Monday, September 03, 2012

Dadpost: Don't Take Unsolicited Advice - Or Candy - From Strangers

This morning Sarah and I decided to take Hannah up to our building's pool for our first swim together as a family (she has a swim class but it's one parent in the water at a time).

There was an elderly woman already in the pool - she was there when I went up to check the pool's temperature to ensure it was warm enough for Hannah - and she remained in the pool when the three of us got in.

Barely a minute or two had passed when the woman decided to come over to us and share her years of wisdom. After she assured us to "not take offense" - I say "us" but she was looking at Sarah the whole time - she hit us with some knowledge: "Babies sometimes pee in pools."

When Sarah responded that Hannah was wearing a swimming diaper, this woman got way too close for comfort and almost kissed Sarah - whilst holding the baby, no less -  and followed that awkward moment up with another "Don't take offense" comment on her way out of the pool.

This situation left both of us a little stunned: what was the point of that exchange, and why would a complete stranger say something like that to us?

Sarah often encounters random people offering their advice while she's out with Hannah, and I can understand how frustrating it must be. Who knows their baby better than her mommy? Answer: definitely not some batty old lady or some housewife whose kids don't listen to her anymore.

This rarely, if ever, happens to me when I'm out with Hannah by myself; I just get people gushing over how cute she is. I guess it's because I'm the dad and the stereotype is that anything I do should be considered a bonus, but if that's the case, shouldn't I be getting bombarded with hot tips because I "don't know any better"?

It's a weird double standard and like most double standards, they make very little sense and are not based on fact. Both Sarah and I are more than capable of dealing with whatever comes our way baby-wise, and even if we're not always successful, we're confident that we have Hannah's best intentions in mind.

We've been with her every minute of her life. You, complete stranger, on the other hand, haven't even shared a minute of it, and if you're going to offer us totally unsolicited advice, that's the most you're ever going to get.

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