell me that my little baby was much too hot and five minutes later someone else would come along and be shocked about how lightly she was dressed.

I had a lady on the underground tell me that I needed to make my 3-month-old listen to music or she would be damaged for life (I had these images of my baby with headphones plugged into her ears listening to Gun’n Roses, rocking away on the tube). I had people tell me that my baby needed to drink water, absolutely should not drink water, was too pale, too small and too big. The list is endless.
The good news is that the older they get the less people seem to want to interfere, but it never ceases to amaze me that people do think they have the right to comment about something they absolutely know nothing about.
How did I react to it all? I smiled politely, as I was always tempted to see how far people would go. Maybe this is a bit masochistic but at least I got a couple of good stories out of it!



Comments (5)

March 19, 2008

It’s funny because I never really experienced this. I mean, yes– it’s true that everyone who has ever raised babies thinks that their way is the best way, and can offer all sorts of advice, but I never experienced old ladies coming up to me… I wonder if this is a French thing?

March 19, 2008

It happened to me lots in London too, hmmm maybe I just looked like I did not know what I was doing…?

March 19, 2008

No, I’m sure that is NOT the case!

March 19, 2008

Funny you should mention that. A friend of mine just had twins and was lamenting this behaviour… particularly when they suggest she’s in error when she dresses the little girls in anything other than pink.

March 19, 2008

I don’t remember people telling me what to do with my newborns, but I do remember a supermarket incident when I had just started to use the Phil&Ted in the double sitting mode. My baby was sitting on top, his big sister below, and a mad woman started screaming at me: ‘She can’t see, the poor child! She can’t see, the poor child! Child molestation!!”
Extremely embarrassing!

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