Ah, the general public: full of unsolicited opinions and powerless against the temptation to share them. (See: Twitter.) Every passing stroller is an invitation to coo and point out the myriad ways you are totally blowing it as a parent. Here’s a list of some of the most obnoxious comments Priss & Vinegar has been on the receiving end of:
1. “Is Daddy babysitting today?” Characterizing a father PARENTING his own children as “babysitting” makes me as irate as Gwyneth Paltrow when she finds crumpled McDonald’s wrappers in Apple’s backpack.
2. “Did you know she has paint/stickers/strawberry jam on her shirt?” Yes, I had noticed my child looks like a traveling art exhibit that walked through the food fight scene from “Animal House.” While I’m generally pretty meticulous about my kids’ appearances, stuff happens: maybe it was messy art day at preschool, or my kid wanted to see what would happen if she jumped on an applesauce packet, or perhaps it’s just because SHE’S TWO. Unless you’re pointing out that she’s covered in blood or feces, color me uninterested.
3. “You’ve got your hands full!” Oh my goodness, thank you for pointing out how overwhelmed and inept I look while handling my own children. You’re too kind. Really.
4. “Next time, mommy will be more careful.” A popular, passive-aggressive, GenPub diss is “talking” to the kid about how lousy their parents are. When my newly-walking daughter had an especially ugly forehead bruise from taking a digger into our front door, a woman in front of Noah’s Bagels stopped me so she could have a chat with my kid about how “Mommy” had “learned her lesson.”
5. “Is he yours?” This question sucks because what they’re really asking is “Why don’t you look like your kid?”, or alternatively, “Why is someone as young/old/incompetent as you responsible for that kid?” The answers to these questions are rife with mind-your-own-business material: He’s adopted. I used a donor egg. He’s my stepchild but we don’t use those labels. I got pregnant young. I got pregnant old. I had a hard time getting pregnant at all. WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THIS AGAIN?
6. “That baby looks cold!” GUILTY. I remember countless trips to grocery stores and shopping malls when my mother and I would quietly hiss to one another: “That poor baby should be wearing socks. SOCKS!” First-hand parenting experience has since taught me that babies are serial sock removers, so if their tiny feet are cold it’s probably their own damn faults. See also: “That baby needs a hat!”
7. “A girl and a boy. You’re done!” I’ve been getting this one on the regular since my son’s birth. Yes, we’re thrilled to have the experience of parenting a son and a daughter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our family is complete. I’m also a little creeped out by the suggestion that my husband and I should be satisfied with having successfully replicated ourselves. What if it’s important for our daughter to have a sister? What if we’d like four children? This isn’t China, people. Whatever “done” means for this family is decidedly NOT your call.