When Halfway Between (10 & 20) was in kindergarten, he wore a 3-piece suit to school. He carried a brief case. He insisted the lady who cut his hair "make it look like a Blue Angel." He wore no socks.
He hated socks, claiming they "made his toes all curly!" I purchased socks with characters on them, thin dress socks, seamless socks. . .all to no avail. Every morning it was a fight over the dang socks. Finally, I decided that there was really no harm in letting him go without. (I hit the little loafers with an occasional shot of Lysol just to be on the safe side.) Otherwise, he cut quite the smashing figure for a guy who was only three and a half feet tall and sockless.
One morning on our way to class, we stopped to tie his shoe. As he lifted his pant-leg, one of the other teachers walked by and said, "MY GOD! That child has no SOCKS! I can't BELIEVE his MOTHER wouldn't make him wear SOCKS!"
I felt like such a heel. I mumbled something about curly toes, grabbed him by his little briefcase and made a hasty getaway. I was not always as blase' about the criticism of others as I am now.
Ten years later, we're back at the same elementary school and I exchange a wave and a smile with the same teacher on occasion. (I should tell her next time I see her that he now wears socks, although they are not always a matching pair. . .)
I share this story with you today, dear reader, to illustrate a point. No matter how competent you feel in your parenting decisions, there is always going to be someone who will question you. You really have to learn to let it roll off your back.
The truth is that people are constantly making judgements about others. Sometimes they are positive ("What a cute dress!") and sometimes they are not ("You let her go shopping in a torn-up, marker-stained Snow White costume??") I do it, you do it, it's human nature. Some of us have just learned to exercise more control and to be more aware of how our comments can affect others.
If you remember that the person delivering the admonishing remark is a person like you are, who has likely made their own share of bad calls (my Great-Grandmother used to say, "Consider the source!") it helps to take some of the sting out of their comments. And hopefully, when you feel compelled to pass some bit of "helpful advice" on to another mother, you'll remember to choose your words carefully (or perhaps just offer an encouraging smile instead!)
We are not, by virtue of childbirth, really expected to be perfect you know.
As a matter of fact, I could tell you a few stories that would knock your socks off!
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