i've had these thoughts rolling around in my head for the better part of the last month. do i keep my opinions to myself? do i share what is on my heart? how can i share using the most careful and sensitive words? and better yet, when will this baby sleep so i can have time to post???
so let me just cut to the chase...
i do not like the articles floating around on facebook that are titled such lines as "10 things not to say to (fill in the blank)." it may be to pregnant moms, moms of all boys, moms of all girls, moms that adopt, moms that work outside of the home, moms that formula feed, moms that breastfeed, etc. you get the idea.
here's what i don't like about them. it paralyzes nice people like me who want to say the right thing, but is too afraid to say anything now thanks to all those dang lists! so now i don't say anything at all. and i think that's a shame.
i know there are some really dumb people out there and a handful of just plain mean people out there, but i would argue that 98% of the people that might say something dumb to you don't mean to hurt your feelings or be rude. most people are not trying to ruffle your feathers or make you cry.
let me give you a personal example. having a baby that wears a helmet garners plenty of attention. i am so used to seeing him wear the helmet that i forget that he is even wearing one until i notice someone staring at me. this is exactly what happened to me the other day while shopping at sprouts. i felt eyes staring at me in the meat department and looked over and sure enough, an inquisitive woman returned my stare. this is how the conversation went:
woman: what are you trying to protect his head from?
me: well, it actually has nothing to do with protection. it is to correct the shape of his head. it was flat on one side from how he was positioned inside of me.
woman: oh. did you have a hard time getting him out?
me: no, actually he shot out with two pushes so it had nothing to do with that.
woman: can i pray with you about his head?
woman: prays a very strange type of prayer with her hand hovering above his helmet that the Lord would make his head a right shape.
now, it did give me bit of a chuckle because here we are in the middle of the meat department praying over my baby but hey, i'll take any kind of prayer in any place on earth for my little man.
second example a few days later:
me: checking out at goodwill with salsa in the stroller.
cashier: does your baby play football or hockey? (and she was serious!)
me: no, but that helmet would sure come in handy if he did! (smile on my face)
cashier: he's cute. what's his name? (even though his name is spelled across the front of the helmet)
me: his name is salsa (except i said his real name, ha, ha).
cashier: oh. well, i bet that helmet makes the car seat more comfortable.
me: (thinking that the helmet does not make ANYTHING more comfortable) yes, maybe it does.
both of these women were trying to engage me in conversation and be friendly. neither had any ill will. and even if they did, if i let their words make me crazy then i am making myself the center of the world (and i already do that enough!).
now i realize i've not had anyone come up and say that my baby looks ugly in the helmet or how i am torturing my child by making him wear it, but even then, i would like to think that i could shrug it off. and i'm certainly not going to make the majority feel bad for saying something that i don't classify as appropriate just because a very small minority is mean.
so please, let's stop circulating these lists that do not offer any grace. and you can ask me anything you want about my baby in the helmet.