Give way to prams

I’m going to admit it, I used to roll my eyes and mutter under my breath when a mother with a pram bumped past me on the street. How annoying they were! Only now do I realise that navigating a pram is difficult. There’s a need for lifts (side note, what are those without prams or disabilities doing in the lifts in shopping centres?!), ramps, and low pavements at traffic lights. And, yes, now I will go out of my way to not crowd the footpath near the traffic lights, avoiding forcing the Mum to bump over the gutter with her precious cargo.

And one extra note on the subject of prams: They are not something to hold onto on public transport – strangers, if you hold onto my pram and fall, my baby falls too, please keep your hands off!

Related: Five things I’ve achieved in my first year as a parent

Don’t touch the baby!

Yes, she’s cute. Very, very cute. Yes, she has tiny little feet poking out from under that blanket. No, you shouldn’t lift up the blanket and touch them, at least not without asking me first. There’s a great sign doing the Facebook rounds at the moment – don’t touch, your germs are bigger than me. And it’s true. And also, would you touch a fully grown person’s feet without knowing them? No. Then please extend the same courtesy to my daughter who doesn’t have the words to say “stop”.

Don’t take photos

Oh, hello perfect stranger in the coffee shop. Oh, you have your phone out to take a photo of my child. What’s that? It’s OK because you’re a Dad? No, it’s not. To this day I am upset with myself for not telling off the man taking a photo of my then two-week-old baby at the coffee shop and demanding he delete it. I was still full of new-mum shock and didn’t quite realise what was going on.

Keep your thoughts to yourself

I have seen Mums reduced to tears by perfect strangers. For some reason, people seem to think its OK to point out your child’s features – and often perceived faults – to you. “Oh, he’s a big boy,” some may say. Or maybe they want to offer you advice on how to clear up that nasty rash. Perhaps they want to tell you how to treat teething as your baby is drooling a lot. Again, I’d ask you to consider what you would do for an adult. Would you tell that 16-year-old girl how to clear up her acne? Unlikely. Keep the advice to yourself unless you’re asked for it.

Smile

I feel like I’ve been pretty negative so far, so I want to finish with an encouraging one. Please smile! Yes, smile at me, smile at my child – she may even smile back! Nothing makes a harried Mum feel better than an understanding smile from a stranger. See? It’s not all bad.

Next: Why I’m happy being an inner-city parent

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