Do moms get parenting advice pretty much everywhere they go?
Because if you’re a stay-at-home dad, people will be sure to let you know you’re doing everything wrong seemingly everywhere you go.
It gets old. Fast.
From having someone try to actually grab my baby away and “teach” me how to hold her at play group to someone tsk-tsking my menu decisions at a nice restaurant, I’ve seen and heard it all. I get it on some level, I do. People are trying to be friendly or helpful or maybe just start a conversation, and it might come out wrong or be taken in a way that wasn’t intended. But there are times when it’s perfectly clear: they don’t think you know what the hell you’re doing, and the world has appointed them to show you.
In these moments, I usually offer a congenial “thanks” and go the other way. But there are times — boy, are there times — when I want to let the snarky comebacks fly. Usually I let it fly on the way home, however, because I don’t have the mental capacity to come up with a good zinger in the moment or care to engage in verbal warfare in front of the kid.
The French have a phrase for this: “Espirit d’escalier,” or wit of the staircase, because you always think of great things to say while walking away. So I wanted to pair some of my favorite tidbits of unsolicited advice I’ve received over the years while out with my daughter with the things I wish I had said. If you can think of better retorts, and I’m sure you can, I’d be thrilled to hear them … for the next time someone harasses me at the mall.
Slideshow photos: Morguefile
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