A lot of my baby food goes to a particular someone who loves to babble. She talks all the time, and if her mom gave her daughter undivided attention every time a random string of syllables erupted forth, nothing would get done in their life. To the random stranger in the store who had the audacity to tell my friend, “You know, your baby’s trying to talk to you.”, please refrain from doing this to any other parents in the future. Using a great teaching tool from my kids’ school counselor, I’m going to explain why this restraint is important.
T- is it true?
H-is it helpful?
I- is it inspiring?
N-is it necessary?
K-is it kind?
T—- You may think her baby is trying to talk to her specifically, but she could have also been spouting sounds and noises because babies do this at 10 months old. Not only is this non-verbal chatter developmentally appropriate, it is also important for parents to model for babies that patience is necessary. Sometimes, what a parent is doing is important and children need to wait. You may think the mother wasn’t engaging with her baby, but were you stalking her throughout her grocery trip? Do you know that she was just talking to her baby moments before you decided to make an assumption instead of verifying your information?
H—- When you were a mother, would being scolded, humiliated and embarrassed in a store be helpful to you?
I—– Like the H in “helpful”, did you inspire this other human or did you shame her? Would you have wanted this when you were juggling a baby and life and work and the holidays?
N—- Was this baby in danger? Was she choking? Was she about to fall out of her carseat? Were her lips turning blue? Did you see the mother physically harm her child? Did she break out in purple polka dots and projectile vomit black tar? Was anything actually truly wrong that would deem it legitimately necessary to intervene? Like the H and the I, would you have thought it “necessary” to admonish yourself if it were you?
K—- Is there anything remotely kind about what you did? No.
New moms have a lot happening in their lives and it’s extremely emotionally challenging. It’s a ridiculously hard time with an equally ridiculously limited amount of support. You may make yourself feel better for having “helped” this mom, but you did nothing of the sort. You left her alone in a grocery aisle, doubting herself and her capacity to raise her child. If anyone did anything wrong, it was you.
2 thoughts on “THINK before you scold a mom.”
Thank you for speaking up for your friend. I liked the THINK advice. Parenting can be so very challenging at any age. How something looks on the outside may be completely different from the reality of what’s going on inside. We’re too ready to judge without a clue.
Very challenging indeed. It is also one area in life I’ve found that people tend to believe they have a right to offer unsolicited advice. Once you have a kid, it’s as if everyone thinks they should tell you what you’re doing wrong. Needless to say, it’s discouraging.