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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Shutterstock/Elizaveta Galitckaia
Column 'Don’t judge a commuting parent. Smile at that noisy toddler'
I sound begrudging but the harsh looks and disapproving glances made me angry, writes Geraldine Walsh.

MORNINGS ARE A strict routine for myself and B. We’re racing against the clock for B to drop me off at the bus stop before they continue on their journey and A is dropped off at Great Aunts.

I realise that we have it much easier than others though.


This morning I’m sitting on the bus listening to the gentle giggles and chats of a mother and her two-year-old son. There are a few glances, or should I say glares, in the mother’s direction when the little one’s voice gets a little louder than an early morning commuter would like.

It’s 7.30am and half the buses occupants are hoping to catch forty winks before they peel themselves away from their warm seats to make the walk into work. Once they disembark they can stroll to the coffee kiosk and linger in the lobby catching up with co-workers.

I wonder what time their alarm went off at? Did they get their morning jog in, have their muesli breakfast with a hot cup of freshly brewed java? Did they slowly choose what tie to wear and what shoes would match their outfit?

Did they leave the house in plenty of time to catch the bus? Did they have time to have a shower that lasted longer than 30 seconds because a toddler was crying for them?

I sound begrudging

I sound begrudging, and I know that everyone has stresses in their own lives and their own careers but the harsh looks and disapproving glances this mother received on her commute to work made me angry.

They simply weren’t necessary. This child was not being excessively loud, rude or obnoxious like some commuters we meet. He was not shouting or crying and was quite well behaved for the forty-minute journey.

It was as though a two stone, little human being strapped in a stroller made these commuters nervous. Preparing themselves for some outrageous toddler flip or a full on terrible twos tantrum.

Busy mornings

I think of the morning she has had. Not only did she have to do her own hair, apply a little makeup, get dressed, possibly grab a slice of toast and milky tea, she also had to wake her two-year-old at an early hour, dress and feed them, convince them to sit in their stroller and bring them for a long commute.

She had to make sure her paperwork was in order everything was in her bag ready for the first meetings of the day. And the toddler bag, packed to the brim with essential toddler paraphernalia, which we all know means including the kitchen sink.

She had to have everything ready and heaven forbid she forget anything or all hell could break lose, at home or in work.

Don’t judge a commuting parent. No one likes the commute but we have to do it. Smile at that toddler. Nod and smile at that parent.

Geraldine Walsh is a mum of two and a freelance writer, editor and award winning parenting and lifestyle blogger at Over Heaven’s Hill.

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