So there I was last night shopping at Woolworths, late, cause there’s no-one there. Except for a daughter (in her late 30’s; possibly a mother herself) shopping with her mother (aged 60’s; migrant)

We did the cross paths on every aisle dance for almost the entire shop so I was dropping in and out of their conversation every few minutes.

Mother (broken English, high pitched, soft, vulnerable sounding voice)
“What about these rice crackers with the flavour?”

Daughter (perfect English, loud, direct, condescending tone)
“It’s plain crackers you need with dip, Mum. Not flavoured”

Next aisle.
Mum: “Buy this coffee?” (hopeful)
Daughter: “That coffee’s disgusting.” (disdain)

And so on and so forth…for every single aisle I overhear the daughter being rude to her mother. Her mother seems defeated. Even a little embarrassed when she and I exchange looks.

But the mother doesn’t bite back; she doesn’t demand respect. She just lets her daughter speak to her in that tone.

Now I don’t know anything about these people. The daughter may very well be justified in speaking to her mother like that. Or maybe she is just a bitch.

And even though the mother sounds vulnerable when she speaks English, in her native tongue she may very well give as good as she gets. I know my mother can certainly give it to me in Greek if she thinks I need a telling off. But when my mother speaks English, she sounds so sweet and lovely.

But if I had to categorise these people based on that conversation the daughter would be a rude, selfish woman that is acting more like a child than an adult.

The mother trying to be helpful but not knowing how.

How do you think strangers might perceive you if they overheard one of your five minute conversations?


  • At 2011.06.14 13:04, Daniela said:

    I try to be careful how I speak in public for that exact reason! Now to work on the same at home… 😉

    • At 2011.06.14 14:29, Maria said:

      I remember always being embarrassed about how my dad spoke in public. If something needs to be said, it can wait until home.

      Besides, kids can drive you bonkers. I’m sure it’s in their job description.

      Thanks for the visit

      Love & stuff
      Mrs M

    • At 2011.06.14 14:13, Cathy said:

      I’m not sure, but this post really made me stop and think!

      • At 2011.06.14 14:30, Maria said:

        Hi Cathy,

        It’s small things like this that can have a great impact.

        Thanks for the visit.

        Love & stuff
        Mrs M

      • At 2011.06.14 21:13, Marie said:

        I know I’ve had a few concerned looks from strangers when they catch snippets of conversations I’m having with my family &/or partner, not realising that the rough way we talk to each other is all very light-hearted banter – once or twice having to explain that we’re not Actually arguing.

        From the other side, I find the hardest ‘overhearing’ to deal with is when I hear parents talking about their children badly, in front of their kids.

        • At 2011.06.14 21:34, Maria said:

          Hi Marie,

          Parents bagging out on their kids within earshot bugs me too. Not cool at all.

          Thanks for the visit.

          Love & stuff
          Mrs M

        • At 2011.06.15 11:48, Miss J said:

          This post has really made me think. I say things to my Mum that I would never say to anyone else. I can be so brutal, and it’s because I know she loves me no matter what. Funny thing is though, that with my younger sister, who is one of my best friends, it’s different. She seems to be able to say really awful things to me that cut deeper than anyone I know, but I would never do the same to her.

          • At 2011.06.15 12:47, Maria said:

            Hello Miss J,

            Or we fall into the category that only you can criticise your family and no-one else.

            The thing about family is they’re generally the ones that will cut you the most. Even if you’re not particularly close, they can still cut you….because they’re family. There’s the unwritten law that they should have your back.

            Thanks for the visit.

            Love & stuff
            Mrs M

          • At 2011.06.15 16:20, Kleonaptra said:

            That sounds exactly like me and my mum!

            I have my reasons…and our relationship is much better now. As you say, mums give as good as they get, usually worse, they just know better than to show it in public!

            (Required, will not be published)