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March 09, 2009

How Rude! Strange Comments from Strangers

BLOG-No-More-Rudeness "Why don't you purchase a pacifier?"

I don't know if the woman was trying to be helpful or said it out of spite, but it was the last thing I wanted to hear as our oldest son, Ryan (then just a little guy), cried loudly in the grocery store. Ron and I laugh about it now, but in the moment, that dig from a stranger hurt. Do strangers approach you with "advice" that you don't want to hear? What's the worst comment you've ever heard? 

Care.com recently partnered with TwitterMoms, a network of mom bloggers centered around Twitter. We helped run a competition called Oh No You Didn't! where moms shared the worst comments they'd ever received about their parenting style. It was a lot of fun to see the feedback! Some of the comments were just terrible, but everyone was able to look back and see the humor in the situation.

I've blogged before about the rude comments from strangers we get as parents. They're not much fun when they happen. In fact, it's surprising how complete strangers can be so bold, cruel, and nosy all at once. In my experience, the best thing you can do as a parent is to ignore the comment in the moment, then laugh about it later with family and friends.

Without further ado, here are the top five responses we received from the TwitterMoms (and with some of your own thrown in for good measure!).

#5
(Exchange with a mall shopper while breastfeeding her baby.)
“'I see you’re nursing.'
'Yep.  That I am.'
'Well do you really think that’s appropriate?  I mean, we’re at a mall.'
'Well, yeah, I know but when you gotta eat you gotta eat, right?'
'Well, yes, but in my day giving the illusion of revealing yourself was something reserved for looser women, not mothers.'"—Sarah 

#4
(Another mom explaining why her son was quiet.) 
“Oh, he knows yelling would never fly in our house.” —Jenny

#3
(Her great-aunt's response to her daughter's baby photo.)
"Her ears really stick out. You should tape them to her head at night to help push them back." —Elizabeth

#2
(Various comments on breastfeeding.)
“Excuse me, are you breastfeeding her here? Don’t they have a place for you to do that?”
“You’ll have to wean her before she’s two because you can’t breastfeed after she’s two. It’s illegal.” —Andrea T.

#1
(Yelled by a customer in a barber shop as her toddler son cried after having his ear cut accidentally.)
"ENOUGH ALREADY!" —Felicia


Wow. Just shocking. We also heard some doozies from the Care.com community in response to last year's blog post on rude comments. Here are the best (rather, worst) three:

(A Wal-Mart employee upbraiding a customer.)
"'Are you kidding me? What kind of mother lets their child crawl on the floor? It's so dirty! That's horrible! You need to pick him up!" —Stacie R.

(From a customer in a checkout line as the mom looked through her purse for a lost wallet.)
"If you don't have enough money you should not be buying steaks and liquor. And with children! Someone should call social services on you." —Shannon

(Comments a mom has heard because her complexion differs from her children's.) "Are you babysitting?" or "You shouldn't tell those kids what to do since you're not their mother." —Felicia



What is that makes strangers comment on parenting styles? What's the worst comment you've ever gotten? Let us know in our own, much friendlier, comment section!
 
(By the way, are you on Twitter? The Care Team is! Follow @ShannonCarecom @kellyatcare and @mikeandthemoms for the inside dish on Care.com. And you can follow me at @smarcelo, too.)

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Comments

Amanda

I have four children and when I was pregnant with my fourth child, I once had a woman come up to me and say "why on earth would you want to have Soooo many children? What were you thinking? I hope you're not on welfare because that would make me angry."

Angila

I Have boy girl twins and the our boy benjamin wasborn with bi-lateral cleft lip and palette. We were over at our neighbors and the lady looked at b=Ben then looked at Rriley and said, "You dont have that ugly thing on your face, do you?" I was soo offended. My son is Beautiful!

Theresa

My oldest son was born with special needs. He would have a habit of approaching other kids only to want to be a friend to them and the parents would pull their kids away saying do not go near that child. I know maybe my son came on a little to strong in public places but he was just longing to be excepted by other kids and parents just did not understand. But it hurt to think that the parents would judge a child before even knowing them or who they really are

Lynn

I was well into my 6th month of pregnancy while waiting for my husband to meet me at a restaurant, after work for an early dinner. My 18 month old son was becoming impatient and fussy because he was hungry. I was doing my best to keep him happy and quiet, when a woman sitting at a table next to us commented loud enough for me to hear, (and quite rudely) "Look, she's pregnant again!"

Queen

3 weeks after having our 5 year old I was ready to introduce her to the world, (grocery store). I was happily strolling through the store when a woman walks up and says your grandbaby is beautiful. I said, "I'm her mother"! she says, your pretty old to be having children. I was at the time 36. Come to find out she already had grandchildren and her 11yr old grand daughter was expecting. She was one year younger than me! We at the time were in South Georgia. Needless to say we didn't stay in that area long.

maria

On a flight to Florida as we were getting ready to disembark, my son who has beautiful eyes with very long eyelashes, was being held by husband and a woman commented to him... "such beautiful eyelashes, what a waste on a boy".

Marie

I went shopping with my 2 year old daughter and 6 month old son at Target. When I entered the store the security guard stopped me and asked if I minded switching to a Target cart. I asked him why. He told me that employee would have to return the first cart back to JoAnn Fabrics. When I stated I was going there next, he dropped the matter.

When I was at JoAnn's, a customer told me to leave the store. She was tired of listening to my kids' crying for the past fifteen minutes. I went to leave, then realized that it was a 90 degree day out and that they were not crying that long. They were only crying for about five minutes. So, I stayed in the store and fed my son. My daughter ended up falling a sleep in the cart.

Marie

My kids and I were having lunch at Meijer's. An elder gentlemen stated "Grandma must really enjoy having the kids around." I told him " Yea, she does." He then stated that he thought I was the grandma. At the time was only 36 years old.

Maria

My husband and I took my 16 month old to visit w/my parents. She was being fussy to a degree, she was just waking up and she was teething. My parents were standing in the kitchen and my husband handed our daughter over to my dad, she started crying, and my mom turned around and told us to get her, and we both told she would be ok, just let her get used to you. My mom made the comment, "you need to get her, we don't hold crying babies." She then went on to tell another family member that she couldn't believe we were there trying to push our crying baby on them.

Catherine

I have a chunky, beautiful 6 month old daughter. Everywhere I go people say the same thing, "Oh! What a beautiful baby! She's just so fat! Look at those fat cheeks and those fat thighs! she looks just like her mother..."
Thanks people

Emily

I took my daughter, who was 14 months old at the time, to a baby shower at my previous place of employment. Once there, my daughter got a bit fussy because she was bored and one of the new workers whom I did not know stated "looks like someone needs Super Nanny". Needless to say, I was not amused and neither was anyone else.

Carrie

I have 3 children (girls) oldest one is 16 yr old and second one is 7 yr old and third one is 5 yr old all of my girls wonderful children. I taught them to learn how to behave and listen when go to the store and I told them if they cry or misbehave then I'll take them home and it's not right to scream or cry when we go to the store and embarrass me.. Now they learn and listen and good behave go store and anywhere with me.. I taught them learn right to do and learn sign language and clean room as do the chores, do homework etc.. they all know how to communication with me as sign language because I'm a deaf mother...

I love my children and wanna teach them to learn do the right path like keep them busy sports, socceer, volleyball, cheerleader, etc and they really love it.. they thank to me and say that I'm a wonderful mother

Brittney

I was at the UPS store dropping off a package for Ebay and had my 3 kids with me who were getting antsy (close to lunchtime). My older two were keeping tabs on the youngest (who's almost 3 now) while I filled out the form. The woman next to me said you should keep control of your children instead of letting them run around. She didn't have much to say in the parking lot afterwards when I confronted her about it though.

Katrina Butterfield

I was once told that I was over doing it. I was in the store and my then 4 year old daughter was throwing a fit about a pair of flip flops. I would not let her get the ones she wanted so she started crying and screaming and throwing a general fit. I asked her if she wanted a spanking. Eventually she got a light swat on the behind but wouldn't quit throwing her fit so I asked her if she wanted another spanking. At this time an older lady approached me and proceeded to tell me that I was raising my daughter the wrong way and that she had raised 6 children of her own. Then she told me that spanking my daughter wouldnt work and that I was making a mistake. I replied apparently loudly that it was my mistake to make and that she had raised her children let me raise mine. I was so angry that I almost left all of my groceries in the cart and walked out of the store. I knew that this would validate what the woman had said so I continued my shopping among the looks from people that had seen the exchange.

Stacy

On a out of state, spur of the moment trip last year, I took my three oldest children into Michael's craft store to purchase a few items. My middle son is special needs, and has an anger disorder. Life was very stressful at the time for us - I had given birth to my youngest son just a month prior, and he had passed away - so things weren't wonderful right then anyway. My middle son got upset over something, and I wound up having to put him in the shopping car at hold him in while he screamed and struggled to get out. I immediately went to check out. It took a few minutes, and my son continued to get more and more upset, but finally I was finished and went outside to wait on the rest of my family, who was still inside the store. As I went outside, the cashier turned to the next woman in line and began bad-mouthing me as a mother and telling her how horrible my child was and what a bad mother I was to allow him to act that way. Unlucky for the cashier, my sister-in-law was the next woman in line, and heard the entire thing, and very quickly set her straight. I'll never stop being amazed at how insensitive and judgemental people are.

jamie

I have a large family and I always get stares and comments of all kinds. When asked "Are these ALL your kids?" I say in a reassuring voice "No....(long pause to let them feel their relief)...I have 2 more at home!"
I also frequently get asked "Dont you know what causes this?" I mean come on people...do I look mentally challenged or do you just think my private sex life is your business?!!!I have been asked this literally over a hundred times and used to get extremely embarrassed, so I decided to turn the tables on who the embarrassed one is. Now I respond with a provocative smile and a slow drawn out response..."Oh yes! And we enjoyed EVERY minute of it!!!"
Now when asked these same old questions, I get a little rush of excitement waiting for the blush to appear on THEIR face instead of mine!
Turning the tables-Jamie Kay

Michele

I am blessed with twins, but from birth to their current age (5), I have always received "sympathetic" comments from strangers in public. I have learned to handle it with grace. Here's some examples:
Stranger: Uh, oh...double trouble.
Me: Actually, twice the joy!
Stranger: Poor mom!
Me: Actually, lucky mom!
Stranger: Twins? Better you than me!
Me: Yes, you're right!

Sabrina

I was grocery shopping with my 5 month old baby girl when this woman came up to me and asked how old my baby was..I said oh she's five months. While I got in line and started loading the cart, up comes the same strange woman and started hovering and smiling at the baby in the cart, she then proceeds and puts her fingers inside of my baby's mouth; I looked up in shock! Can you please not put your hands in my baby's mouth? I grabbed the cart and pushed the baby forward, she then blurted out profanity....profanity. Your baby should choke and die!! I just left everything and walked out!! I was so angry!! I have since then; become very protective of my kids, especially when strangers come up to say how cute they are.

Lorie

I get comments all the time and normally I can let them roll off but this time I was at my breaking point. We go to the mall on Sundays since there is nothing in our area to do...(Funny with Cedar Point in our backyard.) But we let our three year old play. If we let her play out and come to us no Drama but this afternoon we needed to leave before she was ready and the drama started. Screaming yelling turning colors and then the plop on the ground I am going to sit here and thrown my tantrum now thank you.

Well I have learned walk away from her about two to three feet and just watch her and then when she starts sobbing and wanting up I simply ask Maddie are you done? Can we leave now? Normally all is forgotten and she leaves quietly.

Not this day. My husband normally don't come with us due to he sleeps due to all the hours he works. But that was a slow week and he came. We are total opposites. Where I will let her scream and walk away he wants to keep her quiet.

Did I forget to mention if you walk up to her before the tantrum is over she starts kicking screaming biting and it goes from a 5 to 10+ in volume all the way through the mall and 10 to 15 minutes in the car.

Now to the story.

We get there and Maddie's playing a couple older kids not allowed in the under 4 foot area come in all fine until they started to play tag and running. They thought it was fun to chase my daughter and call her names and push her around. Well not only did Maddie get hurt so did my friends little boy.

I simply walked over since no one else was going to say anything and tapped the kids on the shoudlers and said excuse me but could you please calm down stop running you are going to hurt someone worse than you hurt my friends little boy ( busted lip). The older kids laughed and got lippy so I went over to the information desk and asked the attendant to get the security. Well the older kids were asked to leave. All went back to playing. After being in the mall 2.5 hours playing my husband thought it was time to go...He was wrong!!

Told Maddie 5 more minutes she said ok then when it was time to leave she said no. We put her shoes on and started to walk away. Well we get about four stores away and she melts down. Incidentally the older kids belonged to this young lady and I think she had about 6 kids ranging in age. I walked away like normal and my husband steps in due to he sees a couple people looking at us. He gets on me for walking away and letting her scream. I tell him what did the OT Therapist Say to walk away and watch her and let her come to you not the other way or it would be 10 times worse.

Well by this time I could her this lady talking on What kind of a mother lets her child scream like that? She should have children services called and her daughter taken away from her. Well did my husband listen to me? No he went and picked her up before she was ready and it got ten times worse and started to walked out. I could not simply walk away knowing that the lady that said this was the same with the out of control kids. So I looked in my wallet and handed her my children services case workers card.

I walked up and said...."Excuse me my name is Lorie and I over heard you are having a problem with me and my child. Well here you go I will save you the look up here is my children services case workers card. She will be expecting your call. By the way you might want to rethink calling due to you can't call the kettle black if you can't even attempt to control your own kids. Have a good day good bye!"

And I walked away.

My husband paused and heard what I said and he congratulated my on my cool approach to handle the situation.

After getting home I called the case worker told her what happened and she said good job and I will be looking forward to her call.

To let you all know my daughter has anger problems due to her speech delay.

Candi

I went to the grocery store with my one year old, and took her coat off (it was winter time) because the store was warm enough for her not to need it. A lady stopped me and asked me if I wanted my child to get sick, because she thought the child would be too cold with out her coat.

Kari

My son hates anything on his feet he will take it off. I have lost so many socks and shoes I can't even count how many. It was one of those days where as a parent you can't take anymore. I parked close to the store and got both my kids out of the car. My son had pulled his shoes and socks off again. It was about 30 out (I'm from MN so this is warm for us) I was only about 5 feet from the store so I tucked his feet under my jacket and we ran in the store. When we got in I ajusted my son on my hip and went to go rent a movie. Some older man saw my son had no socks on. He started yelling about how dare I spend my money on playing games (I think he ment renting movies) and not buy my son socks. He started to call the police and everything. My poor older son. He was scared to death. We left the store and just went home. I wish people would wait and find out the whole store before judging.

Melanie fly

I was waiting for the librarian to check out my books, and my children ran into the adult section, the 2 of them are 3 and 4, if I chased one, the other would perhaps run out of my sight, I had to wait for both to come back so i could grab them. In the meantime, a lady came up to me and told me that I should have more control etc etc. I switched off, I was already feeling overwhelmed with how hard it is to go anywhere with them, and I do discipline. I would have loved for her to offer help or say something to the children, criticising me is fruitless and demeaning. Its hard enough job without people adding their negative comments to it.

On a plus side I was at a restaurant (5 of us), a Lady came up to me and praised me, for such wonderful well-behaved children. I wish more people would do this, because raising children is hard, and I need all the encouragement I can get (whether they are good or not).


Melanie fly

I was in hospital with chest pain. I had been taken from the pharmacy, with my 6 month old baby. I had given her, her last bottle of dairy free formula, and was leaving for home an hour away when it happened. The ambulance drivers kept her in the stroller, and transferred me on a bed. i was in the ER on the bed and my baby was placed next to me. She had a poo, and I had nothing to change her, I wasn't allowed off the bed, and I had no nurse call buzzer. There was a gap in the curtains, I tried to get people's attention. My daughter began to cry, and this turned into screaming. Finally someone brought a diaper, but I HAD TO USE the blue roll and water to wipe. I did this while hooked up to an IV, I was anxious about her getting hungry, and when she did, they had nothing to give her, there were no children in the hospital and so they didn't have the dairy soy free formula for her. All this stress going on, and the woman visiting the men in the cubicle next to me, made some nasty comments about the noise.
I have forgiven her, but I would say to anyone, if there is a child screaming, why not offer help instead of criticism, we were all children once.

Theresa

I'm in the military so I have a childcare provider watch my daughter April (she's 3 months) while I'm at work. Already upset with myself that i don't get much time with her, a lady says to me, "she wouldn't bawl so much if you just held her more..."

Jenna B.

One night my husband was working late after just getting back from Iraq. My 3 young boys and I were all stressed out from never seeing Daddy to getting him back and still not seeing him. My oldest son (8) asked if we could go for ice cream so we went to Winn-Dixie so that all the boys could get what they wanted. Anyhow, as we were shopping my baby (2) got very upset because he was tired and wanted everything in the store and so he began crying. He really wasn't that loud just very annoying. At that point a middle aged man approached me and informed me that "if I worked on that butt a little more at home I wouldn't have such a problem child" What a jerk!

Kristina Woods

While I was riding the bus, on the way back to work from a doctors appointment, out of the blue, an elderly lady decided to share her opnion with me. She said that I really could be a pretty girl if I would just do something about my skin. What a shame it was that I didn't take care of my appearance. I was mortified. My appointment to the Doctor that day was to find out I had a staph infection all over my face and get the antibiotics to treat it. I couldn't believe a stanger would have the nerve to say something like that.

Dawn

I get rude comments about my son's Name all the time cuz his name is Arien and ppl take it as a racist name when it is not! It is a greek name I found in a name book and it is not even spelled the same way!

Karen

I am a mother of 5. This is my favorite. Back in 1991 I was pregnant with my fourth. I walked into a coffee/donut shop to see one of my husband's employ
ees with a work message from my husband. As I walked toward the counter with my 3 small kids and bulging abdomen, the woman behind the counter (the owner) asked very loudly, Are you stupid or something!?) I pretended not to understand the question and asked, "excuse me?"

When she realized that the other patrons, of which there were many, were not impressed with what she presumed to be cute and funny, she said, "oh sorry, just kidding." Needless to say, she is no longer a business owner.

Zoe Elizabeth

Get this! I have a neighbor who recently had rotator cuff repair surgery and with whom I thought to be developing a friendship. In an effort to show kindness and too make her life a little easier I prepared a beautiful meal for her and her adult son. Roasted chicken, peas and carrots, which they had told me they liked, a side of angel hair pasta, biscuits and homemade cookies. Her son came to pick up the meal and seemed delighted that I had cooked for them. However, the following morning there was a long angry message on my answering machine from this person saying "how dare you try to shove your food on me...I didn't want you to cook for me yesterday I wanted you to cook on Friday and in fact I didn’t want you to cook for me at all!” This was somewhat confusing to me since they were the ones who had given me the chicken and the vegetables to cook for them (I was going to visit my mom out of state to help her after having knee replacement surgery and wasn't going to have time to cook the day before I left….I thought the meal could be eaten the next day if she had already prepared something for that evening.) She went on to say that “other people's food is weird, foreign and it creeps her out.” She is of a different race than I am and she all but came out and said I don’t want your white hands on my food. She went on and on reprimanding me for doing something that was “out of her comfort zone” and said that “I had crossed a line with her big time.”

I attempted to explain to her that “in my culture” when someone has had surgery or has had a loss cooking is a sign of kindness, caring, friendship and is considered a blessing. She went on to say that she didn’t need “anyone to help her do anything not even her son” and that “people always end up hurting her.” There is much more to all she had to say to me but I’m certain you get the idea. I’m still shaking my head. I’m certain the food I cooked, which took hours to prepare, went directly into the trash. It’s been a long time since I’ve deleted someone from my cell phone contact list but that has been done for certain. I would like my dishes back especially since they were two I use on a regular basis. However, perhaps I’ll just go buy new ones. Who knows, she was so livid with me for cooking for her the dishes may have gone into the garbage along with the food. Has anything like this ever happened to any of you? As I’ve stated I’m still shaking my head in total disbelief.

Zoe Elizabeth

Get this! I have a neighbor who recently had rotator cuff repair surgery and with whom I thought to be developing a friendship. In an effort to show kindness and to make her life a little easier I prepared a beautiful meal for her and her adult son. Roasted chicken, peas and carrots, which they had told me they liked, a side of angel hair pasta, biscuits and homemade cookies. Her son came to pick up the meal and seemed delighted that I had cooked for them. However, the following morning there was a long angry message on my answering machine from this person saying "how dare you try to shove your food on me...I didn't want you to cook for me yesterday I wanted you to cook on Friday and in fact I didn’t want you to cook for me at all!” This was somewhat confusing to me since they were the ones who had given me the chicken and the vegetables to cook for them (I was going to visit my mom out of state to help her after having knee replacement surgery and wasn't going to have time to cook the day before I left….I thought the meal could be eaten the next day if she had already prepared something for that evening.) She went on to say that “other people's food is weird, foreign and it creeps her out.” She is of a different race than I am and she all but came out and said I don’t want your white hands on my food. She went on and on reprimanding me for doing something that was “out of her comfort zone” and said that “I had crossed a line with her big time.”

I attempted to explain to her that “in my culture” when someone has had surgery or has had a loss cooking is a sign of kindness, caring, friendship and is considered a blessing. She went on to say that she didn’t need “anyone to help her do anything not even her son” and that “people always end up hurting her.” There is much more to all she had to say to me but I’m certain you get the idea. I’m still shaking my head. Needless to say this is a person so seriously damaged and toxic I can’t and don’t want her in my life. I’m certain the food I cooked, which took hours to prepare, went directly into the trash. It’s been a long time since I’ve deleted someone from my cell phone contact this but that has been done for certain. I would like my dishes back especially since they were two I use on a regular basis. However, perhaps I’ll just go buy new ones. Who knows, she was so livid with me for cooking for her the dishes may have gone into the garbage along with the food. Has anything like this ever happened to any of you? As I’ve stated I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

Stacy

I had a total random woman at the post office one day tell my handicapped daughter that she should be walking. I told the woman my daughter just had major surgery on her foot and was still casted even... The woman then responded to telling my 6 yr old daughter that she should have a shoe on her cast that she can't walk on... and then when my daughter told them woman that shoes don't fit it and she can't walk on it anyways, the woman continued to tell her that my daughter "could walk if she tried". People are nuts...

heather

I have a lot! People aren't rude to me if my husband is with me, so I make sure to take him with us. One lady told me how beautiful my son and I were, then said you both should wear sunglasses, people with blue eyes get cancer and die sooner!

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