Wednesday, September 14, 2005

For Kristen
This post is in response to Kriten's questions in the comments to this post.

Kristen, it really sounds like you're handling both situations well. In the case of unsolicited advice, most of these people mean well, so it's best to smile and thank them as you've been doing. If there's one person who persists, or who comes back to ask if you've acted on her advice yet, you might try saying something like, "My husband and I have decided not to do it that way for now," thanking her for her concern.

I'm afraid this is something you'll just have to get used to since you'll be getting a lot of unasked for advice until you're either older, or have more children, than the would-be advice giver! It's the same way with criticism about your parenting choices. Some people don't handle it well when they see a child being raised very differently from the way they raised their own, and they react verbally without thinking - "Civilized people don't nurse their babies that long!" LOL Others will be honestly concerned about you - that you're draining yourself, or taking away from Lexi by nursing Kate.

Giving a brief, thoughtful, non-defensive answer as you've been doing should work well with people you know, but what's always hard for me to handle is the remarks I get from total strangers. Once when someone asked if we were done having babies yet, I playfully replied, "My goodness, I'm not that old!" which was my way of saying "Mind your own business." Depending on the person, you could say something like, "You know, my husband is a classical scholar and we enjoy exploring ancient customs," with a broad wink.

Ultimately though, you need to be so confident in God's provision for you and your children through your husband that you don't feel judged. They can't judge you anyway since they're not in authority over you, but people will criticize you. By forbearing with them, you have the opportunity to be courteous - not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but knowing that you are called to this, to inherit a blessing.

Plus, it'll help you remember not to nag the young mothers when you're the older woman.

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