“Where is your jacket?” she said to him with a smile on her face.
He looked at her puzzled, not quite sure why she was talking to him and not really understanding what she was asking.
“Where is your jacket?” this time it was a little bit louder.
She continued, “Where is your jacket? Why doesn’t this little boy have a jacket on? Can you believe he doesn’t have a jacket on?”
She was nearly screaming at this point. Everyone in the bakery was looking at her.
“We’re inside,” I finally replied back.
“Are you staying inside all day?” she asked.
Not that it was any of her business, but I told her that yes, in fact, I wasn’t planning on taking him outside that day because of the weather. She pushed further, mentioning the time he will be outside while he walks from the bakery to the car — an approximately 30-second journey. She was determined to not only let me, but everyone else around us know that she had serious issues with me not putting a jacket on my child, so much so that she questioned my parenting skills.
Little did she know but five minutes earlier I fought with my son on this exact topic. He’s a feisty little tot with an opinion on everything — and he was determined not to wear a jacket into the store. Taking into consideration that I parked only five feet from the front door and we’d be in there for less time than it actually takes to put his jacket on, I decided it wasn’t worth the battle. So we went inside with a hat on his head — and yes, no jacket.
Looking around the store for some support from fellow patrons, I watched as one woman walked away and others just stared. I was shocked that no one was speaking up on my behalf, so I did exactly what I should have done to begin with. I stood up for myself.
“I’m his mother, and ultimately I know what’s best for him. How I parent or what I choose or do not choose to put on him is none of your business. Please do not question my parenting or my abilities as a mother,” I said in a stern voice looking straight into her eyes.
She looked at me in disbelief that I actually responded in such a way and looked around the store for someone to have her back. When she realized no one was speaking up, she finally walked away.
I then paid for my items, picked my son up, and walked out of the bakery.
While her intention may have been good, her delivery was not. Had she done this to me six years ago, I would have quickly run out of that bakery in tears. I would have beat myself up about it for days. But now, as a more experienced mom of three, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I do what is best for my kids. So when my child is inside on a cold day without a coat on, unless he looks seriously distressed, know that what he’s wearing is none of your business.