In our home, it’s very clear. The rule is: nice words or no words. It goes back to what my mother always said: “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”. Inside our home, and out of it, our son is expected to use nice words. Because that is kind. When he doesn’t, and believe me, that happens, he is held accountable for that.
Being an older mom, you can be subject to opinions, and judgement. I’m used to it. I just don’t get it. Why do some people feel it’s ok to be unkind when they speak to me? My hope is that they just don’t understand that they are being nice.
Here are some of the random questions that strangers have asked me recently:
“Don’t you get tired really easily? I can’t imagine having a five-year-old at your age”.
I don’t think I tire more quickly than any mom dealing with an energetic five-year-old. And you know what? Your question is kind of rude. You may as well just say, “Wow, you’re a lot older than other moms! Do you need to sit”? A better choice would be to either A: keep your opinions to yourself, or B: say something like, “he seems so full of energy and life! You must be a great mom to keep up with him”!
“Wow. I’m sorry you had to wait so long to have a child. That must have been hard”.
You know what’s hard? Statements like the one you just made. When things happened for me is honestly none of your business. What makes this random woman at Target feel justified in saying such a thing? Random lady, I think you may want to check in with your own mom and ask her if she thinks what you just said to this stranger was appropriate. The truth is that everything happened just as it was meant to for me. I had a wonderful, fulfilled, career driven life before I married and had a child. I traveled, I enjoyed my friends and family. It wasn’t hard. it was fun.
Instead of inquiring about a strangers life choices, how about if you feel compelled to say something, you instead say: “How wonderful that you have such a handsome little boy/girl. Your heart must be overflowing”.
“I think it’s horrible that you’re not planning on giving your son a sibling. Don’t you feel bad about that”?
I cannot even believe you just asked me that. If you have siblings, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t speak to you with those manners. The reasons that any family decides that one child completes their family is not any of your business. Trust me, this child is surrounded by so much love in and out of our family, that I’m not concerned. If you’re that concerned about his loneliness, however; please feel free to purchase him the same fluffy, purebred Havanese my friends have. He’s so cute and my son would love him. There really isn’t a nicer or kinder way to ask that question. Just don’t do it.
The point is, think before you speak. Use nice words. They translate into kindness. Regardless of intent, words can hurt. Just remember to treat others as you would want to be treated. Everything would be fine if people could just remember that. Kindness matters.
xoxo – Jeannine