A complaint I’ve heard from fathers – especially the primary caregiver sort – is the degree of scrutiny they sometimes receive from strangers of the female persuasion. Though I had never experienced this myself, it sounded quite credible to me.
Today is the first time I experienced it. There was an older couple of ladies behind me in line at the supermarket making goo-goo eyes at the baby. When we were outside, one of them informed – not in those precise words – that I was handling the unloading process wrong.
My process is: Take the cart to the car, unload the groceries, return cart, take baby from cart and carry her with me back to the car.
Her order was: Put the baby in the car, start the car with the air conditioning or heater on, unload cart, and then return the cart.
The concern, I suppose, is that the baby was cold while I was unloading the cart. The weather outside was actually quite pleasant, though. Starting the car is something I might consider doing if it were -20 or something, or the weather was just miserable, but I haven’t seen a need to do that just yet. Otherwise, the baby is more likely to get upset at my absence than she is at the temperature.
Like I said, she didn’t precisely tell me that I was doing it wrong. She just told me how “mothers” do it. She then asked if my wife did it that way and whether or not my wife knows that I do it that way. En route to telling her the story of this encounter, she now knows that I do, in fact, do it that way. And as to whether or not she does it differently, she doesn’t get the opportunity to because taking the baby while going grocery shopping is something I do and she does not have to.