Opinions are like A-holes…

I’m sure everyone one of us has had at some point, an encounter with what I like to call THE KNOW-IT-ALL-NON-PARENT.

This isn’t to be confused with the “secretly knows it all” person (who may be a parent, grandparent or non-parent). Those are the ones that give you the eye or make snooty comments under their breath. Those, I can handle. I expect it. Heck, I am guilty of that one. I did it more before I had kids but even now, I will think comments to myself when I see something I don’t agree with, or share them with whoever I may be with at the time. I’m pretty sure this one is unavoidable – everyone has an opinion and we all love to believe that our opinion is the right one.

No, I’m talking about the strangers who seem to have absolutely no problem coming right up to you to explain how you should be parenting your child. This is on my list of most shocking & annoying things people do, right under “strangers who have no problem touching your pregnant belly without permission”. I think you know the type I’m talking about.

Over the past 6 years, I have received more comments, lectures & advice than you can imagine. Typically the grocery store seems to be their location of choice, although it’s happened in other locations as well. Most recently for me, I had a very typical encounter.

I was grocery shopping with my 2 year old and right there in the cereal aisle, she had a complete meltdown! We were buying Honey Nut Cherios and silly me put the no-name version in the basket to try and save $2. She wanted the one with the honey bee on the front. Well explaining to a 2 year old that it’s the exact same cereal but in a different box doesn’t go over so well. She is a visual kid and she knows what she wants, it’s right in front of her and she can’t understand why I’m not giving it to her. Complete meltdown – threw herself on the floor, arms & legs flailing and the echo of her screaming ringing several aisles over. It wasn’t pretty.

Now, normally I do not give in to terrorists, and if this had been my older child, I would have been able to reason with him and explain. In this case, we were running late and in a way, I completely understood why she was frustrated so I calmly put the box back, got down to her level and asked her to go get me the one she wanted. The tantrum immediately stopped and between sobs, she managed to hand me the more expensive box of cereal. Best $2 I ever spent! 

Sure enough, I am approached by a woman who pretty much corners me and starts a lecture about how she can’t stand by and just watch as yet another parent teaches their child that tantrums and screaming is how to get what you want. She then uses the magic phrase “IF I HAD KIDS, I WOULD…”

I am not in jail. I was not arrested. I didn’t even get escorted out of the store. Shocked? I am. I got home and for hours was fuming. How someone could be so disrespectful and just walk up to a stranger in public like that and tell them what they are doing is wrong.

I wish I could say that was the first time I was approached like that but it’s not. I have been given lectures about my choice to limit my kids juice intake, how I’ve handled other tantrums, how my kids talk to adults. I heard “advice” from complete strangers about how to get my daughter to start walking, how to get my kids to hold their forks properly & how when they have kids they will never take them to a restaurant (ha!).

The best yet was the one who said I should teach them not be so shy around strangers, as she tried to offer my son candy and he looked at me for permission before accepting. Sure lady, I’ll go ahead and teach my kids to accept candy from strange people, and while we’re at it, I’ll make sure they know that it’s completely safe to go in that truck with the man who has puppies.

I believe women instantly gain a thicker skin once that 2nd line shows up on the pee-stick. As much as you could let this stuff bother you, take it all in stride and just know, one day, that person may have kids of their own – and you can secretly feel joy for the day that their child throws a tantrum in the cereal aisle.

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4 thoughts on “Opinions are like A-holes…

  1. Oooooh man I can’t believe a stranger spoke to you like that.
    Admittedly, I have my fair share of opinions, but I have 4 kids and know when to keep my mouth shut (for the most part).
    the only times I have stepped out is when I am witnessing abuse. Yes, I have gone up to mom who has just hit her child in public and offered to help or “stay by the grocery cart while she counts to ten to calm down”. Nervy I know, but I can’t stand by and watch and most times the parent has thanked me…others well I won’t share that in public 😉

  2. Oh I love people jerk comments. Usually I just smile and nod and continue on my way. I don’t know that it’s having a thicker skin or just not wanting my kids to see Mommy lose it on a stranger. lol

  3. OH MAN!!! You know, people without kids are the best parents the world has ever seen. They have all the answers, know exactly how to handle every tantrum, sniffle, potty training, teenagers………. at least in their own little universe!!
    I was a better parent before I had my daughter, lol. (I always thought I would be a strict parent -turns out I’m pretty easy going with most stuff, lol.) I remember thinking nasty thoughts about the parent who couldn’t control their crying, yelling, arm waving, stomping child. Now I just give sympathetic looks and wish the poor parent an extra helping of patience.
    Yes, it would definitely serve said person right to have a child one day, and for that child to throw the worlds BIGGEST TANTRUM in the middle of a very public place. 😉
    I think what people without children fail to realize is you have to pick your battles. So what if one time you spend $2 more to save you some sanity! Next time when she throws a tantrum because she can’t have a $40 toy you’ll be all the more prepared to deal with it. 🙂
    As for the bee on the box -maybe next time she can make her own bee to decorate the box with and she can get excited about a craft idea? Boy, it’s so easy to be constructive about things when they DON’T happen to you, you’re NOT in a rush or in the MIDDLE OF A STORE!!! LOL
    You’re doing great Mom!!! Keep up the good work. 😀

  4. That’s crazy! I have no idea what I would do or say in that situation. I would hope I would try to stay calm as those types of people will always be that way no matter what! As long as you are confident in being the best mom you can be – stick to it! Don’t let anyone try to chop your tree down. I wonder what would happen if you responded with something along the lines of ‘well your parents did a crappy job raising as you turned into a RUDE human being!’

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