Advice from Non Participants

April 27, 2015

^could not find any big camera pictures of her with the pacifier^
According to my friends, as a mother I seem to have drawn all the weird, random comments from strangers into my orbit.  I did promise in a eeeeeeeearlier post that I would talk about the frustrating stuff people, who have nothing to do with my situation, feel free to say to me.  Condescension is thrown in at no extra cost.
This one time, I was in Wal Mart (because, yes, I go there sometimes and its gross but whatever) and I'm checking out while my small child is wailing in her stroller. It was way past feeding time and I inserted her pacifier just so I could get out of there and feed her ASAP. First, the cashier shoots me this knowing look and says:
"I know what she wants... her mama's milk."
In that really patronizing sing-song-y kind of tone... I don't know how to properly reflect it here but I find it insufferable coming from a stranger. If that wasn't irksome enough (don't ever pretend to know more about someone's baby than her mother... you're always wrong) this **woman** launches into a full on finger wag saying that she hates it when people (pointing at me) try to shut kids up using pacifiers.
Normally I can't really think of snarky, brilliant things to say in the moment, and this time was no different than any other time. I just spat out:
"Oh, so we're judging now are we?"
Which admittedly makes... minimal sense at best. Especially if you're trying to be scathing and stupefying (which is my hope every single day of my life). Regardless of the wording, I think my tone conveyed the intent. Which went something like... oh excuse me, person-I-have-nothing-to-do-with, how is it that you can go around trying make me feel like crap as a WAL MART CASHIER?"
I left feeling frustrated and indignant. The encounter vexed me so because I actually HAD a thing against pacifiers! Backstory: I aspired to be reasonably crunchy and crunchy mamas don't use them. Because breast feeding. Also they look dumb in pictures (vanity) and its annoying to try and replace them all the time (laziness). But then I relaxed because my girl had reflux and they soothed her aching esophagus. So plop the paci I did.
"Relax, Charity," I thought. "How you think this will go isn't how it will go all the time. Some
things you just need to let go because they're trivial and don't really matter. "
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Literally, everyone told me that when I was pregnant and even before. So I chose to be kind to myself and let my idealism slide. AND THEN THIS WAL MART CHICK COMPARES ME TO SOME LAZY MOM WHO DOESNT WANT TO FEED HER CHILD!
So that took weeks of resetting my zen and staying confident in my parenting choices. Thanks Barb.
Blah. Still kind of peeves me to this day if I'm honest so I thought I would write a letter to all strangers out there.

Dear Strangers

I'm not sure if you're aware; but as mothers in 2015, we have had the internet and Skype for quite a long time. This means that if we haven't been told whatever little nugget of *special wisdom* you have on deck for us by our own moms near and far (Mom, you're so smart and I love you), we've probably encountered it on the vastness of tips, wild claims and swear-bys that make up the parenthood section of the internet. Quite frankly, if we aren't asking a direct question about it, there is a 99.9% chance we have got it covered by research or asking the appropriate experts.   Relax, I will end up doing something that rubs your parenting style the wrong way, in which case, please gossip to your co workers about me 30 seconds after I leave about what a horrible mother you think I am, then get back to your day.  Why? Because you are a Non Participant.  You have nothing to do with me or my child.  Nothing of you is invested here which means your opinion is not welcome.  
I know you think you're somehow helping me, but I am not a startup coffee house that needs public feedback and critique to improve my scone flavour offerings. Grocery stores and malls are not an open Yelp review session. Your discourtesy is not tough love because, I repeat, you are a non participant. It will never, ever help us. It will always hurt. Because a large part of what I do, it craves approval. There is no reward, no monetary compensation for this job. There is no universal standard by which to gauge my performance. So you criticizing me, feels like a big mark against me and that sucks.
THANK YOU to the strangers who tell me how beautiful my baby is and how happy she looks, and how healthy. I don't even mind if you mistake her for a boy. Positivity is very welcome and I take no offence; baby features are incredibly hard to discern, especially for those who have been out of the game for awhile. Good comments, friendly greetings and uplifting speech will help my child thrive in a community and really makes this parenting job just that much easier for me. Just don't touch her without my permission. (definitely another post on that one)

Respectfully yours,

Moms Who Pacify Occasionally 


Come back next week! The next instalment of "Advice from Non Participants" is pretty epic. 

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