Mum Shamed

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Lots of things happened in my world yesterday.  Miss Rose announced to the population of the swimming pool that she has a willy, I accidentally stole a strange woman’s coat and car key, we heard the baby’s heart beat for the first time, and I was publicly mum shamed by the deli counter lady in Tesco.

Rose’s sudden gender swap was amusing, the accidental kleptomania was thoroughly embarassing, the heart beat was magic.  The mum shaming was, at first, embarassing.  But now it’s just irritating.  And her spring rolls weren’t that good either so it wasn’t even worth it.

On Saturday morning Miss Rose has gymnastics and, despite the bags of energy this child is filled with, she gets tired afterwards.  Not too tired to function, but toddler tired where she doesn’t want to do anything.  Unfortunately for her she doesn’t always get that opporunity, and this week we had to go into Tesco.

About half way round, in front of the Deli counter, she decided she was not willing to shop anymore.  She sat on the floor, as they tend to do, and refused to move.  I pulled her to her feet, I scolded her, I begged her.  But she was having none of it.  I assured her that if we could get to the bread aisle quickly then we’d be back in the car and headed home for lunch faster than if we had to spend ten minutes griping about it on the cold, hard floor of the supermarket.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More

Photo Credit Marta Koton

She was having none of it.  None of it.

Luckily my mother was there too so, in exasperation, I phoned her and begged assistance.  Someone just to watch her for me so I could run off and shove the last couple of bits I needed in the basket so we could get going.  Of course, when Nanny arrived at her side, Miss Rose promptly stood up, took her hand, and trotted obediently off with her leaving an exasperated me to stomp off irritably to the bread aisle cursing under my breath.

It was fairly standard, I’d say.  She wasn’t screaming or having a total melt down like she has been known to do, and like I’ve seen many other small humans do in supermarkets, but she was stubborn and grouchy and saying “No!” a lot.  Normal.  Annoying, obviously, but nothing I’d say was particularly striking.

At least… I didn’t think so…  Then I decided I fancied (the baby fancied…) spring rolls.  To the deli counter my man took me!

“I know you,” said the lady serving us, an amused smile on her face.  “You’re the lady who’s little girl had a total meltdown on Saturday.”

“Erm…” I said.  “Yes, that was me.  I’ll have two spring rolls please.”

“It was so funny,” she said.  “She was going nuts and was absolutely not going to move for you, was she?”

“No, no she wasn’t.  The spring rolls, please?”

“And you were getting so stressed and so annoyed and it was just making her worse, wasn’t it?  She was making such a scene.”

“Erm, yeah I guess so,” I said, looking at The Boy with mortification in my eyes, who put a reassuring arm around my shoulder and assured the lady she was just tired and it’s what they do when they’re tired.

“Then you were begging your mum for help,” she went on, laughing.  “And of course for your mum she got up just fine, didn’t she?”

“Yes, yes I remember,” I said.  “Some spring rolls, please?”

“I recognised you, of course,” she went on.  “Everyone will recognise you now.  I was stood here watching you and I’d never forget anyone coping with it like that.  You were so stressed and annoyed!  If you’d not been so wound up she’d probably have behaved for you.”

Well thank fuck somebody knows how to parent my child, because quite clearly I don’t!

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, Lilly Prospero, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Counselling

The Boy gave me cuddles as we walked away, and observed the bitchy mummy skills judgment I’d just received but assured me that it would have been absolutely fine and I could certainly show my face in Tesco again, even if I’m worried I can’t show my face at the gym again where the famed coat and car key robbery occurred.

How’s this for an idea, world?  Just shut up.  A sympathetic smile, fine.  And note of “they all do it, don’t worry” is lovely.  But pointing it out days later with the observation that my crappy parenting skills were to blame, NOT ALRIGHT!

I’m going to grumble into my morning coffee now whilst not eating the substandard spring rolls I some how still ended up buying.

Oh, and I’m not going back to the gym for a swim this morning… but that’s more because I have lots of jobs to do here rather than because I’m now the untrustworthy coat thief whom management will no doubt be keeping an eye on from now on…

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!


2 responses to “Mum Shamed

  1. You should have said – I’ll stop you now – I know how you know me – I’m a utterly fabulous author who doesn’t give a flying f#ck what you think !!!! Seriously I’d bloody complain about her attitude she’s there to serve spring rolls and cold meats not dish out ‘helpful’ parenting advice!!



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