There is often much said in the media about those pushy mothers who will stop at nothing to see their little darling shine on screen or stage which immediately makes me think of Noel Coward’s lyrics, “Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington.” Of course, pushy mothers are in no way restricted to the performing arts. They appear in every walk of life and will often stop at nothing to further their children’s careers and prospects.
Just where pride and support stops and pushiness creeps in is a moot point.
Pushy mothers are one thing. They may be caricatured and held up to ridicule but many a child has benefited I am sure, from the wiles and dedication of a pushy mother. Personally, I can stand any amount of pushy mothers as long as they stay clear of me. However, I am less tolerant of the kind I met in the Doctor’s surgery waiting room last week. This is the, “Just look at how cute my child is!” kind.
First, let me say that when in a Doctor’s waiting room, if one is unaccompanied, it should be assumed that one is not feeling well. There will be exceptions to the rule of course but on the whole, one wants to be left to wait in peace.
Last week, I had cause to visit the doctor. I was feeling less than well – nothing a course of antibiotics couldn’t put right but still, I just wanted to sit in peace and wait. Hence, having booked myself in on the handy touch-screen (a self-service feature worth mentioning should it be successful and does not result in you joining the queue at the reception desk to be booked in manually because the computer, inexplicably, says “no”) I chose a row of seats as far away from anyone else in the waiting room as I could. The room was not particularly full so there was a good choice.
After a few minutes, a young woman came in with her little daughter. The little girl was about 3 years old. The young woman approached the touch screen and successfully booked in. I was aware she was making a big deal of removing the child’s coat. Her voice carried across the waiting room,
“Let’s take your coat off Kaylee, that’s it – you don’t need it on in here do you? Oh look at you! You are funny. Come on let’s sit down, where do you want to sit?”
I tried to look inconspicuous in my seat at the far end of the room. There were plenty of seats in the section to my left where the toys were. Mothers and babies tend to congregate there. The little girl gleefully ran towards me. Oh dear, she was going to sit next to me. She launched herself onto the chair and onto my handbag which was, it should be said, resting half on the other chair.
“Kaylee! You mustn’t go jumping on people like that. I am sorry,” the young woman apologised, loudly. I smiled and moved my bag.
“Don’t worry,” I said sweetly.
I should have known she’d choose to sit next to me, they all do – do I give off a signal that says, “Mother of five, with grandchildren – good target”? Probably.
The child was quite sweet of course, and fairly quiet. Not so her mother. The mother didn’t chat to the child exactly, she chatted to the entire room. Know what I mean? If the child did something, then the mother would say loudly and rather annoyingly,”Oh Kaylee, you are funny, you’ve done this/that/the other,”
I just sensed it would get worse. I contemplated moving but that would be rude and require using up my sadly depleted supply of energy. I felt quite drained. I would just have to sit there.
No sooner had I had this thought than the father arrived. As mother and daughter had taken up both the seats to my right, he squatted on the floor next to them.
“Would you like to sit here?” I offered, intending to move up a seat to the left.
“No, I’m fine here,” he smiled.
I tried not to look disappointed. I could hardly move up now.
The mother smiled and said, quite unnecessarily,
“He’s fine there,”
Kaylee chattered away. The overhead screen, flashing up the names of patients being called to see the Doctor, beeped.
“That’s my name mummy!” Kaylee proclaimed.
“No, that’s not your name Kaylee,” said mum, loudly, too loudly, so that we all might hear and be amused.
“There’s my Doctor!” asserted Kaylee, pointing to an unsuspecting gentleman who had just walked in and was attempting to use the self service login. (It said “No”).
“Oh, Kaylee, that isn’t your Doctor,” said mum, even more loudly.
I smiled at Kaylee, probably encouraging ‘mum’ to speak to her daughter again, loudly.
“You really are too cute Kaylee,” she broadcast to the room, “you do make me laugh!”
‘Dad’ spoke too but he was quiet. Kaylee could hear him just as well but he was talking to Kaylee, not to the entire waiting room.
“That’s your name!” cried Mum finally as “Kaylee Smith” flashed up on the screen.
I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back to wait my turn. A few other patients seemed to do the same.
Within five minutes they were back, Mum and Kaylee that is. Dad had gone to get the car. I knew this because mum was telling Kaylee loudly,
“Daddy is going to get the car so we’ll wait here in the warm,”
Surely they’d sit somewhere else now? There were several more vacant chairs near the exit. Of course they didn’t. Kaylee beamed at me and scampered back to where I sat. I endured five more minutes of Kaylee’s cute ways being loudly repeated and remarked upon by her mother, lest we should miss them, before Dad came to take them home.
This behaviour can be heard in shops and post offices and parks across the land. It spans generations and perhaps you see nothing wrong in it. Of course we all love it when our children are cute and it’s great when other people tell us how wonderful they are but that’s just it, leave it to others to comment, Your child is cute but please, don’t tell me!
P.S. I would like it put on record that all my grandchildren are cute – can grandmothers be pushy? 🙂