As we started the walk home it began to rain, so I popped an umbrella up over both of us. I smiled as a random male passer-by nodded and looked as if he was about to say something friendly. Instead, he cheerily stated that I wasn’t letting Leo ‘feel the rain’. In another very similar set of circumstances where I was again trying to protect Leo from the rain, this time in his pram, a random lady noted that he shouldn’t be ‘under so much plastic’.
I am not sure whether these two particular adults just like to watch toddlers getting soaked or if it is some sort of ‘nature thing’ I’m too suburban to know about. Either way, the judgement from these two random strangers who obviously knew better, was clear: I’m a bad mummy who was over-indulging my infant.
It has not just been silly things like rain covers that has solicited remarks from random people over the years. There was the fact I had an ‘only child’ for six years; wouldn’t he like a sibling? Then there was the fact our sons are six years apart; why the big gap? Those rather personal issues were often commented on leading to awkward discussions about fertility and miscarriage, which I really didn’t want to have with Bob from down the road or Mel the hairdressing apprentice.
I knew I was not alone when it came to having my parenting choices or non-choices questioned, so I decided to put it out there to my friends. After feeling affronted but amused by the random remarks in the rain, I asked my fellow Facebook mums to tell me some of the weird and ridiculous comments they had received from strangers.