Ever since I’ve had children people have been butting into my business, even strangers. We all get the occasional unwelcome advice from an in-law. But somehow having children makes you and your kids open game for criticism. Even though I generally try to shrug it off, these people are very capable of letting you know just how incompetent and irresponsible they think you are.
People are always freaking out about my kids getting hurt while they are playing. They are constantly telling my kids to be careful and telling me that they “just don’t want my kids to get their fingers smashed in the door”. I always just say, “Hey, that’s why we have insurance.”
Once I was in a school parking lot on a Saturday when hardly anybody was there. My big boys ran out into the mostly deserted parking lot and a woman so graciously informed me that my boys were running into the parking lot (which I was well aware of). “I know,” I said nonchalantly, “They’re OK.” to which she responded, “Oh, I just didn’t want them to get hit by a car.” What I thought was, Really? I was hoping that they WOULD get hit by a car. But what I said was nothing. I was well aware of the situation and as their mother had deemed it safe. I had kept my children alive this long, I really didn’t think I needed this woman to keep them going the rest of the way.
The public scrutiny is not just reserved for times when the kids are in inevitable danger. The other day when I went to the gym it was cold outside, but my girls wanted to wear sundresses. Since it wasn’t below 32 degrees I let them, figuring it wasn’t worth the battle. But of course someone at the gym had to pipe up and ask incredulously, “Do they have coats??” I just smiled and chuckled and said something about how they wanted to leave their coats in the car, and then we went on our merry way. A few days later I overheard this same woman commenting to another lady about what my girls were wearing again. Give it up woman! They like to wear sundresses! They haven’t frozen to death since the last time you saw them so they probably aren’t going to today. Contrary to popular belief, I do provide my children the opportunity to be warm and if they reject it, that’s their problem. It’s not going to kill them. If it was 30 below then yeah, I’d force them into wearing a friggin’ coat (not to mention other clothing as well), but it wasn’t that cold and we were going from the warm building straight to the warm car and from the warm car straight into the warm house.
That same day it had started snowing a little (I swear it was only 37 degrees) and my girls were eating the freshly fallen snow off of the ground like they always do. A different woman behind us shouted in an appalled tone, “she’s eating the snow!” This time I just pretended that I didn’t hear her. Who ever died from eating a little snow? Sure it was off of the ground in the parking lot, but she was just eating the top layer.
I know most of these people are well-intentioned. But it’s still annoying and sometimes rude. I know that I am not a perfect mother. But I am a pretty good mom if I do say so myself and I think I do my kids a favor by letting them make their own choices when it’s not going to seriously hurt them. I also know that unwanted advice should just be shrugged off. It’s hard sometimes, but I guess the best thing to do is just smile, chuckle and walk away.