“Helpful” Old Ladies

These ladies are in every country. Mostly here they tell me to dress my children more warmly, which I have decided is largely cultural as the temperature never drops below 55 in the daytime, so 60 is cold, and I do force my kids to wear coats when it rains. Today’s featured lady however is typical of nosy know-it-all ladies found everywhere on the planet. (Admittedly I have not been to everywhere on the planet, so if you live somewhere there are none of these ladies, feel free to point that out. You know, like Antarctica. Maybe I will move there.) Granted, most of them mean well, but seriously. I was going to tell it to you in story form, but I think I will write her a letter, just in case she finds my blog.

Dear “Helpful” Older Lady,

Today we met you while we were walking to the fruit market. It is about a 25 minute walk for small feet, and having already walked half hour to the grocery store several hours earlier I was content with our pace. Halfway there we crossed you on foot and smiled at you. (New rule #1: don’t smile at seemingly innocent ladies.) We turned the corner a minute or two later and suddenly a car sidled up to us. I instinctively pulled the kids away, but when I saw it was you I relaxed a little. I figured you were going to ask us directions, because surprisingly enough I get asked for directions quite a lot. Instead you tell me you have a piece of advice about my daughter for me. I assume you are going to tell me that there are scary bad guys around or something of the like, because as it had been raining earlier, both my kids had warm jackets on.

You proceeded to tell me that Sammy’s crocs are not safe. Similar shoes are really popular here, and so I assume you mean that they will fall apart or something. I perhaps was a little condescending when I told you that mine were from the US and just fine for feet. But then you gave me a 5 minute lecture on how they will ruin my daughter’s feet. What I really needed to do was get some boots with arch support you said! As you will recall, I was pretty polite. I said ok, thank you, about a million times. Then after you decided to tell me that Sammy’s shoes were the worst you took a gander at Harmon’s feet and determined his firefighter rain boots were also awful and that he also needed some boots with arch support. Again I thanked you for your advice. I should now also point out to you that I also ignored the fact that I was wearing the exact same shoes as Sammy (you didn’t seem to be concerned for my feet!), and made no explanation to you about what I felt was proper footwear and what shoes my children actually wear on a regular basis.

I thought our conversation would never end, and wondered how I would get away from you without being rude. Because I only like to be rude when it is really warranted, and although you were pushing the limits, I was feeling kind. But then you had to put in one last plea, didn’t you? Well, let me give YOU some advice for the future. The next time you stop someone on the street to tell them what improper footwear they have on their child, do not use the following line: “but she is so beautiful, don’t you want her to grow up to have good looking legs?”

In case you need further explanation I will help you:
1. My daughter is two. And although I hope she grows up to have legs that are strong and healthy that she likes, I don’t really think that worrying about how good looking my daughter’s legs will be in the future is any of your business.
2. You simultaneously told me how ugly you thought my legs were, as I happened to be wearing a skirt and the same shoes as my daughter. (It was laundry day, otherwise maybe I would have been wearing pants and you would not have even noticed us at all!)

I am sorry if my parting words were in an elevated volume, but I do mean what I said: They are MY children. Maybe you were offended by my walking off, but I was done with our conversations. Oh, and beware, because if you see me on the street again you can be assured I will have something to say about your shoes.

From the bottom of my sole,


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8 Responses to “Helpful” Old Ladies

  1. Elizabeth says:

    OH MY GOODNESS. Get a life, lady. You have lovely legs, anyway. And I bet her legs aren’t looking too hot.

  2. Karmen says:

    I hate Crocs, mostly because I find them aesthetically deficient. If you want your kids to wear them though, that’s your choice. Far be it for me to tell you what to do with your kids. More importantly, I would never go up to a stranger and lecture her for 5 minutes about something that isn’t my business.

    I realize this isn’t my blog, but I wanted to share a story about a nosey know-it-all. A customer came in the store while I was working and she tried selling an organic lotion line. I could tell she was new at this, but went from novice to jerkface when she picked up the lotion we were selling and pointed out all of the “poisons” listed in the ingredients. The worst part was her self-satisfied smirk after her “dangers of bad beauty products” spiel. I kept my mouth shut, because I didn’t ever want to be rude to a customer. But, if I saw her again, I would give her two helpful tidbits: 1. A sales pitch should never be confused as an opportunity to hop on your soapbox, and 2. Don’t piss off your potential customer by implying that they’re selling poison. Transaction denied.

    • kelsey says:

      I am always happy to hear other stories like that, because I am mostly jerky with only a little bit of nice in me. Also I am aware that many people find crocs very very very ugly which bothers me very little. While I don’t think they are the best looking shoe on the planet, I don’t find them horrifying, and their comfortableness is perfect for someone who otherwise only wears flipflops. I gotta put something on when it rains! :)

  3. Rachel says:

    “Arch support” = the biggest lie ever anyway!!!!

  4. Sarah says:

    I would tell her, “No comprende, hosebeast!”

  5. Cole says:

    I have gotten similar advice from Karmen…which as stated above, she feels about Crocs. I use them as my indoor/slipper shoes as padding etc. Karmen saw them once and screamed at the top of her lungs and said “EW take them off!!! Take them off!!!!”

    Take advice with a grain of salt. That would indeed bug me too if someone talked about my kids that way. Well, just pray that you never see her again or next time the “kindness” might not be. :)

    Your doing a fantastic job as a momma!

  6. Leslie says:

    I too have a REALLY hard time with people “offering” their advice/opinion. I snapped at my poor little sister-in-law because she kept freaking out about stuff I’d let Launa put in her mouth. My outburst was, “DO YOU SEE HOW HEALTHY MY KIDS ARE? They are hardly ever, ever, ever sick and I let them do things like this all the time. So, I’m their mom, I can decide about what to freak out about.” Poor girl got the brunt of a lot of people telling me what to do with my kids, when mine are super healthy, (and theirs usually are not…) So, totally hear ya!

  7. Penny says:

    Gee… this was a heated topic. Stand your ground girl, the old bitty. Love ya! AP

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