Letter to the Mum in Asda

You don’t know me, I don’t know you. But for a second our eyes met and I think we gave each other a ‘knowing’ look. At the very least, I hope I gave you an encouraging smile. Your little boy was 4 weeks old – I know because I overheard you telling the two women who were talking at you, sorry, I mean talking to you! If I had enough courage, I would have chatted to you too, as we passed each other later in the store. But as you could see, Reuben was giving me grief in the trolley and I was as desperate to finish the whole ordeal of shopping, as you seemed to be to get away from your earlier conversation!

I’m pretty sure I recognised that look in your eyes, as you listened graciously to the advice being heaped on you from the strangers you had met. I know they meant well, they always do, but you had that “I could not care less about your thoughts on breast-feeding, I only care that my child is fed” look on your face. Unfortunately, I don’t think they recognised it. I wish I had the courage to assure them, and you, that my two-year old son is healthy and happy, as you could see, and formula has not done him one button of harm. For me, it was a lifeline.

As for their thoughts on sleeping, you did a great job of not telling them that are mountains of other experts you could ask for an option, if you so desired, but at the end of the day, you know your baby best. I admire you for not snapping because, I guess, sleep has been as low on your radar as it’s been on your newborns agenda! It will get better by the way…just hang on in there.

I also heard them offer plenty of other unsolicited advice about getting back in shape, when to start weaning, and whether or not YOUR baby should have the dummy that was in his mouth etc etc. Not to mention their scaremongering about the teething and toddler tantrums to come! Grrrr. I could have cried for you. Instead, I reached past you, to the nappies, and went on my way. I wish I hadn’t. I know you were not in the place to hear one more opinion or offers of ‘good advice’, so I wouldn’t have shared any. Instead, I would have introduced myself and Reuben to you and your little one. Maybe we could have chatted and I could have assured you that you look great, you’re doing a great job and that you don’t have to listen to every bit of advice you get! Because you don’t.

I don’t know if we will pass each other again, I hope we do. I often look out for you and your little one in Asda, I can see your face clearly in my mind. Your little boy must be 3 months old now and I bet you’re learning more about him with every day that passes. I hope you’re getting some sleep but don’t worry if you aren’t, that WILL come. I hope his dummy soothes him – that’s why give it to them, after all. And I hope that you are finding joy in the journey of motherhood. But more importantly, I hope that you are hearing these words often  – “You’re doing a great job” because you are!