As sheltering in place continues in many locations, tensions may be rising with your neighbors if you share an outside space like a backyard (as someone on the fourth floor of an apartment in New York City who relies on public parks, those people can just shut up and enjoy their little patch of nature). In the case of one judgmental a**hole on Reddit, the sounds of his neighbor’s crying and screaming baby is ruining his peaceful quarantine. Here is his tale of woe, which he starts by shaming the mother for not being in school or currently employed.
“Our current next door neighbors moved in last year. It was an older (50s-ish) couple and their college-age daughter,” he begins.
“They were nice enough,” the OP continues. “I assumed the daughter was going to be attending the nearby university, which would’ve been fine for a family-oriented neighborhood like ours, but she’s not going to school and I don’t even think she’s had a job this whole time either.”
“But soon enough I notice a guy I hadn’t seen before suddenly living there too. I’m still friends with the lady who lived in the house before them (their landlord) so I asked her if she knew about the new guy and she said he wasn’t on the original lease but he was the daughter’s boyfriend who’d gotten her pregnant. I wasn’t thrilled, but I let it go.”
Because your neighbor’s reproductive life is any of your business?
“Fast forward to now when everyone’s sheltering in place and things got claustrophobic. Our backyards are separated by fences only, so we can hear each other pretty well. I make sure my own kids aren’t too rowdy or loud in the pool when they’re out there, but the daughter next door had her baby about a month ago and the baby SCREAMS.”
What? A baby screams? You don’t say.
The daughter takes her baby outside and comforts the little one on a swing, which is exactly what you are supposed to because most babies love being rocked. When my kid was a baby, he loved going outside. It would soothe him immediately. Anyway, basically his dude is mad because his neighbor is being a good mother and soothing her child.
But we’re not done yet. It turns out this mother was breastfeeding her baby in her yard, which OH MY GOD, SCANDALIZED the OP’s teenaged sons.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I overheard my kids (13 and 15 year old boys) snickering about seeing her breastfeeding the baby from one of our second story windows. It made me feel like the daughter wasn’t really respecting the neighborhood.”
I have no patience for folks who criticize moms for breastfeeding in public places. It’s natural, normal, and healthy to nurse your baby, and sometimes babies want to eat when they are outside. It has nothing to do with respect. It has to do you the OP’s antiquated notions of shame, and it sounds like he is raising his sons to sexualize breastfeeding, which is harmful.
Anyway, this guy decided to confront the new mother who is learning to care for a baby during a pandemic and tell her she’s ruining the neighborhood.
“She started making excuses about being stuck inside all day and wanting to give her baby a more ‘stimulating environment.’ I told her she’s not doing the baby any favors by letting it cry outside and ruining the neighborhood for everyone.”
The new mother was upset, and her boyfriend confronted the OP a few days later and “demanded an explanation from me since apparently his girlfriend found our conversation ‘upsetting’ and cried. I told him exactly what went down but it didn’t help. He even accused me of racism (because his girlfriend and her family are black) and I told him that he was being ridiculous and I hope they both grow up for the sake of their baby.”
“I tried explaining my side of things but they’re not having it. I know they were willing to suffer to keep the peace but I feel like I did the neighborhood a favor even if this one neighbor and her family don’t like me anymore.”
Redditors chimed in to offer their opinions on the situation, and they were overwhelmingly outraged over the OP’s behavior with the new mother.
“It’s a freaking baby. Babies scream/cry. This though, makes you a major asshole: ‘The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I overheard my kids (13 and 15 year old boys) snickering about seeing her breastfeeding the baby from one of our second story windows. It made me feel like the daughter wasn’t really respecting the neighborhood.’ So your kids are peeping on a woman breastfeeding in her backyard and you’re blaming the woman,” said user DaiZzedandConFuZed.
“‘Respecting the neighbourhood’ lmao that’s the most boomer thing I’ve ever heard,” said Wolf5698.
“Breastfeeding is both natural and legal. If the mother is legally allowed to be in that space, she can legally breastfeed. Walk me through how that’s disrespecting the neighborhood. Parent your own kids before you worry about hers. YOUR kids were peeping and being creepy. Oh my gosh! A one month old baby cried?!?! The horror. Good thing your perfect little peeping toms were super quiet. Babies cry. If you don’t want to hear your neighbors, live somewhere there aren’t neighbors,” TXpheonix said.
“Having a newborn who just screams and screams no matter what you do is awful. You’re recovering from childbirth, adjusting to a new normal, your hormones are going nuts and to top it off, you can’t make your baby happy,” said user RealisticVoice8. If it helps her or the baby even a tiny bit to sit outside, then she deserves to sit outside. I feel so sad that this woman had to deal with her asshole neighbor on top of all that.”
“The fact that you shamed this woman into going inside, a person who is obviously pretty young and is raising an infant during one of the most stressful, difficult, and scary times any of us have collectively experience honestly makes me feel like you’re a bit of a sociopath. She can’t take her baby to the park, Can’t get a babysitter or a nanny, can’t even go to the movies to chill out while her boyfriend watches the baby. She’s stuck in there, 24/7, with a small crying infant. You suck for shaming her for needing to go outside both for herself and for her baby’s sake. What else can she really even do right now. Don’t you think she’d rather take the baby for a walk? Jesus, think outside yourself for like 30 seconds,” said double-park.
There you have it. An entitled a**hole who is attempting to police a new mother’s body as well as her infant in her own home during a crisis.