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Public Parenting Problems

Bethan wrote:

Yesterday, while out to eat with my husband and daughter who is eight
months old, the Hostess of the restaurant came up and asked me if she could hold my baby.

I did not know what to say. I did not want to be rude to her but I really did not really want this strange person holding my baby.

My husband is a manager of a restaurant so I am use to people coming up and holding or playing with my baby but those people I either know or my husband does.

I did let this girl hold my daughter but she would not leave. I even was
suttle and asked her for our check and where we pay. She did not get the hint. I don't want to be overprotective of my child but I also don't want to be so relaxed that someone runs off with my baby.

My question is How should I handle this situation?

Dear Bethan,

Be clear; you do not have to let anyone - much less strangers - come near your baby, and you do not need to be polite about it.

You don't, as you say, want to lose your baby, nor have a fight to get her back. So, you are Mum; you must do and say what needs doing and saying to protect the child.

Having said that - and that is the 'safe' position, let's face it - it would be nice to avoid embarassment and hurt, even when strangers display such bad manners.

Avoid saying no; plan a selection of alternatives, and try to think of one that suits the situation. For example:

"I'd rather not, if you don't mind"
"She gets upset when she's tired"
"She's only just settled down"
"She's not been very well"

(I'm sure you can do better!)

Also, discuss this with your husband; ideally, he could answer for you, so that if voices were raise, you could slip quietly away with Baby.

So, do avoid being blunt if you can - but if people are too bad mannered, ignorant or just plain stupid, please don't let that make you feel guilty for protecting your child!

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