Unsolicited Advice With A Smile

I saw you mama.  I saw your unwashed hair and the dark circles under your eyes that matched the ones I carried just a few days ago.  I watched your toddler screeching, leaning over the side of your shopping cart insisting on a toy that you refused to buy.  Dad probably would have given in, but they always do.  Mom understands that we cannot give into every indulgence, otherwise the three shopping trips in one week would result in way too many toys that the toddler will forget about the second you get back home.

I browsed the spice aisle, trying to decide if I was going to get garlic powder or granulated garlic, pretending I knew the difference when I heard someone walk up to you and say…

“Sounds like someone needs a good whooping!”

Now, the whooping part will stand out to many of you.  Everyone swears that children don’t need a spanking anymore (although trust me… they’re fine… if they can survive half the crap we do to them… a smack on the rear is not going to destroy them).  I never intended to be a parent who had to resort to that, but it has happened a couple times in the last few years… and they deserved it.  It destroyed ME… but they’re fine.


What stuck out to me was just the idea that someone, who doesn’t know you, doesn’t know your child and most certainly has their own business to mind… thought it was cool to impose their amazing parenting on you.  To bestow their vast knowledge of the rules of raising children on to you… aren’t you grateful?  I mean, she must have received The Manual when she became a mother… and judging by her hair, I’m going to guess was sometime back when milk still came in glass bottles and sliced bread wasn’t yet a thing.

I watched as you looked up, breaking away from your humiliated trance over the giant stuffed bear and smiled more graciously than I would have and responded…

“Oh, she’s just tired.  It’s about to be nap time!”

And what happened next is something that I had to hold back every urge that was yanking me toward that old bitch.

“Well then you shouldn’t be out shopping.”

The.  Fuck.

I wanted to say something.  I could see you needed SOMEONE to say something.  But, I’m non confrontational and probably would have burst into tears after doing so… but I WAS going to go and offer some words of support once that witch left you alone.  But by the time I got my own kid to stop trying to lick the shopping cart, you’d disappeared.

So, I’ll say my piece here.

You have NO idea what is going on in someone else’s home.  I, for one, often have to scoop into grocery shopping during a time that Diem is tired.  She is a marathon napper… if I don’t take my opportunities when they arise, I won’t get anything done.  She wasn’t shopping during lunch or dinner time.  She wasn’t dragging her child to the store to get booze… there were diapers and goldfish in her basket… two things any mother knows are ESSENTIAL.

It is not ANYONE’S job or right to tell another parent what they should do with their child.  Don’t tell them what to feed them, how to discipline them, what school to go to, what actives to be involved in… NOTHING!  Because something I have learned over my 31 years, is the ones who offer the most unsolicited advice are the ones who have the most issues with their children, their marriage, their workplace… etc.

Here are some reasons you CAN stick your nose in someone else’s affairs:

  1. If you are specifically asked.

Thats.  It.

And, once you do… move on.  Don’t stand around to make sure it’s followed, because chances are, you’re not the only one she asked and I can guarantee it is not the same as anything else she’s heard.  So, now she’s left with one question and twenty different “solutions” to her problem.

Also, if anyone thinks spanking a child over a toy in the grocery store is going to end the tantrum… crawl out from under your delusional rock.  And believe me, nobody likes dipping into nap times.  We live for them.  We plan our life around them.  We yearn for the moment they rest their little heads and sleep for more than thirty minutes so we can sit in quiet, or read, or clean a dish without a person clinging to our leg.  Or, I don’t know… take a shower without an audience.

That’d be nice.

The only thing worse than this scenario that I have witnessed, is when a mother has more than two kids and gets the, “You do know how those are made don’t you?”

I can feel my face contorting in to a sarcastic grimace and I bite my tongue because my mother taught me that we can’t always just say the first thing that comes to mind.

I am lucky enough that my kids are decent to me in public and typically don’t do things that warrant such advice, however I did have that one time where an old lady in Hobby Lobby gave me the side eye after I told her that Cori’s father also had dark hair and brown eyes when she saw her curly blonde hair and blue eyes.

Now, if you excuse me, I have to go make up with my own kid because she’s pissed I don’t like it when she repeats the time to me over and over…and over again.