Unsolicited advice from Strangers

Yesterday my wonderful sister and brother-in-law took my children to go see “Wall-E” so my husband and I could get some rest. Seeing that we were minus 2 kids, we thought it would be a good idea to get some grocery shopping done with the one child who can’t talk. First we went to Old Navy because just giving birth 8 days prior, I had absolutely no shorts that fit me and they were having a sale. Next we went to Applebee’s for dinner because it was 5:30 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. Which is pretty stupid since I’m nursing and if I don’t eat my baby don’t eat. After dinner we went to Target and it was the best grocery shopping trip in months because I didn’t have 2 kids asking me for a million things while I tried not to go into pre-term labor from all the walking.

While we were waiting for our table at Applebee’s a rather annoying thing happened to me. My baby, only being 8 days old, was completely covered up in his carseat. My husband was trying to cover him up more when the lady sitting next to me was acting like she wanted to see him. So my husband being the nice guy he is gave her a peek. She said that he was beautiful or cute (I don’t remember which) and asked how old he was. When I said 8 days, this was her response (not exactly verbatim, but I didn’t have a notepad with me), “what! You brought him out in public with all these people. Try 2 months old, Mom.” And then she patted me on the back. First of all, I don’t like strangers touching me. Second of all, shut your freaking gob stranger lady. My response was, “this is my 3rd. I think I know what I’m doing.” After that we sat in uncomfortable silence until somone else was called to their table and she went and took their spot (probably to get away from the horrible mother she was sitting next to).

My husband said he had the hardest time not laughing, but my response was typical of my personality. What was I supposed to say? “Gee thanks lady, we should go home right now and you can take our table?” She was being rude so I felt perfectly justified in being rude right back. What in the hell makes her think that not only is she an authority on babies, but she has the right to tell strangers how to parent theirs? I wasn’t in a parenting class…I was sitting there minding my own business waiting for a table at Applebees. If this was December instead of June, there is no way in hell I would take my 8 day old baby out in public because of the RSV risk. But my baby was covered up and we weren’t letting 100 strangers hold him or breath in his face. And furthermore, the best way to get sick is to avoid germs.

And more to the point, this lady was probably 3 to 400 pounds. Did I go up to her and tell her that she best be ordering from the Weight Watchers side of the menu? No, I did not. And why? Even though my advice was helpful, it was unsolicited, and nobody likes intrusions into their lives by total strangers. It leaves me wondering…if I’m such a god-awful mother, how did my other two make it to 7 and 4 years old? It’s a mystery.

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