Please don’t judge my parenting

Hands up if you’ve ever had to deal with unwanted comments on your parenting. I’ve had my fair share and sometimes all I wanna say is, “Thank you very much but back off and $!?&?!” But it only happens in my head as I’m way too polite and really, I’m mum with good manners.

The perpetrators that I’ve had to deal with come from all walks of life. My first brush was with this old couple, likely in their 40s who has  probably forgotten what it is like to have a young child. They shared a table with us at the hawker and went all tsk tsk on me when they saw Sophie running after Alexis and nearly knocked into a lady carrying a tray with hot soup. Yes, Sophie was in the wrong. I apologised and she was scolded. But this couple continued to talk about how children who don’t listen will be headaches to their parents and how they will be out of control when they grow up. All within earshot as if they were lecturing me.

Me? I was stumped at how insensitive they were and hurried through my meals so I don’t have to hear another word.

Another time it happened was when a mum. No, actually more like a mum-to-be who was openly criticizing other parents to her friend on how she couldn’t understand why parents allow their kids to watch videos on iPads and play games on handphones and shot me with a dirty look when she saw Sophie playing with my handphone. She went on saying about how she will not allow her kids to do this and that in future and was even proud to add that she’s been lecturing her nieces and nephews when they misbehave.

Hello, lady I think you may have to eat your words when you ARE a mum in the near future. Actually I wanted to add on that karma may just come to bite you in the butt, so be careful with what you say now. But that’s not something you’ll catch me saying in someone else’s face. So I pretended not hear and silently wished her baby good luck.

And the most recent experience was with a table of aunties next to us. You must have seen this coming right? This time, Sophie was frustrated and was whining away because she couldn’t use the chopsticks. You would get it that chopsticks are pretty tricky for a three-year-old right? But not these ladies because they gave me the disapproving look, shook their heads and spoke among themselves saying how spoilt my daughter was because she couldn’t get what she wanted. I wanted to reply in Cantonese so that they would know that I understood EVERY SINGLE WORD they said.

But I held my breath and avoided any eye contact with them, in case I melted them with my fiery eyes. But after we left, I got mad that Sophie didn’t behaved, made me look like a lousy mummy and scolded her.

Then I felt stupid and guilty for allowing all these senseless comments from strangers who don’t even KNOW US to affect me. Thankfully Sophie was quick to forgive after a big hug from me.


Since then I’ve asked the question, what would you do if you were criticised on your parenting? When I recounted these stories at a family gathering, my aunt, told me that I should never allow people who don’t know me to judge me. So what’s what I intend to do the next time this happens because I know that somewhere out there, there’s bound to be someone who feels that they are the parents on earth regardless if they are parents or not.

So how would you react if you heard negative comments about your parenting? I’ll like to hear from you and I promise, there will be no judging 🙂

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Comments: 28

  1. Guillaume May 2, 2013 at 8:38 am Reply

    I don t like to be judged as well, but I do nothing. I don’t listen to this kind of people and I try not to avoid the topics in discussion which could slip to judgement 😉

    • Susan May 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply

      Wise choice! That’s why I usually hold my tongue too.

  2. qiu xian May 2, 2013 at 9:13 am Reply

    Maybe it will really help if you told them to shut the !@#$ up? LOL.. I know its super tempting hor. So far, the worst critics are from my parents. I know they mean well but I’ve also learnt to take it all with a pinch of salt and not let it get to me. And I totally get you on the mum-to-be ‘idealistic’ ways hahaha! Ya one day when her child is born, karma is surely going to bite her on her backside ;p

    • Susan May 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm Reply

      Exactly! As a mum we know better now than to get all judgemental on other people’s kids. And what’s more she hasn’t even given birth to her child. We’ll I’m sure she’ll be thrown some curve ball when she’s a mum.

  3. CE May 2, 2013 at 9:47 am Reply

    Recently attended a talk on EQ (Emotional Quotient) and that reminded me it’s impt to take charge of my emotion. Hence I guess I’ll just reflect on whether there’s anything that I could do better. If there’s none then I’ll tell myself to ignore them. (Take it that they’ve better nothing to do except to talk about others behind their back.)

    • Susan May 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm Reply

      Great advice there on taking control of our emotions. I’ll remember that and remind myself the next time I run into a similar situation.

  4. Maddie May 2, 2013 at 10:49 am Reply

    I’ve yet to encounter pp judging my parenting, save for the occasional glaring when Oliver is shouting in public and we are in an enclosed space like the bus or smthg. but there are unsolicited advices, definitely. I just ignore them lor. It’s useless to try and convince someone if they are not in the same pg as u.

    • Susan May 3, 2013 at 12:34 am Reply

      Nope, these folks are definitely on a different book altogether.

  5. Madeline May 2, 2013 at 10:55 am Reply

    I think I’ve ever been on both sides, been the accuser as well as the accused. I’ve had to drown in my own words countless of times and suffer my own karma so trust me when I say that they will too! I agree with u, don’t let the comments of strangers get to you esp since they know nothing of who u are and what u do 🙂

    • Susan May 3, 2013 at 12:35 am Reply

      Yes, I put it into practice when another auntie commented that Sophie was speaking too loudly st dinner. Haha. Growing a thicker skin by the days.

  6. Dominique Goh@Dominique's Desk May 2, 2013 at 11:25 am Reply

    I’ve been on both sides also..esp if the behaviour of their kid is really disturbing me and my kids privacy space. I don’t give too hoots lashing out on improper behaviour if my kid is in the wrong but gossiping about it is really improper and will tell my kid there and then in whatever language it is possible to speak in that judgement is for GOD only and best behaviour at all times is encouraged although it is not possible to be on best behaviour 100% of the time.. I do hope that you be able to do so the next time.

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  8. Irene Soh May 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm Reply

    I don’t think I would have kept quiet in any instance. I will ‘politely’ explain my stance. And they still deems gossiping openly is fine…. my not so nice Cantonese vocabulary will explain.

    • Susan May 3, 2013 at 12:37 am Reply

      Trust me man I even told my hubby what I wanted to reply in Cantonese, but he just asked you will meh?

  9. Adora May 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm Reply

    You’re so nice, Susan. Even write “please”! I’ve got a draft going about how mothering is the toughest job simply cow everyone seems to know a better way of doing it!

    If we’re out and I hear comments about how I parent, if I’m in a not so bad mood, I’ll ignore. Or say things to the kids like “come, let’s finish up our meal so we can go somewhere else where there are nicer people”. But if I’m close to exploding, I so don’t want to explode on the kids, so I’ll turn to ask the folks “Is there something you want to say to me?”

    Sure they can judge but let it be out of my earshot. If I can hear it, it’s my business.

    A taxi driver once commented cheekily about how “tough” it was to be a “taitai”. He said something like “so good hor? Everyday bring the kids out to play only hor? And spend husband’s money hor? Good life” so I just gave him a smile and said “oh did you also quit your job to take care of your kids?”

    • Susan May 3, 2013 at 12:42 am Reply

      I told my husband that if there and then I scolded Sophie or smacked my “spoilt brat”, I’m sure they’ll have something to say too. Why can’t they use more of their brains before passing such thoughtless and judgemental remarks?
      Good on you for dissing that uncle. Do what was his reply?

  10. Shermeen May 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm Reply

    I would have asked the couple at the same table nicely if they were referring to my kid. If yes… perhaps they should tell me in my face rather than keep it in their own conversation. After that… I would thank them and tell them… perhaps how i bring up my child is none of their business, and if looking hurts them… they can also perhaps not share the table with us.

    OK… i sound a little extreme… but I cannot stand it when people talk thinking no one heard them. Want to say then say our loud lor!

    I think as long as we know we have done what’s within our control to ensure our children are brought up in the way we want them to be brought up… then we should not let what people who don’t know us get to us. 🙂

  11. Zee May 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm Reply

    Fortunately, I have not encountered such rude as insensitive strangers who think they know better but if I ever do, I’ll probably just give them the death stare, and walk away just so I won’t explode in their face. If the advice comes from an acquaintance (which has happened) I usually just laugh it off and go “oh good for you but I cannot bring myself to …” Or like “oh you are so lucky. It’s just too bad for me that I have to wake up like 10 times a night” and hope that they get the sarcasm. For friends, I will probably take the effort to explain my stance (especially if they are not yet parents) because some things you really never do understand until you become a parent yourself.

  12. Lisacng May 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Maybe it’s that I’m in the US, but I’ve never heard any stranger talk about my parenting within earshot. It’d totally make me mad if I did though. People, including myself, need to put themselves in others’ shoes. Maybe the parent and/or kid is having a bad day. That isn’t how they are all the time. Mostly, I treat my son the same whether we are out or at home. I think if people will judge me, it’s because I’m being too harsh with him in public. As for the expectant mom who passed judgement on kids and electronic devices, she WILL eat her words. I passed judgement as a person wo kids. I let my friends/relatives who don’t have kids pass judgement on me too bc I know once they have kids, they’ll understand how hard it is and what battles you have. Great if you can restrict the use of electronic devices! But I bet you have other battles that I do not. Thanks for sharing your experiences and hope they don’t big you in the future. Just know that YOU are the best parent for Sophie bc you know her and yourself the very best.

  13. MummyBean May 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm Reply

    I’m very glad I’ve never been in that position to hear strangers criticise my parenting, or I’m not sure what I would do! I think I would probably feel so humiliated that I would have gotten mad at my kids for making me look like a bad parent, and then felt silly for behaving that way too. We need thicker skin!

  14. Winston Tay May 5, 2013 at 12:58 am Reply

    The ones who can’t parent, are the ones who criticise. The ones that can parent, are the ones who understand. And the ones that want to be good parents, are the ones who watch, listen, and learn.

    • Susan May 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm Reply

      Words of wisdom, Winston!

  15. SengkangBabies May 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm Reply

    hi Susan, we parents know our own child.

    Very often, I will remind my kids to behave if they are over active and disturbing others in public. Kids being Kids, we cannot expect them to conform to adult’s rules and regulations. In worse cases, I will bring my kids out to cool down (distraction).

    Lastly, whether you have one or multiple kids, people will not stop judging, no need to confront them, but having a ThickSkin helps 🙂

    cheers, Andy (SengkangBabies)

  16. Kwek May 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm Reply

    i dont think the strangers are in the ‘right stand’ to criticise your parenting cos ea child is different, perhaps we could jus use them as a ‘reference’ to remind ourself.

    PS..40s are not old la..(see yr opening sentence) 😛

  17. Evelyn June 4, 2013 at 11:49 pm Reply

    Just catching up on your old posts!

    If I hear something I don’t like, more often than not I’ll approach the person with a response. Not to prove a point, but to get the incident out of my head forever. But I’m not quick-witted so my replies can be lame. And there was this one time where I couldn’t come up with anything better to say than “What!?” at someone who glared and tsk-tsked at Layla (and later, at me) for getting in his way and ended up getting screamed at on an overhead bridge, LOL! Yeah I could’ve been much more polite, but the guy also had issues with foreigners–which he thought we were–and that compounded his rage.

  18. Michelle August 5, 2013 at 1:38 am Reply

    My sentiment exactly. I haven’t had any strangers berating me for my parenting yet, but I have this friend who is constantly saying things like, “Aiyah, this mother ah” for bringing a bottle without cap to a restaurant literally right opposite my house, “You are spoiling her” for picking up my baby when she started to whimper. My baby was just 6 months old for god’s sake! Anyway, one day I couldn’t stand it and said to her, ” Can you please stop criticizing me?” Since then she has toned down her remarks but that is just her, she can’t help it. The icing on the cake is that she isn’t even married and have any child of her own.

    As for strangers who questions me over why I don’t put socks/mittens on for my baby, and offer unsolicited ridiculous advice, I just stare and smile coldly at them. They usually stop straightaway. Think my ‘don’t mess with me’ look helps. Haha!

    • Susan August 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm Reply

      I find that most who are not parents themselves have the most comments about parenting… So it’s wiser to just turn a deaf ear to them and avoid getting angry. I remember I had so many aunties who gave me a worried look when I coveted my daughter when she was in the ergo carrier. I had to tell them, yes she can breathe and is not suffocating, thank you very much.

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