Is 'performance parenting' a thing?

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Is performance parenting a thing? According to this group of parents it totally is and nobody cares for it.

Parents started chiming in after a mum who goes by the name of 'Sallygoroundthemoon' started a new discussion on the parenting forum mumsnet about another mother who was loudly reading to her child in a coffee shop.

She asked if she was being unreasonable for being annoyed.

"I am currently in a coffee shop having a nice cup of tea and catching up on my emails," she wrote.

"However, there is a mum the other side of the shop reading stories to her toddler at the top of her voice, complete with pauses and shouts to make the toddler jump, silly voices and so on.

"I've now heard the same story several times and it is driving me up the wall, not to mention being on edge waiting for the dramatic shouts.

"It just reeks of 'look at me, I'm a parent don't you know and I don't give a sh*t about anyone else'."

She asked if the "nice coffee shop" was the right place for being so loud.

"Performance parenting… cringe cringe cringe," was the first response.


"Ugh – seen that many times. Parents who want to show they are parenting."

"Phew. Thought it was just me being grumpy and intolerant. We have now had a rendition of 10 in the bed (sung) and another book has just come out," the original woman replied.

"Yes performance parenting," said another person.

"I had this on the bus the other day including a recap of their whole day and where they're going for dinner.

"And reminiscing loudly of what a fun summer holiday they've had. All loud enough for the audience on the top deck and a few sneaky glances to see if she had our attention."

Another wrote: "I sat next to a woman on the train the other day reading her approx one year old the Guardian out loud".

"Give her a round of applause next time she gets to the end of the story, and shout "Bravo", another suggested.

"What amazes me with this 'performance' parenting is why do they think utter strangers are going to care whether they're a 'brilliant mum'?" wrote another.

So it seems performance parenting is a thing. I'm assuming it's when people loudly parent so others can judge them. Wait up. Isn't that all parenting? Aren't all parents judged all of the time? No matter what you do you can't win, right?

While most commentators expressed their annoyance out over-sharing loud, performance parents, there were some who were supportive of the mum.

"Maybe she hadn't noticed you (and the others) and just wanted to make the story fun for her child?" one wrote.

"This self-centredness is very tiring. "I am going for a coffee (to a public place but I demand everyone is quiet"".

While another said: "There have been threads this week… about how terrible it is when kids are given electronic devices and cartoons to watch to keep them quiet… now it's terrible to read them books yourself…"

"I get where you are coming from, I like reading peacefully in coffee shops too – but can we really expect parents with kids to sequester themselves in their own homes all the time and never go out except to soft play areas?"

Not sure you can ever parent the "right way".

This poor mum would have slammed either way, for giving her child an iPad or for actively engaging with her child in a public place. It seems the benchmark is forever changing.