I had another post planned for tonight but I’m so irritated that I wanted to take some time to talk about an issue that I, as a parent, feel is very important. You may remember some time ago that I posted a gallimaufry edition of “Mad About It Mondays” where I touched on unsolicited advice as being one of my biggest pet peeves. We just got back from Walmart and….guess what?! We had the same, rude cashier. Only this time, instead of giving me unsolicited parenting advice, she directed her comments towards my child. Passive aggressive much?!
What the hell is wrong with people?
Let me preface this by saying that I know I’m not going to win mother of year. I’m not perfect and I don’t know everything there is to know about parenting but I do my best with what I have. I love my child and I try to raise her to be a smart, kind, independent, loving individual. At the end of the day, though, I have a toddler and toddlerhood comes with its own fair share of behavioral problems and frustrations. Going to the grocery store can be pure hell sometimes. My child does not cope well with frustration and giving her a pacifier to help her calm down in overly stimulating situations can be a god send. That, combined with her natural desire to run around and explore is why we give her a pacifier when we’re grocery shopping. She doesn’t get her pacifier at home very often (usually not at all) unless she’s sleeping or in the car. Obviously, unless you know my family…you wouldn’t know that which is exactly why you shouldn’t be making passive aggressive comments to children (so that their parents can hear) about something you don’t know.
In case you haven’t read the other post (which is linked above) here’s a back story. Last time we were in this particular cashier’s line at our local Walmart, she got on my case about letting C have a pacifier. I calmly explained to her that C had been teething (which is true). I didn’t really want to get into details with a complete stranger about my daughter’s behavior. Not only is it absolutely none of her business but it’s also something that my husband and I are working on. As parents, we’re learning how to help her calm down and understand her boundaries and it’s something that will take time but you really only understand what other parents are going through if you’ve been through it yourself and to have a young woman, who probably is not a parent, tell me that I shouldn’t do what I can to help my child remain calm is infuriating.
C has been getting better about being in public situations. It’s taking time and we’re not at the point yet where she’s easy to deal with and that’s okay…it is what it is. I know that my child is almost two years old and I recognize that we’re going to have to cut off her dependency (even if it’s only on a part-time basis) on her pacifier. I’m not an idiot but I also don’t need someone who isn’t qualified to be coaching me on parenting telling me what I should or should not be doing with my child.
Here are a list of comments that she made to my child this evening in front of my husband and me:
“You have such a pretty smile, I would hate to see your teeth all messed up from that binky…”
“You should try to get mommy to take that binky away…”
“You should donate your binky to a little brother or sister someday…”
“Oh, it’s 8:00, isn’t it bed time?!”
“You don’t need that binky…”
“Hopefully mommy will take away that binky…”
I said…nothing because I was furious and it’s better to be calm and quiet than to get into an argument with a total stranger and end up making an ass of myself. I’m still debating whether or not I plan to write to Walmart and complain. What would a complaint even accomplish? Not much. The problem is that there will always be people out there that think they have all the answers. There will always be people out there that speak before trying to understand a situation. Had this cashier approached me in a rational tone I may have left the store feeling a little different. The fact that she made comment to my child was totally inappropriate and made the situation worse. It’s okay that she disagrees with my parenting style…I don’t really care.
She can think I’m a terrible mother, she can think that I’m an idiot, she can think whatever it is that she wants to but when she addresses my child with those thoughts, it crosses the line. Pacifier or not, I think I’m a pretty good mom and I think my husband and I are doing a decent job at raising our daughter. This situation doesn’t make me question my parenting, it makes me question the tact and intelligence of the cashier.
For the record, she was wrong. The research I’ve done (and I’ll site Baby Center here) indicates that there’s really no hard or fast rule when it comes to giving up the pacifier. C doesn’t have any speech delays or issues and so we’ll wean her completely off when she’s ready…not when some stranger tells us we have to. Obviously she’s not going to have a pacifier at three or four years of age and it’s likely something we’ll start working on in the next few months but it’s not something that has to have been done by now and it’s not something that warrants the unsolicited advice from a stranger.
I think I might get that onesie for C to wear next time we go through that cashier’s line…