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My Speech to a Judgy Mom

December 17, 2011 10 comments

Tonight is my daughter’s first ballet recital.  She is excited, as am I.  But I have a little unpleasant business to attend to while I am there.

One of the other mothers from the class is on thin ice with me (seasonally appropriate don’t you think?).  Last night at rehearsals, I found her to be so offensive and clueless that she has penetrated my normally namaste demeanor (I am on my way to yoga shortly). 

The first time I met Judgy Judy (too much like Judge Judy) “Judgy Janet” (not her real name, in fact, I can’t seem to remember her name), was at the park.  I was with my daughter and Janet said hi to her by name.  I walked over and introduced myself and she explained that the girls are in ballet together.  I said, “Oh then you must know our nanny, Jessica” (who takes my daughter to ballet).  She interrupted and said, oh yes, I have known Jessica for years, and I always wonder “Where IS this girl’s mother!”

Eh hem, excuse me, while I capture my composure and take one step back to help diminish the cartoon in my head of me shoving tan bark in your mouth to silence you.

The conversation didn’t improve, she talked about how she used to work, but quit because she wouldn’t dream of letting other people raise her children (although, it might be better off for her daughter if someone else taught the girl tact).  Throughout this first conversation, I remained calm and polite.  I was internally trying to determine if the woman was a condescending bitch or just socially awkward.  I decided she might be just lonely and awkward, so I didn’t say anything in rebuttal.  But the conversation bugged me for a few days.

Fast forward to last night.  It was the only second time I had spoken with her since I do not attend my daughter’s ballet class very often.  I attended the rehearsal with another working mom friend whose daughter is also in the class.  We were sitting with our girls, waiting for their turn, when Janet sat down behind us.  Her opening comment: “You must be their mothers. You never come to class.”  The conversation didn’t improve.  My strategy was to keep my back to her, in order to avoid giving her a piece of my mind in front of the girls.

Which leads to tonight.  Me, the duck, who normally lets things roll off my back is quite sure that one more comment from this miserable mom will force me to politely share with her my thoughts.  Much to your surprise, I do mean politely, because I am a believer in having more weight in my message when coming from a place of kindness, balance and class.  So let me share with all of you what I plan to say (and secretly hope I have the opportunity to do so).

“Excuse me, I am not sure if you are aware that you are being rude.  In the two times I have spoken with you, you have mentioned my absence at ballet over ten times.  I am trying to decide if you realize you are being rude or have merely made an unfortunate choice in conversation topics.  Either way, I feel you are in desperate need of some education.  It is narrow of you to make any assumptions regarding someone’s life or how one raises children based upon their attendance at one activity. 

I share this with you not out of concern for my own feelings, but to help you avoid offending other’s who are not as calm and forgiving as me.  You see, you don’t know what keeps a mother from a ballet class – what if she’s a single mom and working to put food on the table, what if she’s an ER doctor that may someday have to help one of your children, what if she’s at home with a newborn.  The point is, an absence does not speak to the character of a woman.

Furthermore, since my absence is because I have a career, let me share the “consequences” of me being a working mom:

  • My children are independent, but loving
  • They are confident, yet kind
  • They are comfortable in any social situations
  • They are being taught that they can be anything they want when they grow up.  My daughter can be a pilot, a doctor or a stay at home mom – each holding equal weight in my mind.  My son can be a CEO, an artist or a stay at home dad, as long as he is passionate about what he does.
  • My children travel frequently and see other cultures and have unique memories, while always returning to a happy home. 
  • And most importantly, we are rasing our children not to judge other people based on their profession, home, socio-economic status or any other life situation.  We choose our friends based on character and kindness and see the benefit of diversity in our circle of friends.

So, do you think she’ll stay quiet long enough for me to say all of that?

I’ll keep you posted.

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