Those of you who read my blog regularly or who follow me on Facebook or Twitter know that I am very opinionated on pretty much any topic in existence. That is just my nature. However, I try to also be tolerant of other opinions and ways of life, so I practically never give my opinion about something in a conversation without being asked for it, unless you are a good friend of mine whom I trust.
Something I keep encountering as a mother is other mothers pressing their opinions regarding child rearing on me. I have come to dread gatherings of women whom I do not know or don’t know very well because I know that the conversation will inevitably go towards a subject I am not comfortable with. Even though I would never think to ask another mother why she was doing xyz with her child, other women don’t seem to mind such questions at all.
It is always the same- I attempt to stay away as far as possible from subjects that are controversial in my opinion, but no matter how hard I try to avoid these conversations, they end up with the other ladies telling me exactly how they handled xyz situation and why. “Well, my daughter did ABC, so I had to do xyz. I had no other choice…” – followed by an indefinitely long monologue.
I would say that 95% of the time, I disagree with what I am being told. But I just smile and nod, smile and nod. They tell me about things that make me cringe on the inside and I can’t find the heart to tell them what I think. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. And because, at the end of the day, I really hate confrontations. They make my stomach hurt and keep me awake at night (even if the people I am having a discussion with are strangers on FB…)
Am I doing the wrong thing? Should I be more outspoken about my views? I’m not sure. On the one hand, I would love to share e.g. what I have learned about being a mother. On the other hand, I have learned that most people really aren’t interested in hearing different opinions and just want to believe that they are right in pretty much all they do.
So for now, I am choosing to continue my smile and nod technique. When I attend gatherings with multiple mothers, I do my best not to listen too hard to what they are telling me that I MUST do to avoid my child being too needy, too detached, scared of everything, not scared enough, etc. I am learning to accept that I really don’t fit in very well anywhere, be it politically or regarding my parenting. Hopefully, I can keep myself emotionally detached enough so that I won’t have to consider becoming a hermit.