You can call me one of THOSE mothers…..

This post has proved to be a little more tricky to write than I was expecting, mostly due to my conflicting feelings about the matter, which I am still struggling with to some degree.

It was Little Man’s first parents’ evening on Tuesday and, due to an existing and unmoveable commitment on the same night, we were unable to attend.  I was really disappointed to miss out on this and obviously keen to find out how he’s been getting on at preschool so I emailed to ask if we could arrange to come in and speak to them at another time.  They duly rang my husband to make an appointment, which was great, but at the same time mentioned that the preschool manager wanted to be in on the meeting too as ‘there have been some issues regarding LM’s behaviour that we want to discuss’.  GULP.

Up until now, I haven’t really said too much on Twitter/Facebook or even to other friends about what the precise issues are as I was ashamed.  Yes, ashamed.  It feels so terrible to say that about my own son, but it’s true.  I was ashamed of his behaviour and, as a firm believer in nurture over nature, I was also ashamed of myself.  I felt like an abject failure.

You see, Little Man has been being rough with the other children there, including hitting them.  I am mortified.  Where have I gone so horribly wrong as to result in him not knowing that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable?

I have been beating myself up about this for the past week, worrying about how we can tackle this, worrying about whether I’m at danger of raising a future bully and, truth be told, worrying about the judgements that were doubtless being made on me and my parenting skills by not only the preschool staff but also the other parents.

Now you’re probably thinking, ‘how shallow’, and you would be right.  Unfortunately though, I am the kind of person who does care about how they’re perceived by others.  I know I really shouldn’t, and that’s what I’m struggling with now.

The worst aspect of motherhood so far, for me anyway, has been the judgement.  Mothers judge other mothers far too freely.  It starts straight away with the notorious breastfeeding vs formula feeding issue, which I am absolutely not going to get into now.  It continues with any number of other matters, (dummies, controlled crying, baby-led weaning etc) all of which there are strong, conflicting opinions on.  I have no problem with anybody holding a differing opinion to me on any matter, life would be incredibly boring if we all agreed.  What I DO have a problem with however is when someone, who invariably doesn’t even know me, decides that they can make a judgment on what kind of parent I am purely based on a momentary observation or enquiry into one of my choices.

I’ll hold my hands up here, I’ve done it in the past.  Haven’t we all?  I’ve seen the children creating mayhem in the shops or throwing a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant and thought, ‘Well, they clearly can’t control their children!’ but I really should have known better.  What we see, and what we think we know about someone is usually merely only the tip of the iceberg.  There could be all kinds of reasons for what we’re seeing or why somebody has chosen that particular option in raising their children.  And that’s just it, it is a choice.  Unless it’s illegal or endangering their children or others; their children, their choice.  Also, as I have come to realise, there is always more to something than meets the eye.  Those children misbehaving in the restaurant?  Maybe they’re just having a bad day and are usually really good.  Maybe some well-meaning grandparent overloaded them with sugar just before they came out.  The fact is, we don’t know and we shouldn’t judge.

But people WILL judge, I know this.  So, as hard as it for me to do this, I am being brave and saying this:

Go ahead, judge me.

Decide that I am a shoddy parent because my son is having some behavioural issues at present.

Blank me when you pass me outside preschool.

Don’t invite my son to your child’s birthday party.


You will never know how upset I was at hearing about the times he’d been in trouble and you will never know how I’ve stayed awake at night agonising over how best to tackle it and put it right.

My priority now, and all I currently care about, is my son and ensuring that we do all we can to help him over this and to ensure that he gets the support, insight and understanding to deal with whatever frustrations and issues are causing him to behave like this.

I’m going to finish now as this is making me start crying all over again but my last comment is this:

If you are so quick to judge and exclude a 3 year old boy and his parents then are you really any better than a playground bully?  I genuinely hope that your children never do anything you might consider to be less than desirable so that you won’t have to experience the same feelings I have.

Thank you for reading,



About Leopardprintandgin

Mid 30's, mother to an increasingly cheeky son, wife to a decreasingly patient man, and instead of 'Keep Calm and Carry On' my mugs are emblazoned with 'Now Panic and Freak Out' and 'Stay Stressed then Give Up'. That just about sums me up! Email me on:

31 responses »

  1. Such a brave post! So pleased that you found the strength to write it.
    No judgement coming from this mum. We all do the best that we can and often we forget that our little ones haven’t been in the world for very long and are still learning the ropes. Big hugs to you.

  2. I think it applies to all walks of life not just parenting, that people have a tendency to judge. Sometimes it can help to think for a moment “how is this about them and not about me”. When you do this you might realise that their judgement comes from their insecurities and has nothing to do with you.
    We all do the best we can and we all have our struggles and imperfections. Not everyone loves their kids as much as you love A, and cares for them as much as you care for A. Hang in there, this will pass

  3. Great post!! You are brave for writing it i can imagine how emotional it was for you. No child is perfect & people need to remember they are just children & learning their way in life. At some point they all do something that we would prefer they didn’t. Well done for addressing it! x

  4. The judgemental parenting thing really gets to me too, we all have to make our own parenting choices and unless there is actual neglect or abuse going on it’s no one else’s business. You may have an opinion on it but it can be kept to yourself.

    I hope this is just a phase your little boy is going through, most parents will discover at some point there are different difficult stages you have to go through, whether it’s when they are 2 or 15 it will happen. Also, all children are different, my tween was a dream toddler but is challenging now in many ways. His little brother is a nightmare toddler, but our smallest is a dream baby.

    Best wishes, Corinne x

  5. Oh my poor lovely girl I can only begin to imagine how hard this all must be but well done for being so brave in writing this post. There is certainly no judgement from this mama! You are clearly worried sick and I really hope that you will sort this out. I’m sure the nursery have dealt with these situations time and time again and I hood they’ll be able to help you x

  6. Preschool is there to help you and your child iron out these little issues! They are so young still, and none of them are perfect are they?

    And if it had really been an enormous problem, I’m sure they would have contacted you sooner.

    Don’t panic, it will all come out in the wash

    • I must admit, I did keep wondering why they hadn’t said anything sooner but took comfort from the fact that it’s probably a build up of small incidents rather than anything more serious. Thank you x

  7. The only reason anyone could possibly judge you was if you were aware of the situation but couldn’t care less and weren’t going to do anything about it which you obviously are. I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of why your little boy is behaving the way he his. No child goes through their childhood without lashing out at anyone, I know mine have and I’ve had the looks and the whispers at playgroup. Rise above the school gate nonsense it and know that you’re a good mum! x

    • Thank you! It seems like such a shame that there is still playground nonsense between the parents doesn’t it? I think the main cause of my son’s hitting is frustration so we’re working on other ways for him to express it.

  8. Oh hun. Having met you all, I know for a fact that neither you or your gorgeous little boy have anything to ashamed or worried about. You are a fantastic mummy, and he is a fantastic little boy. There is no need to feel so bad about yourself. He could be having a bad day, he might not like some of the other children just like we don’t like some people.

    Anyone who judges you or him on a few odd occasions aren’t worth worrying about. You’ve always done your best for him, and you always will. And that best is more than enough.

    Sending you massive hugs & some for your little man too.


    • Thanks Kate, I definitely think there is an element of him ‘clashing’ with another little boy there as preschool admitted they ‘spark each other off’ and he’s come home on a few occasions and told me that this boy has hit him and called him his ‘hit toy’. Obviously though, having said all that, I can’t condone him being rough himself.

      I’m just ignoring the looks etc as I’m realising that anyone who judges me that quickly has insecurity problems of their own.

  9. *hugs* I thought hitting was just a phase they go through as they grow. Every little person I know has gone through something similar!

    You are not a shoddy mother by any stretch of the imagination. You’re an extremely caring, loving and empathetic mother from what I can see.

    • Thanks Helena x
      The thing is, we have had some hitting at home in the past but we thought he was past that stage as he hadn’t (to our knowledge anyway!) done it for ages. This seems to have all started up again in the past 2/3 weeks so we need to try and work what’s triggered it off.

  10. Such an honest post. I do not think you are shallow at all. I think if every mother is honest they care what other parents think and it hurts them. As for his behaviour (obviously I cannot advise as I haven’t come across this yet) I think some things just happen and I do not think you are to blame at all. Try not to beat yourself up too much as it is obvious to readers you and R love him dearly and I think you will all work something out soon enough xx

  11. Goodness me sounds as though you are going through hell. To care so much about him and about putting this right shows that you are a fab mum and you’ll have this all sorted in no time. It will soon be a distant memory.

    No one judges you harder than you judge yourself. xxx

  12. We chatted about this the other day and I still think it is something that will resolve but it might not do your little man much harm if you carefully pointed out to him that if he is rough with the other children they may choose not to play with him or invite him to things because they don’t like being hurt/pushed. It takes a surprisingly long time for young children to realise that other children have the same general feelings and emotions as themselves.

    • Thanks Beth, that’s exactly the approach we have been taking and we are hopeful that it will work fairly quickly as his behaviour does seem to have stabilised in the past few days. Preschool even said he was a very good boy all morning yesterday so fingers crossed x

  13. I can’t add anything based on experience as obv L is younger than A. I don’t think you’re bad parents or that A is a “naughty” child – its all part of his learning curve & therefore yours too.
    I completely agree that others are too quick to judge on all aspects of life. I hope that the steps that you & the school are taking with A get the issue resolved quickly. Sending you a hug in the meantime. Hxx

    • Thanks Helen x He is definitely on a steep learning curve at the moment with so much interaction with other small people and having to share the attention of the ‘teacher’. Preschool have some really good ideas for positive things we can do so hopefully this will be nipped in the bud quickly x

  14. We went through this although ours was older than yours. It culminated one day in Her Up North having to defend herself against two different mums consecutively on the same afternoon. Dignity in shreds doesn’t begin to describe it.

    Your little ‘un is still young and learning social skills. It’ll work out.

    • Thank you HUN. I find the fact that Her Up North was confronted like that completely disgraceful but, sadly, no longer shocking. I think some parents would do well to remember the phrase ‘There but for the Grace of God go I’. I’m not particularly religious but I agree with the sentiment.

  15. I would never call you one of those mothers! The very fact that you feel the way you do about the situation is a sign of what a good mother you are. Having me the three of you on a couple of occasions, and chatted to you lots on Twitter, it is very clear how loved A is. All children go through stages where they test the boundaries and exasperate their parents. I hope that you can work together with the nursery to combat this behaviour but in the meantime please remember that it is no reflection upon your parenting skills, and anybody that judges you for it is a person with issues themselves and unrealistic expectations of their own children! xx

  16. Hope the pre-school staff have been able to support both you and your son. Parents can be evil! Being a nursery nurse I see this situation all the times. Parents aren’t always to blame for children struggling to adjust to change. Like adults children have their own personaility but they are still learning how to adjust to socitey and what’s expected of them. NEVER blame yourself. You are a wonderful parent. Never would I not invite the ‘naughty’ child to F’s parties or round for tea. People to need to be less judgemental and maybe chatting with others meeting for coffee’s to support each other. None of us are perfect. We all do our best and we all worry about what others think about us. I think there are very few people who don’t worry what others think or are affected by other peoples opinions and actions.

    Lots of love to you xxx

    “I am not a perfect mother. That’s kind of like admitting I am not a unicorn. Neither exist. They are both fantasy.” – Nancy Rue


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