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Pacifying your inner chimp for world peace

8:45:00 AM DC Daddy's Wine Time 2 Comments Category : , , , , , , ,

Despite the worldwide moratorium on unsolicited parenting advice (UPA), many people persist in giving it no matter the wrath they may incur. In fact, justification for intrusive comments is generally unwarranted given the
nature of beliefs in general. Having a belief in something puts us on the moral high ground, and talking anyone down from there is virtually impossible. Trying to talk sense to them only strengthen beliefs and drives a wedge further between the high ground and reality.

Such is parenting.

This last point is fact of life, a cosmological constant if you will, that probably pertains to all sorts of beliefs. But let's not slip down this tangential slope, we're a parenting blog.

But not all UPA confrontations need release the holder of self-righteous anger: our inner chimp
She threaded her way through the construction workers but I thought nothing of it. At the last minute I noticed her veering towards us.

“Is this slide hot?”

“Eh? No, it’s mostly been in the shade.”

She either didn’t hear me or believe me as she proceeded to touch the slide with the palm of her hand, checking my facts.

Oh, I thought, here we go.

“Yeah,” I repeated, still smiling so as not to seem aggressive or dickish, “it’s not hot.”  

Unfazed, she gave a lengthy explanation on how children can overheat in the sun, qualifying it by the examples of her two small grandsons. I agreed with her politely but not overly chatty, hoping she’d get the picture that superficially I appreciated her concern, but I wasn’t in need of her wisdom. Look lady, the child is 3+ years old and it’s still alive, isn’t it?

But, it didn’t matter how I reassured her, she still seemed reluctant to leave, adding more and more bits of advice to the dying conversation. As if she could save my child from my careless parenting.

She's probably just concerned, said my superego.

Maybe she does this to parents of both sexes, my ego suggested.

Or, piped in my id, maybe like all the other assholes, she felt that a father needed extra advice on how to keep his child’s sensitive backside safe from hot summer slides.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been accosted by a member of the opposite sex who’s apparently concerned about the health and safety of my child. It happens.

I recall a nice middle-aged woman who’d suggested, quite knowingly, that I hadn’t learned to interpret my 3 year old's gibberish. I’d tried to inform this woman that my daughter could use full English sentences; I couldn’t understand her because she was actually speaking gibberish.

Others have made suggestions from proper swing pushing to stroller usage to even discipline. 

Ah, men are such dolts.

I suppose my righteous annoyance at these social infractions is justified, and I’d be within my rights to either be openly rude or short so they’d get the point. In politer words, I could remind that them that I don’t need to be told how to raise my child.

The primate part of me would be satisfied with this outcome, or any outcome where intruders into family time were reminded of their intrusion.

Afterwards, I could come home and regale my wife, friends, and family of my “win” down at the local park. I'm such a badass, a social justice warrior. I am woman… I mean, man… No! I’m Stay At Home Dad, watch me fucking mansplain! 

Our interaction would've reached that awkward moment where all pleasantries ended, both of us aware that the jig was up, polite social masks dropping. This confrontation was fated the moment she sought to step up to me and advise me on the nature of hot slides and heat exhaustion. Listen, I had no choice but to put her in her place!

Down with civility!

The poor woman, jaded by the experience, would’ve reconfirmed some stereotype she had of me, fathers, men, possibly the world or the cosmos and gone home angry and frustrated. After recounting the confrontation to her friends and family, my myth as the shutter down of UPA would grow and all would fear me.

She'd avoid me in future situations, thusly chastised.

Of course, I did none of this.

Her intrusion was passive and suggestive, not a declarative demand. We engaged in polite conversation, exchanging life stories, while my annoyance sat way in the back of the theater, unperturbed. I learned that she’s probably an overbearing grandmother who’s also trendy, and she learned… Well, she didn’t learn anything about me, but she walked away with a smile, possibly satisfied with the interaction. Both of our days were improved by our positive exchange and the overall joy joy feelings were increased.

At 95+ degrees outside, I can live with that.

Or she went home, greatly disturbed about incompetent men raising little girls…
I’m not suggesting that we all bury our righteous indignation as it’s sometimes warranted. But, I want to point out that both of our mutual days took a more positive route based on our interaction. All it took was for me to swallow my pride and tell my inner chimp to fuck off.

Though, for the record, I draw the line at passive advice, indirect suggestions, and musings. Tell me what to do and my chimp will start throwing shit at the movie screen.

Now, have a nice day.

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2 comments

  1. Replies
    1. I was going to say you've grown up to be a wonderful parent but let's omit the growing up or mention of adulthood and stick with how proud I am of the wonderful parent and writer you've become!

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