March 16, 2015

If You Can't Be Kind, Be Quiet

Originally I was going to title this post, "People Are Annoying".  Isn't that the truth.  Last week I had a troubling conversation with someone as I was getting ready to head home for the weekend.  This person, we'll call her Charlotte, is an acquaintance with whom I occasionally exchange greetings and comments about the weather.

A friend and I were speaking of motherhood when Charlotte joined us launching into a sermon about why women over 35 should not become mothers.  "They just don't have the energy to properly raise a child.  A women in her fifties cannot parent a teenager.  It's physically impossible.  What seems like a good idea at first, is definitely not because her body will just give out and leave the child fending for himself while she is on the couch trying to survive menopause."

Huh.  Talk about taking all the air out of the room.  There wasn't much to say in response to her strong feelings.  Maybe she speaks from experience but I hate to think that her words are gospel.  Of course I'm tired much of the time.  I attribute that to working full time AND being a full time mom without a nanny/housekeeper--not to being a mom who had her children after the age of 35.  For heaven's sake, people over fifty run marathons, Fortune 500 companies and the country.  It may take better nutrition, regular exercise and salon treatments but then isn't that best practice for anyone, regardless of their age?
People who say it can't be done, should not interrupt people who are doing it. 
-George Bernard Shaw
But wait, there's more.  In a defensive moment, I whipped out my phone and started showing photos of the hands-on activities I do with my boys.  Charlotte made a comment about how big my sons are getting and then asked, "Do they have the same father?"

What is that sound when someone yanks the tape out of a recorder?  That's what I need to type here.
 Did I mention that Charlotte and I are simply acquaintances and have never even shared a one to one chat over coffee?

Who looks at a mom's photos and then asks if her children have the same father? What an incredibly tacky question to ask.  It's not less rude because I conceived my children via a medical procedure.  Since Charlotte is clearly not of childbearing age, she's not asking for information while on her own family-building journey.  She's simply being nosy.

I was so shocked at this woman's effrontery, I simply nodded my head to answer her inquiry.  If I could rewind the tape (you know, the one I yanked out earlier) I would explain that my children do not have a father.  The same genetic donor made each of their lives possible.  I have never pretended anything else.  Beginning, middle and end of story.

Shaking her head slightly, Charlotte went on to make the unoriginal comment "it is a different world today."  Yes.  Yes it is.  I won't be the last person she meets whose family came together in a new and different way.  She needs to know that the nontraditional structure of a family does not give near strangers the right to ask impertinent questions.

But wait, there's even more.  Would you be terribly surprised to learn that during this very awkward interaction, Charlotte also made a Vince Vaughn comment?  As in that Dreamworks' masterpiece I wrote about here.  Let me tell you, once someone goes there, they have lost any and all credibility in my eyes.  Mentally I just cut them off.  They don't exist for me anymore.  It's not worth my time to sink to their level.  Because that would be exhausting.


  1. What a ridiculous woman! Of course it can be done - people all over the world are proving this moronic lady wrong. My mom (who had her first child (me) at 24 and her 5th and last at 37) said it was definitely easier with us older ones because days out at the beach in the hot sun became a bit unbearable whilst she was going through the hot flashes of menopause but she got through it and so will you :) That people feel it's their business to ask you such intrusive questions deserve to be told that actually, it's none of their business - although I know you are too kind to be so blunt (but I wouldn't blame you if you were ;)

  2. Sounds like SHE has a lot of baggage and projected it onto you. Does she have kids?? Is she regretting her decisions maybe and in order to build herself up and feel ok with her choices, she has to cut others down.

  3. Oh my, she's a piece of work, isn't she! Though I do worry about Elena going through puberty right about when I'll go through menopause, that's a lot of hormones in 1 household! Regardless, that woman was completely out of line & completely disrespectful! You handled it with grace!

  4. By her reasoning, women who go through early menopause had better stop procreating by age 25 or 30, because heavens knows her children will become ax murders if she happens to have a hot flash and a teenager at the same time! I really hope you can laugh at her in hindsight. People are ridiculous, and overly opinionated, and overly judgemental, and in her case clueless and rude. I feel sorry for people like that, must be a miserable life being so negative.

  5. Wow! (I literally don't have any more words to type.) I have the attitude that having Sidekick at an "older" age will keep me young in the long run. Take that, Charlotte!

  6. When she jumped in and started making comments about older mothers, that was your first clue and it was screaming loud information, to cut her out. It was saying "get away from her, don't talk to her, don't even look at her" .She showed her colors right then. What an idiot!

  7. In hindsight, I think you can only laugh at the sheer "stupidity" (for lack of a better word) of some people. Ignorant maybe? Here's to all of us Choice Moms providing our kids with possibly more stability and security than many two parent households. Ha, do they have the same father? I never let people call the donor a "father". I always correct with the word "donor".