When I was pregnant, people were so nice to me in public. If I was shopping at a store, people would hold the door for me or offer to help me with my groceries. Yes, even in Stockton. A neighbor saw me working in my garden and offered to help me pull weeds. I loved it and thought, “Wow, this is a nice change.”
Now that I’ve popped the kid out, I am still seeing some kindness but also a lot of criticism and judgment. So, people thought I was good enough of a mother while the kid was still in the womb, but now that she’s out, they’re watching me like I’m Susan Smith or something.
While grocery shopping at our neighborhood market last week, I picked up a basket of fresh strawberries. My daughter loves them and just couldn’t wait to grab one and dig in. I always carry a bottle of water with me, so I rinsed a few off and dried them a bit with my shirt. A worker in the meat department also offered to rinse them for me. So nice, right? And where there is nice, evil lurks in the dark shadows, ready to pounce.
We wheeled up to the checkout counter and loaded our groceries onto the belt. A woman behind me saw my 2-year-old nibbling on a strawberry and gave me a disgusted look. I turned away so as to avoid eye contact and her extracting my good soul. Then, she evilly croaked out, “Children at my school ate a bunch of strawberries like that and got salmonella. You should be more careful.”
Now, y’all know me by now and know what I was thinking, and it was not good, nor was it polite. For some reason, I decided to speak with less of a cutting tongue (I know, no fun) and give her a more gracious reply. “Thank you for your concern. I did wash them though,” I met her eyes and said with a sweet smile before turning back around.
Then, oh boy, THEN, the evil female being took it to the next level. Uh, huh! Oh, yes she did. “Really. Hmmm.” And it wasn’t a question. It was pretty condescending. Oh, what fun I could have had. I don’t know what’s wrong with me these days. I didn’t put her in her proper place as I should have. I could have said, “She’s eaten poop, bugs and other stuff, it’s good for her immune system.” Or how about, “Well, I don’t want her to get sick. I have a lot of dishes for her to do.” Another came to me later, pure poetry: “Eh, I can always make more babies if she dies.”
I can understand wanting to be helpful, but what was this lady thinking? This kid is 2. She’s lived this long, so, I think my hubs and I are doing a pretty good job. Our daughter can nearly recite her ABCs, she sings and dances, has only been sick once and really does help me clean my floors. She’s gosh darn perfect, and I think I can take most of the credit. I don’t need to convince this woman or anyone else of my sound parenting.
So, eat it, evil ones.