tr.v. pre·judged, pre·judg·ing, pre·judg·es
To judge beforehand without possessing adequate evidence.
Ever since Joseph was born I've had to deal with people's attitudes, advice and general nosiness. Something about becoming a parent makes you public property. I found it really hard, and I overshared. Looking back I should have just lied. "Oh a brand new baby" - no well actually he's 4 months old - cue opening the floodgates, questions, prejudgements, attitude. I should have just said "yes". No matter how disingenious it felt, just say yes.
But now, 2 years on, I'm still in this boat of people making rash judgements. I am the most friendly, open person, if you want to know something, just ask me, I'll tell you happily. But don't judge what you don't seek to understand. It's annoying, and its hurtful. I've had two occasions in the last couple of weeks that have just made me hopping mad. And I never know what to say, or how much to say. If I am too brief, I get interrogated with lots of closed questions and snappy judgemental comments. If I say too much, I get upset, Joseph picks up on it and it all goes wrong.
Situation one, I was at messy play with Joseph, it's a small group of mums with toddlers. Unfortunately for me, nearly every single toddler in attendance is an older sibling, and the babies attend. Anyway the person who was running the session was chatting to me and another parent, saying "oh you have the kids in old clothes, but yours are getting trashed". I laughed saying "I'm wearing a maternity top, as I won't be needing them they are fair game for being wrecked!"
Well I was not prepared for what happened next. "I thought Joseph was an only child?" this woman said, raising an eyebrow at me. "Why yes", I replied, he is. "And will always be". She started on at me "Well that's quite selfish isn't it?" I looked around for support, no one who knew the story was within earshot. I explained "I have 80% chance of having another premature baby". She glared "well, being premature isn't that bad is it?" So there I was, covered in jelly, angel delight, paint and playdough thinking "come on Kylie, explain and don't cry, and really, don't hit this woman, its not worth it".
So I explained the story, and she understood and started saying about what a precious gift Joseph was and blah blah blah. If she'd just said at the beginning "oh why aren't you having any more?" then we could have avoided the whole scene.
I find it hard now that Joseph's comprehension and language are so good, I don't want to say too much. I want to explain about his birth and our decisions over time, I don't want him to know, until he's older, about my feelings, and the fear that he nearly died, and I think that's fair enough.
The second situation was at a party. Joseph had got mucky out (the comfort blanket) but then decided to play outside. There were other parents supervising, and I got mucky to put him away before going out to watch Joseph. I felt I had to pick him up and put him away, as he could be mistaken for a rag and thrown away, in which case my life would be over.
An older lady, presumably a grandparent scowled at me "that baby must be supervised there are children playing out here". I explained quickly that I would be right there but needed to put this away first. She said I was irresponsible allowing my baby out. I looked and Joseph's friend was playing out, without direct supervision. I said to her "what about that little girl there, her parents aren't watching her". And she snapped "but she is not a baby, she's over 2."
I smiled and said "well, actually, not wanting to be rude or anything but Joseph is a month older."
I don't know what I can do, put mascara and blusher on him and make him look older? Put him in a t-shirt that says "I'm older than I look?" He was fine outside, climbing, running and playing with the other kids, he didn't need me there, not for those 2 minutes. Again the whole exchange could have been cut short "How old is he, is he ok playing on his own?"
I've just got business cards printed to promote my blog when out and about. I am seriously considering passing these randoms a card and saying, go read this, and email me with any questions!
How do you deal with random comments and unwanted advice?