There’s nothing more irritating than strangers thinking that they’re experts on the needs or general wellbeing of your child. It’s like they think that because they’ve had a baby at some point they must be the people best suited to pass judgement and obviously hold some sort of expertise. Having a baby doesn’t automatically give you a PhD in All Things Baby.
I could have called this post “How to make someone feel like a shit mum” because frankly, that’s exactly how I feel right now. World’s worst mum, folks! Catch her right here! No applause, just rotten tomatoes, thanks!
I’ve probably mentioned that Anakin hasn’t been well for a bit. He still has a cold. Or he has what I, Doctor Mum, think is a cold combined with more teething. Anakin’s had a cold before. It comes with a very barky cough. He sounds like a seal. Last time we freaked out and rushed him to the doctor to make sure he wasn’t dying of whatever sort of disease that makes a baby bark. He was fine, it was just a cold. No need to worry. So, when the young jedi fell sick again and developed the same barky cough I monitored his condition closely, but didn’t freak out. Until today.
Today at the supermarket my little snot ball is smiling away at the checkout lady who’s busy telling me about her own kid. As you do, I suppose. All of a sudden he starts barking like something out of a zoo in a coughing fit. I watch him to make sure he’s ok. His little face goes a bit red as he coughs, but immediately breaks out in a huge smile once he’s done. He hasn’t had a fever and he’s still his excellent young self. The checkout lady looks at him then guns me down with eyes raging with blame. “That sounds like croup! My son had croup and he ended up in hospital! Have you had him checked out? He needs to see a doctor!” Wow, could you possibly have said that any louder, lady? I’m not sure the entire supermarket heard you. I can feel eyes in the back of my head staring at me, waiting for my answer. “Uhm.. no, I haven’t taken him to a doctor, but I might take him tomorrow. I’m fairly sure he’s fine. He’s just got a cold.” “A cold? Sounds like croup to me! They sounds like that when they have croup. Take him to a doctor! He could be very ill!”
I mumble something in return, grab my groceries and get the hell out of there before someone hands me a tiara and a “World’s worst mum” ribbon. Thanks, Doctor Checkout lady, for that thorough examination of my son’s health and my mothering abilities. There’s probably a thousand things you could have said to express your (unwanted) concern that wouldn’t have left me feeling like the biggest shit around. There’s nothing I care more about than the welfare of my own kid, and now, thanks to you, I am freaking out. I have googled croup and figured out that yes, there might be the slight chance that my kid has what they call mild croup. Maybe. It still might also just be a cold.
It’s not like I haven’t considered taking him to a doctor sooner, but I’m just not one of those mums who screams bloody murder every time my son coughs. I monitor, I assess, I keep a bloody close eye on him. As does his pappa. But I am taking him tomorrow. Not just because the checkout lady made me paranoid and feeling like the world’s worst mum, but because he’s been sick a bit on and off for two weeks and we’d rather be safe than sorry going in to the weekend.
For the record, I am a goddamn excellent mum. Even I know that. Most of the time.