I caught myself midsentence: “ I think if she could just see that all she has to do is . . . “
Oh honey, just be quiet. Shut up, shut up, shut up.
Despite my best intentions, I was doing it again. Chatting about how someone else should be running their life. Even with no malicious intent, this is a bad way to end good conversation.
And I, of all people, know this. I’ve heard, directly and inadvertently, more people weigh in on my life over the past few years than I care to count.
It seems a neighbor’s husband thinks I should have stuck it out in my marriage. Never mind that he did not know the first thing about what caused its demise, nor about the resulting fallout—but he was very confident about the “wrongness” of it all. And I’ve felt his judgment ever since.
Since I will never—and I can confidently say never—share with him the details of that situation, suffice it to say that he’ll remain an uneducated idiot from here to eternity. Sitting smugly, passing judgment. How very attractive of him. I smile politely at cocktail parties and ignore him other than that. Karma is a bitch, buddy.
It’s not just divorce that people chime in on (although there are plenty of married people who write regularly about divorce—usually extremely religious married people—which always stymies me. It’s like a toddler writing about puberty. No clue.).
I’ve been offered snippy parenting advice from teachers, cleaning people (oh, yes—unbelievable) and degreed experts who have never raised children.
Free speech lets you say whatever you want—to me or to others about my situation.
But it does not free you from the consequences of what’s said.
And therein lies the rub. The little something we should all think about before we open our Big Traps.
If you have not raised children who have no interest in your “My Three Sons” Rockwellian dream, you are unqualified to discuss people who have real kids presenting them with real issues. You are untested.
And the bit that amazes me? The untested don’t seem to realize that they are. Rather than seeing themselves as lucky, they see themselves as divinely appointed. Outfitted with relationship skills beyond compare. With parenting skills that far surpass those of parents whose children do not fall into lockstep at the mere whisper of a command.
Do they not see that the only reason for their superiority is they’ve not been placed in the situation they’re judging? No. They do not. They feel they are superior simply because that situation has not occurred in their lives—and that, of course, is because of their supreme wisdom. Their enviable talents and skills.
Excuse me while I stifle a guffaw.
Are you f*%&ing kidding me?
The Facebook friend who smugly stated on her page that if she and husband were faced with children who behaved a certain way, they would simply apply consequences and that it was not rocket science. I could almost see her clapping her hands in Mary Poppins fashion, saying “Spit spot.” And the sad part is—she had a friend who was asking for real advice. Had a real situation. Instead of helping, she offered self-righteous prattle. Which helped no one. And made me want to throw up.
I could go on and on but I won’t. You’ve all had similar situations in your own life, I’m sure.
If life has not chosen you as up to the challenge of trial by fire, you are untested. No matter in what area—marriage, parenting, career, you name it.
So shut up already. Untested means unqualified. To judge. To proselytize. To prattle.
Go find a challenge. And you’ll be amazed at how fast your mouth will close—as you realize what a complete ass you’ve been.
Something which I, of course, will not comment upon.