“Does your mommy know that you are going to hurt your back in that stroller?” is the question my ‘well-meaning’ neighbor asked my 7 month daughter on Saturday afternoon. My daughter looked blankly back at my neighbor unsure of how to respond. Her typical ‘da da’ or ‘ta ta’ didn’t seem to fit the situation but the neighbor was looking at her expectently for a response.
I was standing behind my daughter quickly sifting through my possible retorts. Here are some of the options:
- “Actually I bought this stoller specifically to harm my child’s back. I want to support the chiropractic industry.”
- Bursting into tears and sobbing, “Am I a bad mommy? Have I scarred her for life?”
- Slapping her
Since my neighbor was not addressing me (and was avoiding eye contact), I decided to ignore her remark. As we continued the conversation, I was still overwhelmed with the passive-aggressiveness of the statement. She obviously had an opinion about my stroller choice but she didn’t have the nerve to address me directly.
A few minutes later I decided to address her directly and just asked, “So do you really think this stroller is going to permanently damage Becca’s back?” At this point, my neighbor started back pedeling pretty quickly. From what I could piece together (between her stuttering explanation and apologetic statements), the stroller I was using wasn’t ‘meant’ to be used for long periods of time and that a neighbor once criticized her for using a similar stroller. I explained that I wasn’t using the stroller for long periods of time and wondered why people felt the need to criticize others (my neighbor wholeheartedly agreed!).
As I write this post, I am still wondering about the rampant need to give unsolicited and judgemental advice to other parents. Or even feel the need to make very odd comments. It is really amazing!
I have had a woman yell at me to put a coat on my daughter because it was cold outside (I was going from one office to another in a building- no need for a coat). In one afternoon, I was told that my daughter was either dressed too warmly or not warmly enough — can I at least get a consensus? I have been told that she is “too big”, “Are you feeding her too much?” or “too tiny”, “Is she getting enough to eat?” I have been told that she has “thunder thighs” and that she has “jowls” (what?!?!).
Most of the remarks are silly and downright idiotic but some of them hit the “mommy nerve”. This is the part of me that worries that I am making the “right” choices for my daughter.
- Am I feeding her enough or too much?
- Should I have invested in a more expensive stroller?
- Did she spend too much time in the Jolly Jumper?
- Is she outside too much or not enough?
When I am out with Becca, she definitely receives a lot of attention. She is at a very interactive stage and people enjoy talking to her (I know her smile melts my heart) and overall the attention is positive. But once in awhile, I am astonished by the comments people make.
I would love to hear about other crazy comments people have heard.