A good friend of mine is pregnant. Excited to have found out she’s having a girl, my buddy waited for Thanksgiving with her family to share her baby’s gender.
“It’s a…girl!” she proudly announced.
Instead of congratulating her, her family was quick to tell her how difficult girls can be as teens. Her child isn’t even born yet and she’s already hearing bad news. “Oh girls,” her mother said with a sigh. “They can be really challenging in high school.” And by challenging, she meant miserable.
Over lunch a few days ago, my friend relayed the story of the baby-gender announcement gone awry. Still reeling in disappointment, she couldn’t quite get over how it all went down. “It was so passive-aggressive,” she confessed.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her, the passive-aggressive parenting comments only get worse. Because in all honesty, once you become a parent people think they can say anything to you.
There’s nothing easy about being a parent. Yet, every Tom, Dick and UPS Man thinks they can chime in with “helpful” (and by helpful I mean totally not helpful) comments, criticisms and advice. But these helpful friends and total strangers wouldn’t dare lob a direct kid-related insult a Mom’s way, so instead they do it with a smile as if not really saying something bad at all.
As the Mom of two kids, I’ve been on the receiving end of endless passive aggressive input. Whether it’s the Mother-In-Law comment on post-baby weight gain, or a friend accidentally insulting my kid, it’s insulting none-the-less.
Listening to my friend’s baby name story, it occurs to me that maybe we could all use better manners when it comes to our friends with kids. Just because we are parents doesn’t entitle us to criticize others. Even if we do it with a smile on our face, passive-aggressive is still aggressive.
The Dictionary Of The Most Passive-Aggressive Things To Say To A Parent.
What They Said: Your son needs a break.
What They Meant: The kid is a nightmare.
What They Said: She has a hard time controlling her impulses.
What They Meant: Crazy kid. Does whatever she wants.
What They Said: We’re going to counsel you out.
What They Meant: Your kid is getting kicked out of school.
What They Said: Your little sure girl sure has a lot to say.
What They Meant: She never shuts up!
What They Said: It’s sweet your son is so connected to you.
What They Meant: What a clingy kid.
What They Said: You’ve really got your hands full!
What They Meant: Your kids are totally out of control.
What They Said: This kid doesn’t need any sugar, does she?
What They Meant: Tasmanian devil!
What They Said: Your child doesn’t seem like a good fit here.
What They Meant: Your child doesn’t seem like a good fit anywhere.
What They Said: He sure knows a lot about dinosaurs.
What They Meant: Your kid never shuts up about dinosaurs.
What They Said: Hmm, how sweet your daughter still wants to play with dolls.
What They Meant: Isn’t she too old for dolls?
What They Said: I just love how your generation let’s little boys have long hair.
What They Meant: Cut the boys hair for goodness sake. He looks like a girl!
What They Said: Good thing you’re not worried about your kids getting cavities.
What They Meant: Your kids are getting cavities. Right now.
What They Said: Don’t worry she won’t go to college with a pacifier in her mouth.
What They Meant: Get rid of that pacifier or your kid is going to go to college with it.
What They Said: I’m not saying this to be judgmental.
What They Meant: I’m totally judging you.
What They Said: When our kid is sick we don’t give her antibiotics. We just let her work it out.
What They Meant: You’re a terrible parent for giving your kid antibiotics.
What They Said: We believe that discipline is good for kids.
What They Meant: You don’t discipline your kids enough.
What They Said: It’s so great how you let your daughter pick out her own clothes.
What They Meant: What the hell is that kid wearing?
What They Said: You look tired.
What They Meant: You look tired.
What’s the most passive-aggressive thing anyone’s ever said to you since becoming a Mom?