Monday, November 7, 2011

Smile and Nod, Smile and Nod...

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.


  1. I understand how you feel. I have many times used the smile and nod technique because I hate confrontations. Its so sad that so many mothers have become closed minded to one view and one opinion. You will find yourself some where and not feel so isolated. Just remember that you and only you know what is best for your children and there is no book nor any right or wrong way to do parenting. None of us are perfect and you children are loved and healthy and are just fine!

  2. Wow, you sound exactly like me! Why do some mother's take such pleasure in telling you everything you do is wrong?! I'm the same way, I try not to judge and at the very least keep my opinions to myself as I know too well how it feels to be judged on my parenting choices. My son is almost 4 and I still feel like other moms are looking down at me for things like breastfeeding "too long" or letting my son sleep in our room "too long" or not doing xyz with him. I just try to remind myself that my son is happy, confident and very attached to his parents and everyone who meets him thinks he is an absolute I must be doing something right :)