Well. I have lots of massive pet peeves really, but I would say that the following is the biggest, especially given my head strong (arrogant), strong willed (bloody minded) nature.
My biggest pet peeve is: When people think you want their opinion.
Firstly, let’s get one thing straight, I don’t mind feedback, I relish other constructive opinions and help when it comes to anything from work, to cleaning to my kids. The keyword there being constructive. However what I find a really difficult pill to swallow is the opinion of stranger which means nothing to anybody except for them and their sticky beak.
I have said this before, but for some reason it still baffles me, what part of falling pregnant and then having a baby suddenly opens you up to the world and their dog? From the minute I got pregnant people felt the need to tell me what I was doing right, or more importantly what I was doing wrong. These people are divided into a few different groups where their style of criticism and their delivery technique are all different, but hit you in the same way.
Close Friends and Family: People you always relied on to say the right thing. Even if they didn’t agree with you they tended to nod and smile quietly, letting you off load your most unreasonable woes and saying the right things. NOT ANY MORE. All of a sudden they are telling you in a very clever way how THEY did things. This is the subtle delivery. This is the delivery where they think they’re sneaking their disapproval past you by saying “I could never leave my baby to cry”and “I never saw the point of breast feeding” or (and this was a personal favourite) “I always worried that if I swaddled my baby it would hinder his development. Perhaps that’s why yours is so active in the day? Because you restrict him?”.
Strangers: The worst culprits of all. I don’t know if you noticed…I’m sure you did…that when you were out and about, again firstly when pregnant, and then once you’ve had your baby, but random strangers would feedback their thoughts. With a straight to the point delivery, and a total lack of tact. When I was pregnant with Fatso there was the conversation with various shop keepers/old women in supermarkets/mums at the park (WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER!).
Them: “Not Long to go now!”
Me: “I wish, another 10 weeks”
Them: “No, you’ll be going any day now you’re MASSIVE.”
Thanks. No. Really. Way to make a fatty feel better.
Since having the boys I have recieved the random comments from people in lifts/shops/restaurants/changing rooms/bus stops/the park/doctors surgery
– He’s too cold
– He’s too hot
– Babies don’t sweat
– Breast Feeding will make him a mummy’s boy
– Bottle Feeding will make him ill
– I hate babies who wear anything but sleepsuits
– He’s teething
– He’s hungry
– He’s bored
– He want’s to sit up
– He want’s to lie down
– He want’s puree not lumpy food
– He want’s lumpy food not puree
As you can guess, the list of contradiction has no limits.
New Mummy Friends: These are usually the most competitive. At one point (with the exception of my lovely twitter friends), I felt like I was the only person being honest. The Beast didn’t sleep through for MONTHS. He weaned early because he NEEDED it, he wouldn’t let me put him down throughout the day, he was perfectly healthy just a bit small. With Fatso – YES he’s big but he’s fine. No he hasn’t started crawling yet. Competative new mummy friends are the worst. Looking sympathetically at you when you’re not meeting the “required” critera, when you know full well they’re talking about you to the others, just like they’ve done with you about somebody else. With the odd snide comment “maybe you should put him on a diet?” “Maybe you should top him up with formula?” You know the deal.
Of course, we mustn’t forget those few special people. Real life, or interactive. Who actually are honest. Who most importantly, understand that everybody and every baby is different, as are each persons parenting techniques. As long as the baby is happy, healthy and loved, who really gives two hoots what you think?
And I will leave you now, step down from my high horse, and drink my wine.