Mum hits back at judgy strangers on Facebook
Bridget Harris posted a 1000-word open letter on Facebook to all the people who'd commented on her parenting in just one day – and signed it 'Mrs Mind-your-own-business'
A mum from Australia has got so fed up with strangers making judgy comments on her parenting she's written an open letter to them on Facebook.
In it, she's detailed all the people who criticised her in just one day, from the 'Nosy Onlooker' who frowned at her 3-year-old having a dummy to the 'Horrified Yuppie Couple' who stood 'gawking with mouths open' while she struggled to deal with her toddler's tantrum.
"Normally I have a good filtering system and I ignore the comments and eye-rolling," Bridget Harris, 27, from Sydney, told The Adelaide Advertiser. "But on Monday I was having one of those days, like all mums have from time to time. My 3-year-old daughter Indi wasn’t at her best and it was a difficult day, made worse by strangers passing comment."
So, when she got home, Bridget wrote a letter, addressing in turn each of the people who had made a comment about her parenting, and posted it on Facebook, signing it off 'Mrs Mind-your-own-business'.
She didn't hold back about how cross and upset their thoughtless comments had made her feel, even mock-threatening 'The Supermarket Checkout Lady' with "making sure my daughter gives you reason to call out 'Clean up in isle 1,2,3,4,5,6!'
But at the end, she reserves a paragraph of praise for one mum who crossed her path and gave her a warm, supportive, been-there-worn-the-toddler-tantrum-T-shirt smile. "Your smile today made me realise that I’m just trying my best to be the best mum I know how," wrote Bridget. "And I thank you for that."
Here's her letter in full:
Dear Nosy Onlooker, I saw you frown at me when I passed my child a dummy in the supermarket today. My child is 3 and, yes, perhaps she is too old for a dummy. But she is a good girl, I am a good mother. She needed her dummy today because it helps calm her down when she’s getting herself in a state. I am not going to deprive her of the comfort she may need in a moment of distress.
Dear Elderly Lady, who stood ridiculously close to make sure I heard you mutter under your breath, ‘Shouldn’t she be walking?’ as you saw me push my daughter in her stroller today. Yes, she should be walking. However, groceries have to get done in order for her to be fed. Her little legs don’t go the pace of mine at times of rushing around. She’s in her stroller because she’s tired. She had a restless night last night, was up at 5am and is now simply fed up with being in the supermarket and wants to go home to bed. I’m not going to make her walk when she is overtired and needing a rest.
Dear Sir Who Nudged my Arm in the Post Office as I handed my daughter my iPhone. You proceeded to tell me, ‘All this technology at a young age can’t be good for them’. Little did you know, my 3 year old was swiping through our family photos on my phone. You see, it’s Monday, her daddy is at work, and she misses him today. Observant enough to notice an iPhone but ignorant enough to assume she’s been on it all day playing games. Or at least that’s what your tone implied. PS: nudging a stranger is never a good way to open up a conversation. My 3 year old daughter has better social skills and manners than you do. Googling ‘manners’ on your iPhone might be worth a try.
Dear Rude Woman in the discount store, this week my child was a hassle to you because she was walking around ‘messing things up’. Last week, she was a hassle because my stroller is 'too big for the aisles’. My daughter simply picked up a greeting card and put it back in a different slot. She is 3. I’m sure it’s not going to ruin the Feng Shui of your $2 discount store, riddled with boxes in the aisles making it difficult for even the thinnest waif of a human being to somehow manage to walk down an aisle without tripping over the crap you have strewed across the floor. The only reason I continue to come back to your shop each week is because you’re the only store that sells my glue gun sticks. Please don’t look at me as if I’d brought a whirlwind child into a Prada store!
Dear Supermarket Checkout Lady, if you tell me one more time, ‘Isn’t it time you had another one? She must be lonely without a sibling to play with’, not only am I going to pay you in 5 cent pieces at my next fortnightly grocery shop but I am going to make sure my daughter gives you reason to call out ‘Clean up in isle 1,2,3,4,5,6 and the frozen section’!
Dear Father at the Park, yes my daughter stepped on your baby’s hand as she was climbing up the stairs to get to the slide. It was an accident. For which I made her apologise to your son. However, asking her to kiss his hand better and to ‘stay away from little children’ is not only inappropriate but utterly absurd. She’s a little child herself. She is 3. She is tall, clumsy and at times doesn’t see tiny ones at her feet. Here’s a thought: maybe look at the little girl apologising to your baby, and get some tips on how to manage it when your baby gets bigger and does the same thing by accident. I feel you of all people should know better.
Dear Multiple Random Strangers, who ask how old my daughter is and when I say 3 proceed to use phrases like, ‘Oh my gosh’, ‘She’s huge’, ‘Is she really only 3?’ ... No ... No she’s not 3 ... I thought I’d make that up for giggles. My child is tall, lean, slender, tall for her age, lovely and long, tall like her daddy. And that’s that!
Dear Horrified Yuppie Couple, looking at me with the fire of a 1000 suns as I scoop my screaming toddler up into a football hold and march across the road. I have feet kicking me, hands hitting me, her crazy wild curly hair flying over my face and in my mouth. Carrying her across the road is like carrying a bucking horse across a tightrope while balancing a hot beverage on my head. But by all means, stare away. I couldn’t care whether you think it’s a terrible sight. While you’re gawking with your mouth open, my only goal is to get my child across the road safely without her running into oncoming traffic. She’s having what we call a ‘tantrum’. Very common considering her age. Back to your lovely quiet latte sipping late lunch then. And finally ...
Dear Mother Strolling Your Baby Along in the Pram, walking towards me on the footpath. You saw my child was crying, whining and generally being difficult. You saw her pulling so hard at my shirt that my bra was exposed. You saw me struggle as I repeatedly asked her to hold my hand. You saw my hair wasn’t brushed, my cheeks were flushed, my stress levels had risen. You saw past all that, and gently and graciously smiled at me. A smile of understanding, a smile that said, ‘Hey, you’re doing a good job’. A smile that knew just how tricky motherhood can be. A smile that said, ‘It’s OK, mine does it too and it’s tough’. We only crossed paths for a brief moment, but somehow with just a simple smile, you managed to ease my mummy guilt for a few moments. And your smile today made me realise that I’m just trying my best to be the best mum I know how. And I thank you for that kind smile. You made my day a little brighter today because of it.
What do you think? Does Bridget's letter strike any chords with you? Has a random stranger in the street ever made judgy comments to you about your parenting? And, if so, how did that make you feel? Do please share your thought with us in the comments box below.
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