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Why Do People Think It Is Ok To Judge My Parenting?

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Every second Saturday morning, Boss (my toddler) and I go to our local grocery store to do our weekly shop. It’s a little outing that generally runs quite smoothly these days, Boss likes to talk to anyone and everyone who passes him by.

Sometimes I get stopped and some of you lovely readers give me feedback on this column (insert massive head swell) and then marvel at Oscar’s hair. That hair. It just gets so much attention. That and his Michelin Arms. Little tank he is. Oscar twinkles at them, big beaming smiles and then demands they sing ‘Old Mc Donald’ with him, actions included.

When we roll into the toy aisle, I always allow Boss to pick one matchbox car (although I don’t know why, he pockets are already stuffed full of them and one gripped in each hand). He was playing with his Mc Queen car as I was loading the items at the checkout. I was so intent on loading my items in order, you know cold goods together ect that I didn’t hear Boss “Mum, please? I dropped it’ ‘Mum, Mc Queen’ he asked me a few times to pick up his car that he had dropped on the ground. I just didn’t register and kept loading items.

So he got cranky.

‘MUMMMMMMMMMM! I dropped it’!!!! ‘MUMMMM, MQ QUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNN’!! The volume went up, not dramatically, but enough for me to notice. As I turned to acknowledge his request, I heard the older couple behind me loudly say ‘No wonder young people today are out of control’! ‘No Manners at ALL‘! Look at the temper on him’!

Now let me tell you something, apart from the rage I felt flood my body — and apart from the unwise decision on their part, to make these comments while I was holding a large tin of crushed tomatoes in one hand — and a half of celery bunch in the other. My first reaction was to give them a good belting with each of these items. Then I saw they were probably in their early 70’s. This just made me more disgusted. So giving them both a smack with my large celery bunch was clearly out of the question. Everyone in the lineup was listening, and as much as I would like to say I ignored it and went about my business, I didn’t. They did visibly recoil from the look on my face (although that may have just been the eye bags and the dodgy blow dry I had attempted that morning). I spoke to them directly and told them that I had been brought up to be respectful and not rude, I also advised, I would never try and publicly shame a parent and their 2 year old child at a checkout, and suggested that possibly, they were the ones who had no manners. I carefully placed my tinned tomatoes and celery on the conveyer belt and continued to load my items. I was very angry. They didn’t say a word. Before I had Oscar I would have retaliated quite strongly, but he was watching me. That alone made me chose my reaction and words carefully.

As we were leaving, Boss waved at them with both his hands, smiled and sweetly called out ‘Bye Bye’! They avoided eye contact with him, and started loading their own items. Shame on them.

No rebuttal of mine could ever match that simple gesture Boss gave them. Bless his little orange head. He teaches me something new every day.

Have you ever had an encounter like this? What did you do?

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Jess Steel
Jess Steel
Jess is a FIFO wife, respected columnist, full time worker and mother to one little cutie Oscar. Jess loves wine, cooking, dirty weekends away, reading, watching the Kardashians , snow cones and long walks on the beach. Jess loves fashion ( We can guarantee if its ‘on trend’ though she wont wear it). Jess is also prone to changing her hair colour. Want to see more of Jess? Check out her witty writing at and cook something amazing from her other site