I revealed in the Facebook group that my family recently ventured out to get family portraits taken. Little did I know, I was going to be reminded how parenthood opens us up to passive aggressive comments. Let’s go back to the morning of the great family portraits…
It seems like dressing for family portraits is a challenge. I feel the need to pick outfits that coordinate, that aren’t too busy or distracting, and that help everyone look there best. It was a chilly Saturday morning so I was thankful I was going for a casual look rather than dressy. So jeans worked fine but I didn’t want bulky coats in our family pictures. It was 42 degrees and sunny with a light breeze blowing. So I put the girls in long sleeved t-shirts with white sweater dresses over them. They were cute. My frustration was their baby fine hair and the static electricity that plagued us all. I ended up just letting it fly.
We all made it, on time, to a local nature preserve where our photographer, Christa Walsh of Real Life Photography was waiting to take photos of our family in a natural environment. I loved this because our last family portraits were taken in a studio with faux backdrops. Christa is a mommy of a busy toddler herself, so she worked very well with my little one who was more interested in playing in the sand and tossing seashells into the water than stopping to pose for photos. In her 3-year-old voice, she’d say, “That’s enough” and run off for another handful of sand. But Christa worked well with my little one’s attention span and her wild hair.
We made our way along the boardwalk, with Christa snapping photos as we went. The girls were running and giggling along the way. That’s when we came upon an older couple who was out for their exercise and to enjoy a bit of nature. The lady addressed my girls, “Aren’t you cold? You’re out here with no coat or hat or mittens?” Then she smiled at us and said, “You must be from the north.” I just smiled at her and let them go on by us.
But looking back on it as we were getting in the car, I was annoyed. I know she views it as her civic duty to help me raise my kids by getting me to think twice about how I dress them, but they are my kids and I do know them a bit better than she does. I wasn’t dressed any warmer than the kids were dressed and I was fine. The kids are younger with better blood circulation and were much more active than we were. She was nice enough to offer the excuse that we must be from the north (I’m not). Do you think I wrongly interpreted her comments as passive aggressive? Was she simply making conversation? Who knows, but this is just an example of the comments that parents receive.
Passive Aggressive Comments
Life as a mom is difficult enough in general and as a recovering perfectionist, I do plenty of self-judgement. I can certainly do without the judgement and passive aggressive comments from outsiders. I agree that it takes a village to raise a child and when I’m not present and aware, feel free to correct my children if they misbehave. But when I am present and aware, why do strangers feel like it’s okay to point out their perception of my poor judgement? I honestly believe that some people just feel it’s their duty to provide this civil service. Some fail to realize that other people don’t think like they do. Sometimes they forget that other people have different circumstances. We all see the world through our own lens.
Life Goes On
So what did I do? I expressed my frustration to my husband who agreed. But we didn’t let it ruin our day or sour our moods one bit. We went on and had a very productive and fun day. Stressing about my parenting is their problem and bless their little heart. LOL. With all the concern they carry around for things they can’t control, I probably should say a little prayer for them and their health. The stress can’t be good for them. I have enough to worry about and with these adorable family portraits to gush over, how can I feel anything else but grateful bliss.
PS – Thank you Christa for an awesome photo session! I’m sure we will treasure our photos for many generations.