This morning, I was reading and came across this article by Kelly-Rose Bradford. According to Kelly-Rose, changing your child’s nappy on a packed commuter train comes down to ”lazy parenting” and is ”disgusting”. Kelly-Rose is a mother, and a seemingly fierce one at that.
I have to wonder, when reading this article, whether Kelly-Rose has realised that whipping out a nappy on a packed train is less about being ”modern” and having a sense of entitlement, as she proclaims, and more about the mother weighing up 30 seconds of passengers feeling a bit uncomfortable versus a screaming infant for a lot longer? Does she realise that trying to walk down a packed train holding a squalling child of ANY age is a lot worse for everyone on board? I don’t think ANY mother realistically looks around at the fifty or so standing passengers and thinks ‘I know what will make this journey REALLY fun’.
I am that parent. I will change Sophie or Madeleine if I cannot get to a changing room/toilet. Sophie has chronic constipation and when she goes to the toilet, it’s twice the size of an adult stool and makes her scream the place down. The idea of trying to get to a changing room on a packed train with a hysterical toddler is just insanity. This doesn’t make me lazy, it doesn’t mean I feel like I have to bow down to Sophie. It DOES mean that logistically, walking a hysterical child down a busy train doesn’t work and no, for those thirty seconds I don’t care in the slightest what the public think. My line of thinking is that the faster I change her, the quicker she will calm down. People don’t have to look my way if I need to change her and let’s be honest, a smelly nappy is a lot less offensive than the stench of the doors opening on a train toilet cubicle.
The general public who use the facilities on a train either have serious issues with aim and pee everywhere, or feel that they are at home and don’t flush. So we all suffer!
I don’t understand where Kelly-Rose is coming from, when she brands mothers who do this as lazy? Parents cannot do right for wrong. If I didn’t change the nappy of my screaming baby, people would tut and think me a bad mother for allowing my child to disturb their precious time reading the Metro. If I did whip out a nappy and spend a few moments changing the baby, I’m disgusting and lazy for not stumbling through the train to the toilets. I couldn’t leave a buggy and everything on it on it’s own on a packed train either.
Generally I know I try and plan my day where feeds and changes may coincide with lunchtime, a nearby changing room or somewhere convenient. It’s not hard, I mean Sophie eats three times a day and Madeleine every four hours and a change every four hours on average. It’s all well and good and easy to say ”For goodness sake, a mother with a brain in her head should plan her day better and make sure the baby is fed and changed just before going out…it’s not rocket science, you know. Mothers over the centuries have managed so why can’t today’s mothers do the same…Also, today’s nappies are so super absorbent the baby hardly feels any discomfort if the little mite has to stay in a soiled one for an extra 30 mins or so..” which is what was commented on the article.
So I ask the person who said the above… Have you ever been on a packed train from Clapham Junction – Eastbourne, and your baby who was changed not ten minutes ago before you got on the train decides NOW would be the moment to have horrific diarrhea? No? It’s not fun. You watch runny, mustard coloured shit seep out of the sides of a baby grow with the speed of the train you’re sitting on. The smell is disgusting. The bottom of the pram, the baby’s outer gear and blanket are covered in yellow, noxious poop. The baby is uncomfortable and starts to scream. You can’t lift the baby without covering yourself with poop and the changing cubicle is on the other end of the train. What do you do?
You do what I did, when Sophie did exactly this at two weeks old! You grab everything you can from your changing bag, you angle the buggy so the baby’s bum is facing the wall of the train and not the strangers standing around and you clean them up as best you can with what you have, without losing your seat or leaving your belongings to the mercy of strangers. Babies don’t tend to follow an eat and shit schedule at all times. There are those times where you are in the most inconvenient of places and the worst happens. It’s embarrassing!
None of this makes me or any other harassed parent ”entitled” or bowing to their child’s needs. It makes us considerate – I know I would rather endure half a minute of stinkiness than a screaming child (including my own!) on public transport.
So, Kelly-Rose, before you open your mouth and judge other parents for making split second decisions, how about you hold your tongue and think about the ‘why’ before bashing.