Monday, May 7, 2012

Question: How do you take suggestions?

You are standing in the baby section of your favorite superstore with your infant son sleeping soundly in his car seat and your two-year-old daughter sitting in the cart stacking cans of green beans. You are holding a package of diapers in each hand. One package is the brand you used with your daughter. They worked well enough for her but don’t seem to be holding up as well for your son. You think it might be a boy thing. J The other package is a more expensive brand, but you’re thinking of giving it a try because you’re tired of changing soaked clothes five times each day.

As you debate mentally, a woman a few years older than you with four children in tow comes down the aisle and picks up a package of diapers, presumably for her youngest who appears to be about as old as your daughter. She seems to hesitate, assessing you as you hold two different brands of diapers, and then says, “When mine were babies, I liked this brand.” She points to a third brand on the shelf, one you had not considered. “They cost a little more than I wanted to pay, but they didn’t leak. When they outgrew that size, I changed to a cheaper kind.” She smiles at you and, on her way out the aisle, says, “You have cute kids. Enjoy them. They grow so fast.”

You –

  1. Ignore her. You were taught never to talk to strangers.
  2. Say, “Thank you,” then consider her suggestion as you make your decision.
  3. Grumble an “mm-hm,” then mentally grouse about her sticking her nose in your business.
  4. Grouch, “I’ll just do what I think is best,” and speed-dial your husband to tell him about the nosy woman in the diaper aisle.

What would you do? Is there another option?


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  1. ouch. I am that mom. I talk to everyone and anyone who will stay long enough to listen.

    Please she is not trying to be mean or intrusive. I have 4 kids, I hardly have conversations with other adults and when I do it is usually in the midst of some errand, so I have to take what I can get.

    I really think she is just one mom reaching out to another as a kindred spirit.

    I have another though, I get "do you know what causes that" "are you going to have more" "are you trying to be the Duggars" and so on. I get more critiques than I ever thought there was.

    Good luck, trish

    1. Don't "ouch," Trish! I agree with you completely -- plenty of mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc. are just trying to reach out. If it's just a simple offer of what works for her, I appreciate it.

      Sometimes, though, it isn't just one mom reaching out to another, like you said. I still don't understand why anyone would care how many children I have. I'm not asking them for help. I'm not living on government money. My children are, for the most part, well-behaved and productive. (We all have our moments!) Sorry, I'm on my soap box again.

      Be sure to check back later this week for my follow-up. I'll be addressing this very issue. Thanks for commenting!

    2. by the way, i typically respond with this long thoughtful look and say 'oh. really? hmm." continue to maintain a look of introspect, follow up with "thank you. I will have to keep that in mind" and go on with my business. And usually depending on my mood, I will maybe give it a second thought the next time I am making that decision.

      OR! I totally interrogation them on what helped them come to that conclusion to the point that I have pulled every thought out of their brain and sent them to a point of exhaustion and somewhat regretful for offering me advise because they can't get away. Heeee, I typically do this to over bearing intruders or someone that seems like they have good intentions but no sense. This a bit of me being prejudging.

  2. I say thank you for the tip and may or may not take the advice. I know I've given advice to new parents who I've seen registering on occasion when they are standing there with blank looks on their face or registering for "40" packages of newborn diapers.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Suanna. You have a beautiful family!

  3. I'm that mom, lol. I always share my thoughts - not my opinion on what they SHOULD be doing, but if I see a mom puzzling over something and I have experience with the items, I will let her know about our experience. I would enjoy the same courtesy. If the diapers I were about to buy leaked like crazy all over her baby boy, I'd really take another mom's experience into consideration. And, knowing me, I'd probably even ask for more info, lol. Comments like that are kind and are really what I would hope society would be more like. Just being friendly and thoughtful. Maybe its a southern thing, like waving at passing cars down the country roads where I grew up. Sigh - I miss that.

    And, because I read the comments above and just thought I would share this, we only have 2 children with our third on the way, and WE get comments about our number of children now that I'm obviously pregnant - I think it is because we already had a boy and girl, so we should have been done adding to our collection I guess. Ha. Anyway, my husband has not yet been bothered my any comments, but I guess I am more sensitive to them. He noticed this and usually chimes in now when we get asked this question by family, friends, or strangers. I love his responses. His favorite 2 are: "Yah we decided we're just might as well try and Duggar it up" (haha) and "I figure I at least need to get a baseball team out of all this"

    I really love my husband. =o)

    1. Thanks for the terrific comments, Kelli! My husband's colleagues like to tease him about trying to catch up with the Duggars. He just replies, "Would that be so bad?"

      And I agree with you about waving at passing cars -- we do that here in Indiana. (Well, we do.)

    2. I do offer them to donate to my cable fund. also say, my husband really loves me, can't you tell.

  4. #2 would work for me. And it would only make me crazy if they looked at me and sanctimoniously said, "We're using cloth." I don't know why that kind of stuff drives me nuts...

  5. I'm such an advice giver, I'd probably say the exact same thing that woman did lol. And personally I'd do #2.

  6. For that mom? I smile, say Thank you, and maybe even enter into a mini, back-and-forth session of kid comparisons (maybe even sharing what my thoughts were), and give her suggestion a try...what could it hurt? The way you presented this story, the woman was kind and obviously trying to be helpful. She sees you are hesitating and wants to offer help if she can. I think that is commendable and we should all be so willing to reach out in KINDNESS to others. Maybe you've tried that brand and it doesn't work, and it's fine to say that as well.

    For the mom who says, "I would never put those cheap storebrand diapers on my child." in a haughty voice?" She is likely to get ignored, or if I'm being honest, a rude, haughty response in return...although God is working on me about that! lol.

    The bottom line for me is the presentation/attitude/tone of voice, etc. because these point us to the motivation and intent. If the woman is really just trying to be kind and help out a fellow mother, than I appreciate that. If she is trying to be self-righteous or condemn my choices, then that's another story.

    (PS--I would love it if you could accept name/url comments because I have to sign in to my old wordpress blog to leave a comment for you).

    Crystal @ Serving Joyfully

    1. Crystal, we're lo-tech here so I have no idea why you would have a problem leaving a comment. But I'll see if I can figure it out. Thanks for going through the extra effort; I really appreciate your thoughts. (My blog needs an original design, but I haven't had the time to figure that out, either....)

      Thanks for your terrific comments. I agree with you -- it's about kindness.

  7. Meghan, here is a website about it: Basically, your blog is already set up the "after" way on this site, where it will not accept name/url or anonymous comments. This is good in some ways because it cuts down on spam, but bad in some ways because then if someone doesn't have one of those accounts accepted, then they can't leave you a comment. It's not a huge deal because I still do have an old wordpress blog that I can sign into in order to leave comments, but I no longer use that blog or account, so it's nicer if I can enter my name and url instead. I hope this makes sense, and it's really not a huge deal.

  8. Number 2 for sure. Who knows? You may find that you love the suggestion


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