We dropped in to see you earlier, but it appears that you weren't in. Probably out working, I imagine. Shouldn't you be at home like a proper mother? Oh no of course, we forgot, you are a single mother. We wouldn't want the likes of you eating up the welfare budget with your fecklessness and irresponsibility. Some of us had the good grace to do the right thing, you know. We don't see why the state should be sponsoring your ignorance of contraception and inability to hold down a relationship.
Oh no, sorry. You didn't need contraception, did you? We understand that you're a single mother by choice. Well, who knows what goes on these days. We can't keep up with these modern phrases, but we understand that this means you couldn't get a man, so you bought a baby. Is that right? You probably deserve our pity, but then you're getting our taxes in child benefit, so we imagine that's probably sufficient compensation.
Anyway, the reason we dropped in to see you today is because we have had reports that you are still breastfeeding a toddler. Almost two years old, is that right? The neighbours are up in arms. He'll be off to university before long, and still crying for his mother's breast. That really wouldn't do. Oh, that's if you can afford to send him to university. You are a single mother, after all, and university fees are going up all the time. But anyway, two years old? I trust that this is not happening in public. One wouldn't wish to embarrass the delicate sensibilities of the more elderly members of the parish. Then again, we would be disappointed to hear of it continuing in private either. What happens behind closed doors is none of our business, of course, unless it relates to child welfare, in which case that's everyone's concern. We wouldn't want another embarrassment like Savile, and all good upstanding citizens know that breastfeeding a child beyond the age of one is tantamount to abuse. Clearly you're just doing it for your own gratification. It's not as if there is any nutritional value that cannot be provided for by a good honest substitute like semi-skimmed.
And while we're at it, we have also heard reports-as yet unsubstantiated-that you are co-sleeping. Have you not read the NHS guidelines on this? Children should not be left to sleep in an adult's bed. Who knows what could happen? We won't touch on the subject of abuse again, but what we will say is that there are all sorts of known dangers, including heavy quilts, pillows and even headboards, which are known to cause significant danger to a sleeping child. We do hope that the child in question is not left unsupervised. Come to think of it, we hope that he is not constantly supervised either. That is known to lead straight to attachment problems and so-called "mummy issues" later in life. By the age of two a child should be encouraged to be independent, not relying on the parental bed for comfort.
We have also heard reports from concerned residents that the child in question has been known to continue to make noises well into the night, and that these noises include nonsensical babbling, occasional crying and even hitting sounds when he is permitted to start hitting things such as the headboard of the bed, and his mother's head. It is our opinion that the child should learn some discipline, and should be going to bed earlier. We have had reports of the child still being audibly awake at such shocking times as 9.30pm, 10pm and even 11pm, and conversations have been overheard which involve you-his mother-whispering "go to sleep," "time for beddy-byes"and "no hitting Mummy on the head" being stated repeatedly. We would like to remind you that a decent hour of bedtime is a requirement of all nicely behaved children, and you are doing your son a great disservice if you fail to have him tucked up in bed, bathed, storied and fast asleep by 8pm at the very latest. We fail to see how being a single parent can be a hindrance here, as you have no man to keep happy, and therefore should be able to dedicate your full attention to this matter.
While we are on this subject, I would again like to draw your attention to the small matter of infant nutrition. It has come to our attention that your child was seen yesterday in a public place eating cake, which was being fed to him from the hand of his own mother. We would like to point out that certain members of the public were outraged by this, and saw fit to contact us regarding this matter, pointing out that all decent parents should at the very least be carrying several different varieties of healthy snacks to cover all possible emergencies and food groups. We are led to believe that your son has a few difficulties eating his dinner, and frequently throws it onto the floor, which we see as a severe indictment of your parenting skills, or dare we say it, lack thereof. We also believe that ladies should keep a clean house, and allowing a toddler to throw food is a detriment to this end, as well as disrespectful to those in this world who sadly go without, and at the very least, extreme bad manners. We demand that this is rectified immediately.
The Parenting Police
p.s. We will be back in a few weeks to ensure that the problems outlined above have been corrected. We wouldn't wish to have to press charges.
For more sarcastic commentary on family life, and being a parent in an (ahem) "unconventional" setup, please feel free to visit my blog http://www.singlemumspeaks.com