Marie Louise McConville: Busybodies should keep their unwanted parenting advice to themselves
I really can't stand busybodies.
To me, people who nosy and interfere in other people's lives are just pathetic and sad.
Personally, I tend to keep my business private and don't involve myself in other people's lives - so no interfering, offering unsolicited opinions or unwanted advice.
I remember when I first became a parent, everyone and anyone thought it was ok to tell me how to do things and correct me when they deemed I was doing something wrong.
More often than not I wanted to tell them to clear off but having been raised with manners, I simply smiled and moved on.
This week I found myself back in that unwanted spotlight, receiving unwanted advice from a total stranger who thought it was ok to preach to me and my child.
Waiting to pay for shopping in the local supermarket with Abbie - who has just turned three - someone I do not know thought it was perfectly fine to tell her that she shouldn't be sucking a dummy.
Now, let me tell you something about Abbie. She gave all her dummies to Santa at Christmas, except for one and now knows that if she loses this one, there are no more and she's fine with that.
However, when this lady made her comments to Abbie, I was so angry. Who does she think she is?
To be honest, I was on the verge of going off on her but didn't as Abbie was beside me. Instead, after I gave her a long, cold stare, I moved on.
What I should have said was: 'What business is it of yours?' or `Who made you the expert?' and I should have finished by telling her to keep her unwanted opinions to herself.
But I didn't. However, not 20 minutes later, in another shop, it happened again.
Another lady thought it was ok to tell Abbie that she shouldn't be sucking a dummy but this time, I looked and her and said: 'Did your children not suck a dummy then?' to which she replied: `I don't have any children'.
So why then do you think it's acceptable to preach to me about my children and my parenting?
I'll tell you why, because you're an interfering busybody.
Don't get me wrong, I know Abbie has to give up her dummy and so does she and by Easter, she will have done so but that's our business
And there must be something in the air because former TOWIE star, Ferne McCann, who became a mother to daughter, Sunday, just two months ago, has also recently spoken out about being constantly scrutinised as a mother.
The 27-year-old who said her sole focus in life is keeping her little baby 'healthy and happy' revealed that she is 'sick of women being judged continuously and, as a new mum, I have never felt so judged. Being a new mum is pressure enough without having my every move scrutinised and falsified.'
And she's right.
No-one has the right to judge someone else, especially someone's parenting and especially someone who has no children.
So busybodies of world, do us a favour and keep your opinions to yourself.
I don't care if you think my baby should be sleeping through the night by now or if you think my child really should be walking by now or if you're adamant that rash on my son's cheek is foot and mouth - keep it zipped.
I know what is best for my child - not you.
The other day I saw a picture of a baby on a clothing website who was wearing a bodysuit bearing the message `My mummy doesn't want your advice'.
I thought it was brilliant.
So, if you'll just excuse me, I'm off to do some shopping for the kids.
Maybe I could get a t-shirt too - `I don't want your advice'.
Fancy a night at the movies with one of the sexiest men on earth?
Fifty Shades Freed arrives at Movie House Cinemas next weekend and I have three cinema passes to give away to three very lucky winners.
So, whether it's a girl's night out, date night or just the perfect excuse to admire Jamie Dornan's perfect abs, Fifty Shades Freed promises to make your evening sizzle.
In the latest instalment, we join Christian – played by Jamie Dornan – and Ana – played by Dakota Johnson - as newlyweds.
Believing they have left behind the shadowy figures from their past, the couple are embracing their unbreakable connection and shared life of luxury.
But just as Ana steps into her role as Mrs Grey and her husband relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardise their happy ending before it even begins.
Fifty Shades Freed arrives at all five Movie House Cinemas at Dublin Road, City Side, Glengormley, Coleraine and Maghera on February 9.
I have three pairs of tickets for tickets for Movie House Cinemas to give away.
If you fancy winning a pair of tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for entries is Tuesday, February 6, 2018
(Q) Name the actor who stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades movies.
Normal Irish News Rules Apply
Concert - U2 have announced tour dates in Belfast and Dublin as part of the band's eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour. The band will play the SSE Arena on October 27 and the 2Arena on November 5 and 6. Tickets on sale today.
Reality - Reports claim Desperate Housewives actress Teri Hatcher has been signed up for Channel 4's first celebrity version of the Great British Bake-Off. Should make for interesting viewing.
Reboot - After 12 years off the air, the wonderful Charmed TV show is reportedly making a comeback with a feminist twist. I used to love all the magic and potions. I wonder if the original cast will make an appearance?
Bored - Does anyone else find ITV's Dancing on Ice really boring? I've given it a few chances now but I'm afraid it's just awful. Torvill and Dean are so wooden.
For Sale - S Club 7 star, Paul Cattermole has put his 2000 Best Newcomer Brit Award up for sale on eBay amid reports of financial woes. Oh dear.
Regrets - Titanic actress, Kate Winslet has revealed she has 'bitter regrets' over 'poor decisions' she made to work with 'directors, producers and men of power' in Hollywood.
The winners of the George's Marvellous Medicine are Siobhan Gilbride, from Maguiresbridge, Co Fermanagh and Joanne Trainor, from Downpatrick, Co Down
Easy Peasy Recipe
This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Easy Potato Bake
You will need:
4 potatoes sliced
300g diced bacon
1 diced onion
2 cups grated cheese
In a greased, ovenproof dish spread a layer of potatoes over the base.
Add layers of diced onion, bacon, cream and a handful of cheese.
Continue with the layering until the dish is full, finishing the top layer with a grated cheese
Cook at 180 degrees celsius or gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes or until top has turned golden brown
Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?
Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?
If so, then we want to hear from you.
You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:
Easy Peasy Recipes,
Marie Louise McConville,
113-117 Donegall Street,