Smile, Chuckle, and Walk Away

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.

0 thoughts on “Smile, Chuckle, and Walk Away

  1. Oh, I so totally know what you’re talking abouton this one. Remember Dorothy? Arrrgh. I so know what you’re talking about.

  2. Oh, I so totally know what you’re talking abouton this one. Remember Dorothy? Arrrgh. I so know what you’re talking about.

  3. Ohhh, I could so go off with you on this subject! This very last Sunday i was in the hall chatting with a friend on my way back to RS after nursing Arden, and I mentioned to her how I hated when people, mostly elderly women, are appalled when your babies don’t have socks on (Arden was not wearing socks or tights and her cute leetle feet were exposed, it is true.) Not two minutes after taking my seat the woman next to me “kindly” reprimands “Oh, she must be so cold! Why isn’t she wearing socks?” I answered that she was fine and we were lucky that I got to church dressed at all. She was smug and after handing Arden off to a friend so I could make an announcement, returned to find baby securely wrapped in her blanket, feet covered of course, in the arms of smug woman who hands her to me saying that” now she was warm and snug and that babies tend to sleep better when they aren’t cold.” OooooH!@ Not to mention when people warn you that your children are about to fall out of the shopping cart- that one also drives me crazy. And you know what, Logan has fallen out of the cart, on her head, and came out w/out an ER visit or even a band-aid. If they are so concerned perhaps they should offer to take your grocery list and do your shopping for you, you know, so your family won’t starve to death or something. Okay I’m done.

  4. Ohhh, I could so go off with you on this subject! This very last Sunday i was in the hall chatting with a friend on my way back to RS after nursing Arden, and I mentioned to her how I hated when people, mostly elderly women, are appalled when your babies don’t have socks on (Arden was not wearing socks or tights and her cute leetle feet were exposed, it is true.) Not two minutes after taking my seat the woman next to me “kindly” reprimands “Oh, she must be so cold! Why isn’t she wearing socks?” I answered that she was fine and we were lucky that I got to church dressed at all. She was smug and after handing Arden off to a friend so I could make an announcement, returned to find baby securely wrapped in her blanket, feet covered of course, in the arms of smug woman who hands her to me saying that” now she was warm and snug and that babies tend to sleep better when they aren’t cold.” OooooH!@ Not to mention when people warn you that your children are about to fall out of the shopping cart- that one also drives me crazy. And you know what, Logan has fallen out of the cart, on her head, and came out w/out an ER visit or even a band-aid. If they are so concerned perhaps they should offer to take your grocery list and do your shopping for you, you know, so your family won’t starve to death or something. Okay I’m done.

  5. Okay, I’m laughing (and crying) right along with you on this one. The smug woman in Leah’s comment would have tempted me to violence, I’m afraid . . .

    I do just have to say, though–as bad as this problem of unsolicited parenting advice here is in the States, it is NOTHING (and I do mean NOTHING) compared to the way people are in Russia! (Probably other European countries, too, but I don’t know that firsthand.) In fact, it’s not just parenting advice they give you, but advice about EVERYTHING, and they DO NOT rest until they feel you have accepted and will act on their “wisdom”.

    The worst experience I had was when I was there on my mission, and my senior companion decided to wear shoes to church instead of boots when it was cold/snowy outside. These people started on her, and, when she basically just “smiled, chuckled, and walked away”, they started on ME! They told me that it was my responsibility to MAKE her be more responsible for herself, and that I should not allow her to leave the apartment without being dressed properly. Um, yeah. A totally different cultural idea about who is responsible for whom and to what extent . . .

  6. Okay, I’m laughing (and crying) right along with you on this one. The smug woman in Leah’s comment would have tempted me to violence, I’m afraid . . .

    I do just have to say, though–as bad as this problem of unsolicited parenting advice here is in the States, it is NOTHING (and I do mean NOTHING) compared to the way people are in Russia! (Probably other European countries, too, but I don’t know that firsthand.) In fact, it’s not just parenting advice they give you, but advice about EVERYTHING, and they DO NOT rest until they feel you have accepted and will act on their “wisdom”.

    The worst experience I had was when I was there on my mission, and my senior companion decided to wear shoes to church instead of boots when it was cold/snowy outside. These people started on her, and, when she basically just “smiled, chuckled, and walked away”, they started on ME! They told me that it was my responsibility to MAKE her be more responsible for herself, and that I should not allow her to leave the apartment without being dressed properly. Um, yeah. A totally different cultural idea about who is responsible for whom and to what extent . . .

  7. The sad fact is it doesn’t go away just because you grow up. I have had numerous people at church comment on my socks. I don’t know why people focus on my feet (I don’t think I am that ugly), but they do, and they are very concerned if they are not the right color, look faded, or God forbid have a hole in them.

  8. The sad fact is it doesn’t go away just because you grow up. I have had numerous people at church comment on my socks. I don’t know why people focus on my feet (I don’t think I am that ugly), but they do, and they are very concerned if they are not the right color, look faded, or God forbid have a hole in them.

  9. OMG, I’m totally laughing at this because my hubby jokes that I’m a magnet for this type of people. No matter where I go (church, library, store, etc.) SOMEONE will always say SOMETHING to me regarding my kids! With my first three I let the comments get to me, but with my last one, I’ve learned to do just “smile, chuckle and walk away” like you do; mainly because that’s all I can do. 🙂

  10. OMG, I’m totally laughing at this because my hubby jokes that I’m a magnet for this type of people. No matter where I go (church, library, store, etc.) SOMEONE will always say SOMETHING to me regarding my kids! With my first three I let the comments get to me, but with my last one, I’ve learned to do just “smile, chuckle and walk away” like you do; mainly because that’s all I can do. 🙂

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