Thoughts: Show-off Mums and why they annoy me

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My last ‘thoughts’ post about parenting style was about a bad parent I witnessed (in my opinion, you may not agree) and I think the person in today’s post is almost as bad but for different reasons. I’m started writing this on a train home from London.  I’m sat on a fold-down seat with Athena in her buggy opposite me (near to the loo, sadly as it’s the only place you can fit a buggy that isn’t in the doors) and opposite us is are two more families.  One with twins (just got back from holiday abroad) & another family with a 14 month old son and I picked all this up without actually chatting to them, I am a mega eavesdropper it seems.

This 14 month old is currently being fed poached salmon by his mother, it is stinking the whole carriage out. Now I’ve not actually spoken to this lady but she is the sort of parent I dislike and the reason I stopped going to my local NCT coffee mornings. She is narrating everything her son is doing to nobody in particular (nobody is paying attention, including her husband or her son and I only am surreptitiously paying attention so that I can write this post) She is also doing this narration in a high pitched fake babyish voice.

Here are some gems from Mrs Pushy Parent:

‘Oh my word have you pulled your shoe off…. naughty naughty. Your mummy paid nearly sixty pounds for these…’

(Kid makes a whingey noise) Oh what does that mean …. what are you saying? Are you saying ‘yes mummy you were right I should have had that nap earlier’ *chortles to herself… looks at husband in an ‘i told you so’ sort of way… he rolls his eye, she doesn’t notice*

‘Lets read a book shall we…. (baby is paying no attention) what’s this?  (Points to about a million things on the page) what’s this? What about that? is it a duck? D U C K – DUCK!!! can you say DUCK?  What noise to DUCKS MAKE? Oh you really must pay attention how will you ever learn…’ Sadly she sounded genuinely distressed that he seemed more interested in playing with the thing you attach a bike to than the book.

‘Lets have a banana… a BA NA NA…. can you say BANANAAAAAAAA. Not nana….. banana!!!!!’

She also commented on what the twins belonging to the other family were doing too, but always bringing it back to her boy. ‘Oh, aren’t you clever, you can say “more”! My little boy has said that once or twice’ and ‘oh what’s that you’re drinking, juice in a carton, that must taste wonderful, we’re not allowed sugary drinks are we little schnuckums…” Yes yes, we get it, you do parenting by the book, to the letter even and want everyone to know!

I am so glad she got off a few stops before me, I think the other couple with the twins were also pretty pleased because I genuinely get the impression she was putting on this big display of ‘look what a wonderful parent I am’ on on purpose. I wonder if she would have acted the same if they were sat in a carriage on their own, or with teenagers? Was it because she was with other parents that she felt the need to assert her super-parenting prowess over us? Who knows… I felt sorry for the other parents, they had clearly been on their feet for a long time and dealt with twins who were no more than two and a half I reckon on a flight home, along with a double buggy, 2 large rucksacks and a suitcase, they didn’t need someone to insinuate they were giving their kids the ‘wrong’ thing to drink, they probably felt like a stiff drink themselves!

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Whilst all this was happening I was happily shovelling chocolate flavoured rice cakes into my baby and using her stuffed toy as a pillow whilst taking stupid photos. She seemed perfectly content, much more so than pushy-mums baby did anyway! Sometimes it is okay to not be constantly trying to educate your baby, to just let them BE for a little while. It is also not okay to insinuate that other parents are doing it wrong, there is no wrong or right, there is just the way you do it. Did I feel guilty I wasn’t shovelling healthy food into my baby and teaching her how to say various fruits? No, she was happy and I was happy.

It was a similar situation at the NCT coffee mornings that I ditched too: ‘has she rolled over yet?’, ‘oh, not drinking from a spout yet’ and ‘my little darling sleeps 12 hours a night, just so hard to for me to not BE with him for that long…’ and various other boasty snippets… funnily enough I’ve never ever encountered a pushy show off Dad yet but perhaps they exist to?

Have you ever experienced a parent like this? How do you deal with it? Or perhaps you are a ‘show off mum’?

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25 Comments

  1. 27th June 2014 / 11:29 am

    Ha ha how did you not punch her?? I hate people like that you should have said to Athena- yes I know that silly lady never shuts up, yes I want to hit her over the head with the chocolate rice cake too 😉 if only we had the guts.
    Great post this competing never ends 🙁

  2. 27th June 2014 / 2:08 pm

    You are actually hilarious! I hate that kind of parent too but you explain it so much better than me. I bet you spent the whole train journey writing that post in your head! x

  3. 27th June 2014 / 3:18 pm

    When I was little (so my mum has told me) there was a competition “started” by someone my Mum knew as me and this lady’s child were close together in age. I didn’t really talk, not to the point of worrying if I’d ever speak but not verbal diarrhoea like some children. When my brother arrived that it was it I then went to the verbal diarrhoea extreme. So there was competition about who knew the most words and who crawled and then who walked first and things like that.

    Salmon at 14 months??! I think I lived on jam sandwiches. I’m sure I ate other things but salmon really?

    • laurenadmin
      28th June 2014 / 11:18 am

      I hate how competitive parenting can be. I am a wholly non competitive person (so much so that people hate playing games with me because I just don’t care if I win) and i’m glad this hasn’t changed with parenting! Jam over salmon anyday!

  4. Irene
    27th June 2014 / 11:01 pm

    I work with pushy show off daddy!!! I HATE HIM! I swear he’s actually dishing out lectures why dummies are bad, why playpens are bad… Just want to throttle him half the time.
    On the other hand, I feel so lucky I am bilingual – before sounding 100% show off mummy let me elaborate on that: it is INCREDIBLY useful in situations like what you’ve just described to be able to say to your kid ‘omg how much of an idiot is that woman/ man’ and then you both lol. Apparently I used to do that with my mum when I was about 2 years old. Totally worth it x

    • laurenadmin
      28th June 2014 / 11:17 am

      Hurrah! A pushy dad exists, (but sorry you have to work with one!) maybe I should change the title of my post 🙂
      I would LOVE to be able to bring Athena up as bilingual but sadly I know a bit of german and it definitely doesn’t extend to gossiping about other people!

  5. Irene
    27th June 2014 / 11:03 pm

    My thoughts exactly. Sounds a lot like she needs reassurance about everything. Also people who are that obsessive about their kids must have very little else going on in their lives. Sad if you think about it x

  6. 28th June 2014 / 7:08 am

    I can completely relate to this. Pushy, self righteous boasting mums really annoy but I think when it’s done, it’s due to their own insecurities about their parenting. It’s almost as if they have to tell you every minute detail of their parenting to get verification from their peers.

    If only everyone could all just be confident in their parenting choices and not judge others for theirs to makes themselves feel better x

    • laurenadmin
      28th June 2014 / 11:15 am

      Yep, I think she was trying to prove a point, but actually she had no need to, none of us would have judged her for just sitting down and relaxing at all!

  7. Laura
    28th June 2014 / 9:35 am

    ERgh, how damn infuriating! I love your parenting post, they are very amusing. You are one of the world’s greatest eavesdroppers / surreptitious photographers, and your skills must be acknowledged!! x

  8. laurenadmin
    28th June 2014 / 11:21 am

    You have probably hit the nail on the head actually. Also, she was an older mum too (i’m no spring chicken at 30 I am aware) but I got the impression this was her first child and I would estimate her to be in her early 40’s, and it did cross my mind that maybe this had some effect on how she was acting, but then I felt even MORE judgmental than I had been by writing the post and didn’t want to add it in! It’s just in my experience of mummyhood it tends to be the older first time mums (30 and up ish…) that are more competitive/judgy…Thank you for your comment, I do need to be a bit more compassionate sometimes!

    • Shanna
      3rd September 2014 / 9:54 pm

      I completely agree with your reply! It really is the “older-mums” that are more competitive when it comes to showing off their child to the world. I mean, we get it. Why the narration and step by step tutorial on peeling a banana and eating it… I was once sat in the train opposite a mother just like that. I couldn’t help but shake my head… Even my daughter stared with such compassion lol! She was reading “the hungry caterpillar” for the whole train to hear, with that high pitched voice with such fake expressions.. Her child was restless I think all he wanted was a nap to be honest. Glad they got off after 5 stops.

      Shanna
      http://www.mycurvesandlashes.blogspot.co.uk

  9. Pinkoddy
    29th June 2014 / 7:05 pm

    Sorry to go against the grain but I think this post is awful. Would you like it if someone had written a post about you? I think as parents we just need to be less judgmental (personally). She was probably most likely not trying to impress anyone but just do the best job of parenting as she thought fit. You may not even agree with her methods (and found them annoying) but if we were all the same it’d be boring wouldn’t it.

    • laurenadmin
      29th June 2014 / 7:19 pm

      Kudos to you for being honest, and please never apologise! I can be a judgmental person, I am aware of that. I did think twice before publishing it but I do honestly feel that they way she was acting was on purpose. No, I probably wouldn’t like it but then I take criticism like water off a ducks back. She probably judged me for giving my baby a chocolate rice cake and if she had told me so it wouldn’t have bothered me.
      However my blog is a place for me to rant/share my opinions and I’ve done it plenty in the past and will continue to do so, but I promise not all my posts are moaning about other people!

      • Pinkoddy
        30th June 2014 / 12:06 pm

        Sorry I was having an off day. I’m far from perfect myself and too would have probably being thinking the same.

        • laurenadmin
          1st July 2014 / 8:50 am

          Dont apologise! Your opinion is welcome and valid! xx

  10. 30th June 2014 / 11:03 am

    I agree with Pink oddy , but then again I am a sensitive soul.!
    You are right your blog , your space!

    But I am off to explore more of your blog though!

  11. 30th June 2014 / 12:00 pm

    I think I’m in agreement with others like Joanne above, she seems to be one of those incredibly insecure parents who isn’t sure that she’s doing it right and so rather than either accepting her child’s progress, she has to show off. She could just ask simply, “Should he be doing this by now?” etc. but I suspect she’s also probably a bit lonely? I also wonder if this was a longed for baby who arrived late, and she’s finding it a bit tricky?

    No doubt though, she’d get right on my nerves at the time and I’d be writing exactly the same post as you 😉

  12. 30th June 2014 / 2:53 pm

    This did make me chuckle.. But are you saying you DON’T poach salmon of a morning for lunch time snacks?! ‘Naughty, naughty’! 😉

  13. 30th June 2014 / 8:21 pm

    As I started to read this and the “narrating everything her baby is doing” I thought oh my god, it’s me?! But actually no. No it’s not. PHEW. I do talk to my kids a lot about what we / they are doing – but to them! I’ve definitely come across this sort of Mum before!

  14. 30th June 2014 / 10:15 pm

    Now that I’ve started teaching I encounter this sort of thing all of the time and it is so frustrating. It drives me mad when you get parents who can’t stop singing their child’s praises. We’ve got one mum telling other mums that her child is a genius! Poor thing. The worst thing is that you can see the attitude coming through in the children too, and there’s not much you can do about it 🙁

    • laurenadmin
      1st July 2014 / 8:49 am

      Oh no! I feel sorry for the kids too… what if they turn out to be just like all the other kids. I really hope these sorts of parents don’t take out their annoyance at their kids not being nuclear scientists or whatever ON thier kids. I danced when I was younger and the pushy stage mums are unbelievable!

  15. 1st July 2014 / 8:58 pm

    Aww, I feel sorry for her too. I can understand how listening to her may wind you up and turn your thoughts into a negative view of her but I agree with Pinkoddy and Joanne Mallon above. Her husband raised his eyes you say? Maybe her child is the only person she has to talk to and that breaks my heart. BUT at least she talks to him and loves him with all her heart.

  16. 6th July 2014 / 9:10 pm

    As a non-parent, I’m not going to cast aspersions one way or the other. But, as someone who travels by train quite a bit, I would definitely be pissed off about 1. Her stinking out the whole carriage with the smell of fish. and 2. Her babbling nonsense/spelling out words so loudly that it was being overheard by several other groups of people. Have a conversation, fine, but I think it’s really important for people on public transport to respect their fellow passengers. *Gets down off soap box* xxx

  17. Shanna
    3rd September 2014 / 9:55 pm

    I completely agree with your reply! It really is the “older-mums” that are more competitive when it comes to showing off their child to the world. I mean, we get it. Why the narration and step by step tutorial on peeling a banana and eating it… I was once sat in the train opposite a mother just like that. I couldn’t help but shake my head… Even my daughter stared with such compassion lol! She was reading “the hungry caterpillar” for the whole train to hear, with that high pitched voice with such fake expressions.. Her child was restless I think all he wanted was a nap to be honest. Glad they got off after 5 stops.

    Shanna
    http://www.mycurvesandlashes.blogspot.co.uk

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