Saturday, 28 January 2012

When Other Mothers Stare

photo by Sarah Tucker

I wrote a post last week about feeling like a useless mother and this is along a similar vein although it's much less self depreciating and more advice seeking. I took JC to soft play today with his little friend and one of my mummy friends. We've been before and had a good experience but this time was very different.

JC is getting over a cold and still has a cough and a runny nose but otherwise is fine and well. Every time he coughed it was as if all the other parents (mostly mothers) expected men in has-mat suits to burst in door and set up an isolation chamber around him so he couldn't infect their little darlings. I mean seriously, what toddler isn't hanging with something at this time of year? It's not like he had pox or slapped cheek or even the dreaded D&V.

Then he was trying to chase the older children and attempting to sneak his way into the big kids play area. Every time I tried to redirect him or pick him up and remove him he took the mother of all tantrums. He is only 17 months but his tantrums at the moment can rival any 2/3 year old's. He is into the slapping of faces when he is stropping and I quiet often bare the brunt of a slap to the face followed by screaming. The hurt and annoyance of this happening at all is only intensified by 'The Stare'.

You know the one, where you feel like everyone in the room/supermarket/bus etc has turned to look at you with utter disapproval as if to say 'discipline your child'.

So please tell me, how should I be disciplining my 17 month old? He's too wee to understand timeouts and naughty steps. I'm not really into smacking, it didn't do me any harm right enough but I just don't feel right about. So please help me out with this, what is it they are expecting from me?

and how should I react to 'The Stare' my impulsive reaction is to tell them to 4 star off but I guess the middle class mummy brigade (or as I like to call them, The Mummy Mafia) will judge me even more.

I suppose I could stick with my Gran's advice 'nobody can make you feel inferior unless you let them'. Great pearl of wisdom there, just harder to put it into practice!

Any advice? Any similar 'Stare' stories? Please Share!

*Sarah Tucker wrote an interesting article about The Mummy Mafia


  1. This ends me into instant, full on GRRRR mode (and  yes, I sound EXACTLY like Marg Simpson;).

    Every child has a runny nose from time to time.  Every child has the odd tantrum.

    How DARE they sit there being smug!!!

    Of course yur Gran is right but as we spend most of out time feelig like we could do beter as parents anyway then this kind of behaviour from others just re-enfroces it.

    So, advice on how to deal with it?

    Haha, well my first instinct is to tell you to go and slap the smugness off their faces (wouldn't that be hugely satisfying?;).

    There really is nothing much you can do other than ignore it knowing that next time it will almost certainly be their turn.

    Chin up though, you have a perfectly normal little boy who is adorable and has the odd off day. xx

  2. Aw hun :( it's horrible when you feel like that isn't it. The best thing you can do is ignore it - I know this isn't what you want to hear though. Unfortunately there is no miracle cure from the mummy mafia brigade but you know what. most of them probably sympathise with you deep down. The staring is just something that is form from some sort of clique they are in maybe. All kids have tantrums at some point and any mummy who says otherwise would be lying through her teeth.

    I hope this experience doesn't put you off going to the play centre again.


  3. Hi, Aaron, when he is frustrated, gives me a good firm slap in the face, and it's not on the cheek like an adult would do, it's square in the face.  Now, what works from an adult point of view is holding his arms to his sides and saying no, no, no again and again, but within a few days he's done it again.  My unofficial favourite is ME pretending to cry - that gets him! really really does, and then he takes ages before he does it again. He doesn't seem to link that it HURTS until I cry.  A couple of times I haven't had to try that hard.
    Anyway as you know, I am not a fan of play areas for these reasons, yet we were with thousands of mums at Butlins and got none of this.
    Some Mums are horrid and a stare IS a stare! But for some, inside they are probably thinking I am glad my Johnny is not doing that OR I am glad he has grown out of THAT phase. A stare doesn't always mean a judgement is being made - sometimes it is just pure nosiness.
    Anyway, love ya
    Liska xxx


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