Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Who asked you?

I am going to preface this story by saying that I am not a person who takes unsolicited advice well.  I have been very blessed to have both parents and in-laws that do not provide me pearls of wisdom unless I am actually asking for it. If they did, I do believe that our relationship would be a whole lot different than it is today.

Let me set up the scenario for you.  A few weeks ago, I went shopping with my son.  I had a couple of things on my list that I needed to look for but no time limit for this outing.  Connor was in the cart and had been promised that we would go to the toy section right after I looked for one of the two things I needed to find.  I had placated him with some gum and we were strolling through the aisles, each of us doing our own versions "Ohhh, lookit that!"  I got one of my required items and we headed toward the toy aisle.  On our way, Connor found something that, after we picked it up, made him say "I really don't want to go to toys anyway."  After making sure that my son was certain about his statement, I look for my second item and then proceed to browse.

After a couple of aisles of browsing, Connor had become bored with the item that he had grabbed and started using a whiny, demanding tone with me. He was saying, "Toys" as though it was a direct order and, as I mentioned before, Momma doesn't take well to being told what to do.  I got down to his eye level and explained to him that we would not be going to the toy area until he learned to ask nicely and make better choices with his behavior.  Connor, being my son, is also is not very fond of being told what to do and insists "Toys. Toys. Toys."  This demand doesn't get loud, it just isn't a question and isn't something that I plan on giving in to.

I reiterate my statement about making better behavior choices and said that, if he could control his behavior for two aisles, then we would go to the section he wanted to visit.  He sees that I am not going to give in, but gives a few more whiny statements just to make sure I know he's not happy about it.

While I am trying to ignore the whines, this kind-looking woman walks up to me, touches me on the arm and says, "When my son was younger and I went shopping with him, I would go directly to the toy section and get him a toy to play with in the cart. That way, he was entertained while I was able to do my shopping."

Now, I'm not so intolerant of advice that, should her statement have stopped there, I wouldn't have had a "Oh, what a lovely idea, nice lady. Thank you for thinking of me and my son," feeling about what she had to say.  But Grandma Nosyface just had to go and stick some jabs in at the end.

"You can't expect a boy that little to just sit there while you do your shopping. He's too young to be that patient."

Yes. She. Did.

What I would have loved to have done is give that woman a piece of my mind starting with "just who do you think you are" and ending with "and furthermore, you old bat."  Unfortunately, my body is allergic to confrontation.  My hands begin to shake, my face gets flushed, and my voice resembles that of Katherine Hepburn in her later years.  It's a reaction that frustrates me to my core because, although my brain has a lot of things that it wants to say to this woman (read: Jerry Springer-style flip out), my body is not going to let any of those things out in a voice audible enough to make a difference.

After I had gotten myself together, I actually went to find this woman so that I could give her some food for thought about giving strangers parenting advice.  Lucky for her, she had already left the store, giving me something to stew about with absolutely no chance for closure on this incident.

So, I'd like to know:  Have any of you ever been approached in public by a stranger who thought they'd give you some "helpful" advice about how to handle your child(ren)?  How did you react?  Have you ever been the advice-giver in this situation?

1 comment:

  1. It's such a rare occasion that I'm sans kids - I've got my blinders on when Im in a store. I guess she was trying to be helpful but her tone and choice of words were tactless.