My last ‘thoughts’ post about parenting style was about a bad parent I witnessed (in my opinion, you may not agree) and I think the person in today’s post is almost as bad but for different reasons. I’m started writing this on a train home from London. I’m sat on a fold-down seat with Athena in her buggy opposite me (near to the loo, sadly as it’s the only place you can fit a buggy that isn’t in the doors) and opposite us is are two more families. One with twins (just got back from holiday abroad) & another family with a 14 month old son and I picked all this up without actually chatting to them, I am a mega eavesdropper it seems.
This 14 month old is currently being fed poached salmon by his mother, it is stinking the whole carriage out. Now I’ve not actually spoken to this lady but she is the sort of parent I dislike and the reason I stopped going to my local NCT coffee mornings. She is narrating everything her son is doing to nobody in particular (nobody is paying attention, including her husband or her son and I only am surreptitiously paying attention so that I can write this post) She is also doing this narration in a high pitched fake babyish voice.
Here are some gems from Mrs Pushy Parent:
‘Oh my word have you pulled your shoe off…. naughty naughty. Your mummy paid nearly sixty pounds for these…’
(Kid makes a whingey noise) Oh what does that mean …. what are you saying? Are you saying ‘yes mummy you were right I should have had that nap earlier’ *chortles to herself… looks at husband in an ‘i told you so’ sort of way… he rolls his eye, she doesn’t notice*
‘Lets read a book shall we…. (baby is paying no attention) what’s this? (Points to about a million things on the page) what’s this? What about that? is it a duck? D U C K – DUCK!!! can you say DUCK? What noise to DUCKS MAKE? Oh you really must pay attention how will you ever learn…’ Sadly she sounded genuinely distressed that he seemed more interested in playing with the thing you attach a bike to than the book.
‘Lets have a banana… a BA NA NA…. can you say BANANAAAAAAAA. Not nana….. banana!!!!!’
She also commented on what the twins belonging to the other family were doing too, but always bringing it back to her boy. ‘Oh, aren’t you clever, you can say “more”! My little boy has said that once or twice’ and ‘oh what’s that you’re drinking, juice in a carton, that must taste wonderful, we’re not allowed sugary drinks are we little schnuckums…” Yes yes, we get it, you do parenting by the book, to the letter even and want everyone to know!
I am so glad she got off a few stops before me, I think the other couple with the twins were also pretty pleased because I genuinely get the impression she was putting on this big display of ‘look what a wonderful parent I am’ on on purpose. I wonder if she would have acted the same if they were sat in a carriage on their own, or with teenagers? Was it because she was with other parents that she felt the need to assert her super-parenting prowess over us? Who knows… I felt sorry for the other parents, they had clearly been on their feet for a long time and dealt with twins who were no more than two and a half I reckon on a flight home, along with a double buggy, 2 large rucksacks and a suitcase, they didn’t need someone to insinuate they were giving their kids the ‘wrong’ thing to drink, they probably felt like a stiff drink themselves!
Whilst all this was happening I was happily shovelling chocolate flavoured rice cakes into my baby and using her stuffed toy as a pillow whilst taking stupid photos. She seemed perfectly content, much more so than pushy-mums baby did anyway! Sometimes it is okay to not be constantly trying to educate your baby, to just let them BE for a little while. It is also not okay to insinuate that other parents are doing it wrong, there is no wrong or right, there is just the way you do it. Did I feel guilty I wasn’t shovelling healthy food into my baby and teaching her how to say various fruits? No, she was happy and I was happy.
It was a similar situation at the NCT coffee mornings that I ditched too: ‘has she rolled over yet?’, ‘oh, not drinking from a spout yet’ and ‘my little darling sleeps 12 hours a night, just so hard to for me to not BE with him for that long…’ and various other boasty snippets… funnily enough I’ve never ever encountered a pushy show off Dad yet but perhaps they exist to?
Have you ever experienced a parent like this? How do you deal with it? Or perhaps you are a ‘show off mum’?