Before resting bitch face was a thing invented by the internet, I was rockin’ it. I was in sixth grade when a boy informed me that I looked pissed off all the time. When I was fourteen one of the most delinquent boys in my high school casually informed me, “Oh, you scare me. I wouldn’t fuck with you.” Throughout my childhood old men felt the need to tell me “Smile! You look so sad.” Women would never tell a girl to smile. Women know it’s not a girl’s job to smile continuously like they’re in a beauty pageant at all times, but I digress.
Imagine my delight the day an old man came into our family’s restaurant and asked me “Who died?” and I was able to reply “Genevieve.” One of the waitresses had just been killed in a car accident. Damn, it was satisfying to watch the man-smug vanish from his stupid face.
Anyhow, my point is that I’m what some may call unapproachable, and delightfully so.
This quality has never served me so well as it has during motherhood. Why? Because I have never (and I mean NEVER) had a stranger make a snarky comment to me about my parenting.
Let me tell you a few stories from the lives of some of my smiley and approachable mom friends.
My childhood best friend is a gorgeous woman, tall, thin and blonde. [Yeah, it was super fun growing up with her] As a teenager she was repeatedly approached by modeling agencies. She could’ve done runway. She also became a mother at twenty. So, yeah, super approachable and young, as a new Mom. Just about every damn time she left the house people felt entitled to criticize her parenting or lend advice. Like a lady at Target who saw her daughter standing a whole six inches off the ground on the bottom shelf of a display and came whipping around the corner from a different aisle to scream, “You’re a terrible mother! It’s people like you that end up with injured kids!”
This kind of crazy happened to her All. The. Time. Lord help her if she failed to strap her kid into a grocery cart, or if her toddler refused to wear a coat. Even recently, a man at Chipotle felt the need to question whether it was “appropriate for a boy that age to still be held by his mother” while she was holding her seven-year-old. Sadly, for that man he didn’t realize that my girl might be pretty but she’s a stone cold bitch when she needs to be. She looked him right in the eyes and replied, “A child is never too old to be held, and I will hold my boy until I’m physically incapable of doing so.”
She lifts weights, so he might be fifteen by the time that happens.
Recently another friend of mine had an unpleasant interaction with another mother while shopping. Her two-year-old started fussing to get out of the stroller. Yeah, like you’re going to get any shopping done with a two-year-old running buck wild through Old Navy. So she was handing her snacks, trying to calm her and hurrying to finish up and get out of the store. This is when some ‘well meaning’ mother approached her and pointed to the stroller saying, “I think she wants to get out.” My friend was thinking to herself, “No shit, I can hear her. She can talk. I know why my own kid is whining.” The lady’s comment caught her off guard though, so she responded by pretending not to hear her. At this point the lady continues, “Excuse me? Excuse me? I think she wants to get out.”
So my friend turns to her with a blank look on her face and says, “Yeah, I know” and kept shopping.
Disgusted, the lady turns to her own kids (about ages seven and nine) and says loudly, “I NEVER did that to you guys!”
Congratulations super-helpful-parenting-advice lady! You get the mother of the year award for never using a stroller for its intended purpose, containment. You’re a better mother than anyone who’s ever done anything differently than you, with different kids than yours. And way to go using another mother as an example to explain to your children what a better mother you are. Aren’t they lucky to have you as their mom, and not the evil lady with the stroller? You’re the best!
But you’re also a stupid asshole.
My friend was enraged, obviously. She was annoyed even days later. Clearly, that’s why she told me the story. Frankly, I was enraged just hearing it. That’s probably why I’m writing about it. But my friend, she had the best response to this lady ever.
Of course, she didn’t get to use it.
You never think of the perfect thing to say when you’re in the moment. But I’m going to tell it to you now in case you ever find yourself in the same situation.
You turn to the lady and say, “Listen, it sounds like you’re probably a much better mother than I am.” Then you lean in and whisper into her ear, “but your kids are really fucking ugly.”
And that my friends, is how we stay classy.
But seriously, no matter how approachable a woman is, unless she’s beating her kid don’t ever talk to her about her parenting, because I’d bet a lot of money you sure as hell wouldn’t approach a man.