If you have a child, you have experienced this. It doesn’t matter if your child is 5 years old or 5 hours old. Getting unsolicited advice, in and of itself, is, at minimum, annoying. When, however, people try to disguise parenting critiques and advice as innocent conversations with my children, it makes me want to kick puppies. First of all, did I accidentally put on my cone-shaped hat with the word “DUNCE” stenciled down the front or did you forget to wear yours? When we were in the grocery store check out line and you looked at my infant son and said to him, in that annoying baby talk voice, “you should tell your mommy that you need to be wearing a hat”, are you so stupid that you expect him to relay this message to me or do you think that I am too stupid to recognize that you are critiquing me as a mother?
The thing is, this happens all the time. Truth be told, my own mother does it. (Don’t look so indignant, Mom. You know you do it. I love you anyways but, seriously, cut that shit out.) Where strangers get off, though, dishing out parenting advice and criticism in general to people minding their own business, I will never know. Why there are those that think it is acceptable if the criticism is delivered to children, in front of parents, is a total mystery.
For starters, haven’t these jackasses ever heard of how most parents try to teach their children NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS? Yet, it seems every time I take my kids anywhere, strangers are trying to strike up conversations with them. Honestly, I don’t really mind it, within reason. What has always shocked me, though, is how many strangers have offered my children CANDY! Two major rules of thumb: Don’t talk to strangers and don’t take candy from strangers, being broken by adults and right in front of my face. No, lady! You can keep your candy! And not just because I fear my 11 month old would choke to death on that peppermint but also because if my kid needs a snack, I am not going to go looking for a handout from some stranger in the auto shop waiting area.
A little insight: my 2-year-old could not care less about what his hair looks like. Even if he gave a shit, he is incapable of transporting himself to or scheduling a hair appointment. I am his mother and his father and I have decided that we think his little, long bowl cut is absofuckinglutely adorable. So, the next time you are taking my order at Denny’s and the urge overtakes you to lean over and say to my toddler, “Oh my! When are you going to get your hair cut”, don’t get upset when I shank you.
The next time you are standing in the checkout line and you tell my daughter, “Your mommy shouldn’t let you bite your nails or you’ll get worms”, don’t be surprised when I turn to your husband, standing next to you, and say “Your wife should mind her own damn business or she is gonna get her ass kicked in Wal-Mart.”
If you think my kid needs a nap, chances are I am aware that he needs a damn nap. Don’t talk to my kid to inform him that his mommy needs to get him home for a nap. He will adamantly disagree and now you have made the next five minutes of my life a little more of a hell because you said the “n” word to his face and he is going to express his opposition to your suggestion in the form of a Level II meltdown. You say it again, and it escalates to a Level IV/Code Red and I will be forced to respond violently. You just better hope it is not my nap time when you pull this shit.
If it bothers you that my 5-year-old opted out of socks with his tennis shoes, keep it to yourself. If you say to him in a “wittle” voice with “wittle” words that his mommy should go get him some socks, I am going to give you a “wittle” kick in the taco.
Mind your own business, people. You can go have your own kids and be a perfect parent and raise perfect kids. Please don’t interrupt me while I am busy screwing mine up completely with long hair and stinky shoes.