On Friday evening I popped into Asda with the baby in her sling to pick up a couple of bits. Ok wine. I was there for the wine offer (25% off 6 bottles or more). As I was wandering the aisles with the baby in her sling an old(er) lady came over and started talking to me. It wasn’t the conversation starter I would have opened with…..

Her: ‘your baby isn’t wearing shoes’

Me: ‘that’s ok, she’s in her sling, not walking anywhere, besides she can’t walk yet’

Her: ‘but she’s 12/13 months, she should be wearing shoes’

Me: ‘she’s 11 months, not walking and she’s my third baby so I’m pretty confident and ok with where we’re at’

After a minute or two of this lady making it clear she disapproved of my lackadaisical approach to babies who can’t walk not wearing shoes she moved on:

Her: ‘what’s your baby’s name’

Me: ‘her name is Amilyn’

Her ‘WHAT?’

Me ‘Amilyn’

Repeat 2/3 times

I won’t bore you with her outrage at our daughter having an unusual name – let’s just say it’s a side effect of allowing my partner to name her after a Star Wars character. I was also aware when naming her that she’d never find her name on a keyring or other mass produced product but, as it hasn’t affected my second son too badly I wasn’t concerned. Plus my name for her was Lydia after the naughty one in Pride and Prejudice but as my partner’s only reference was the evil one in the Handmaid’s Tale, Amilyn it was.

Now I was brought up to always be polite in unusual situations so I didn’t mention that the lady had her mask on inside out or that it’s not polite to accost people when shopping to complain about something that doesn’t affect them in any way, shape or form. Instead I politely acknowledged her opinion, filled my trolley with 10 bottles of wine (the maximum allowed on the deal) and a ready meal for the baby and hoped I didn’t run into her again on my way out of the store.

This did get me thinking about how we deal with unwanted opinions cropping up in our everyday lives. Particularly in our newsfeeds. You don’t need me to tell you these are troubled times. With the threat of a second lockdown and exposure to Covid and the disruption to everyday life, it’s natural that emotions are going to run high. I see posts I completely agree with and ones I don’t. While it’s often tempting to offer up my opinion when I see something I don’t agree with, I tend to take a step back, consider whether anything I say can change their mind, whether it’s my business to try to do so and if not, I scroll by. Probably something the lady in the supermarket should have done.

The incident in the supermarket didn’t bother me as I’m not particularly sensitive to opinions on my parenting but a quick scroll of my Facebook feed tells me that there are lots of people who are. People who are struggling with parenthood, depression, everyday life and being accosted by someone who has no place doing so, can make a real difference to how they feel about things. Right now there are a lot of differing opinions to do with the political climate, particularly with the US Elections so close and everyone’s individual opinion on how our government are dealing with the pandemic. Just remember it’s ok to disagree with people but be kind in the process.