NSW mum Bridget Harris wrote this letter to the 7 strangers who made public parenting judgement to her all in one day.
Little did she know it would resonate with parents nationwide and go viral!
“Normally I have a good filtering system and I ignore the comments and eye-rolling,” she said. “But on Monday I was having ‘one of those days,’ like all mums have from time to time.
“Indi wasn’t at her best and it was a difficult day, made worse by strangers passing comment. “I think we have enough ‘mummy guilt’ about whether we are doing a good job, without other people judging us too.”
Mrs Harris was particularly annoyed when a man nudged her in the queue at the post office while her 3yo daughter was looking at her iPhone, to say that “all this technology at a young age can’t be good for them”.
By the time she got home, she felt utterly deflated. But, instead of pouring it all out to her hubby, she posted her letter on Facebook. The post has had more than 100 comments of support from mums who say they face the same thing on a daily basis.
“A lot of mums say they can relate to the letter and have thanked me for being the voice of so many mums who don’t want to speak up,” said Mrs Harris.
Bridget Harris’ Facebook letter
“Dear Nosy Onlooker, I saw you frown at me when I passed my child a dummy in the supermarket today. My child is three and yes, perhaps she is too old for a dummy. But she is a good girl, I am a good mother. She needed her dummy today, because it helps calm her down when she’s getting herself in a state. I am not going to deprive her of the comfort she may need in a moment of distress.”
“Dear Elderly Lady, who stood ridiculously close to make sure I heard you mutter under your breath ‘shouldn’t she be walking?’ as you saw me push my daughter in her stroller today. Yes, she should be walking. However, groceries have to get done in order for her to be fed. Her little legs don’t go the pace of mine at times of rushing around. She’s in her stroller because she’s tired. She had a restless night last night, was up at 5am and is now simply fed up with being in the supermarket and wants to go home to bed. I’m not going to make her walk when she is overtired and needing a rest.”
“Dear Sir, who nudged my arm in the post office as I handed my daughter my iPhone. You proceeded to tell me ‘all this technology at a young age can’t be good for them’. Little did you know, my three year old was swiping through our family photos on my phone. You see, it’s Monday, her daddy is at work, and she misses him today. Observant enough to notice an iPhone but ignorant enough to assume she’s been on it all day playing games. Or at least that’s what your tone implied. P.s. nudging a stranger is never a good way to open up a conversation. My three year old daughter has better social skills and manners than you do. Googling ‘manners’ on your iPhone might be worth a try.”
“Dear Rude Woman in the discount store, this week my child was a hassle to you because she was walking around ‘messing things up’. Last week she was a hassle because ‘my stroller is too big for your aisles’. My daughter simply picked up a greeting card and put it back in a different slot. She is three. I’m sure it’s not going to ruin the Feng Shui of your $2 discount store, riddled with boxes in the isles making it difficult for even the thinnest waif of a human being to somehow manage to walk down an aisle without tripping over the crap you have strewed across the floor. The only reason I continue to come back to your shop each week, is because you’re the only store that sells my glue gun sticks. Please don’t look at me as if I’d brought a whirlwind child into a Prada store!”
“Dear Supermarket Checkout Lady, if you tell me one more time ‘isn’t it time you had another one? She must be lonely without a sibling to play with’, not only am I going to pay you in 5c pieces at my next fortnightly grocery shop, but I am going to make sure my daughter gives you reason to call out ‘clean up in isle 1,2,3,4,5,6 and the frozen section’!”
“Dear Father at the park, yes my daughter stepped on your baby’s hand as she was climbing up the stairs to get to the slide. It was an accident. To which I made her apologise to your son. However, asking her to kiss his hand better and to ‘stay away from little children’ is not only inappropriate but utterly absurd. She’s a little child herself, she is three. She is tall, clumsy and at times doesn’t see tiny ones at her feet. Here’s a thought. Maybe look at the little girl apologising to your baby, and get some tips on how to manage it when your baby gets bigger and does the same thing by accident. I feel you of all people should know better.”
“Dear Multiple Random Strangers, who ask how old my daughter is and when I say three proceed to use phrases like ‘oh my gosh’, ‘she’s huge’, ‘is she really only 3?’ … No … No she’s not three … I thought I’d make that up for shits and giggles. My child is tall, lean, slender, tall for her age, lovely and long, tall like her daddy. And that’s that!”
“Dear horrified yuppie couple, looking at me with the fire of a thousand suns as I scoop my screaming toddler up into a football hold and march across the road. I have feet kicking me, hands hitting me, her crazy wild curly hair flying over my face and in my mouth. Carrying her across the road is like carrying a bucking horse across a tightrope while balancing a hot beverage on my head. But by all means, stare away. I couldn’t care whether you think it’s a terrible sight. While you’re gawking with your mouths open, my only goal is to get my child across the road safely without her running into oncoming traffic. She’s having what we call a ‘tantrum’. Very common considering her age. Back to your lovely quiet latte sipping late lunch then.”
And finally …
“Dear mother, strolling your baby along in the pram, walking towards me on the footpath. You saw my child was crying, whining and generally being difficult. You saw her pulling so hard at my shirt that my bra was exposed. You saw me struggle as I repeatedly asked her to hold my hand. You saw my hair wasn’t brushed, my cheeks were flushed, my stress levels had risen. You saw past all that, and gently and graciously smiled at me. A smile of understanding, a smile that said, ‘hey, you’re doing a good job’. A smile that knew just how tricky motherhood can be. A smile that said ‘it’s OK, mine does it too and it’s tough’. We only crossed paths for a brief moment, but somehow with just a simple smile, you managed to ease my mummy guilt for a few moments. And your smile today made me realise, that I’m just trying my best to be the best mum I know how. And I thank you for that kind smile. You made my day a little brighter today because of it.”