Tuesday, 3 February 2009

If I want your advice...

From the moment it became obvious I was pregnant (and hadn't just eaten a huge lunch) people were very generous with their advice about pregnancy and parenting. I guess at the stage it was all kind of new so I could smile sweetly and nod and thank them for sharing. And it didn't seem to matter how dysfunctional a person was they still always felt the need to share. So helpful.
And then I had Jack and the advice kept coming. The lovely thing is that it's not friends and family that feel the need, in fact it's far more likely to be people that I barely know. A woman that I was in an aquarobics class with once or twice, strangers in parks and other mothers. Some people are just being nice. Some are simply clueless (Don't leave it too long to have that second baby - Oh gosh that hadn't occurred to me!) and others are a special breed that are trying to spread the gospel of their own particular brand of parenting. There's one mother that I met at the library and she loves to give me advice. Her first tit bit was about how children's books are so confusing for children because the animals are not life size. What? I tried to extricate myself from that conversation as quickly as possible.
Since that day she's had me in her sights and has made lots of helpful suggestions. Last week I ran into her at the supermarket and got a barrage of advice and questions. The tricky thing is that she doesn't always listen to the answer though it's hard to know when this will happen. In a short period (though to me as I stood there like a rabbit in the headlights and Jack quietly stomped on every banana in the trolley, it seemed to stretch on forever) she covered playgroups, toilet training, day care, the need to 'get out' and THE EVILS OF TELEVISION WATCHING. It was at this point that I made my excuses and scuttled away. To the DVD aisle. No just kidding. I hurried off to buy chocolate.
She's a particular brand of mum, a career mum and she thinks she's doing a fantastic job and she probably is. In a time where it seems so many mums don't feel confident about what they're doing that's great but if I want her advice I'll ask otherwise no thank you. Career mums take everything so seriously. They wear the baby vomit brooch with pride and will talk for hours about their gifted child's (they're always gifted) bowel movements. They are the ones that delight in sharing the horror birth or breastfeeding stories and watching with pleasure as a new member of the 'club' squirms in discomfort.
S has suggested that I use his line, "If I want your advice I'll pull the chain," but I'm not sure if that would work so I'm going to try the avoidance technique and see how it goes. If she corners Jack and I I can always tell her we have to go so we can watch Days of Our Lives and (childishly I know) revel in her speechless horror for just a moment.

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