The other day, Mr. O came home from work. He looked a little mopey, and needed a heavy dose of Chick cuddle time. As I was making dinner, Mr. O followed me into the kitchen to tell me just what went down. Here it goes…
While at work, Mr. O ran into a co-worker he hadn’t seen in awhile. They aren’t great friends, but they know each other. Co-worker said “Congrats on the baby!” Mr. O said “Gee, thanks!” At this point another person he didn’t know entered the conversation and said “Ooooo, I love babies. Enjoy this time with your little one!” or some such generic blather.
Mr. O was in the middle of talking about our latest parenting tension. We aren’t taking tons of pictures, and we’ve both agreed to keep posting on social media to a minimum for Chick’s privacy. While I was on leave, I would take a photo every few days and send them to Mr. O at work, but these were mostly private exchanges meant for just the two of us. Honestly, every time I would have the urge to snap a few picks, I would stop myself. Rather than document his cuteness, I wanted to focus on enjoying my time with Chick. Hence the dearth of photos.
Where’s the rub? His mother wants photos of Chick ALL THE TIME. She hounds Mr. O for updates and photos and videos, and Mr. O is just not having it. Her texts about this are outrageously guilt laden, but the more she pours it on, the deeper Mr. O is entrenched. It’s like trying to put a leash on a cat, my friends.
Any way… Mr. O was in the midst of explaining this Grandmama Drama when co-worker he doesn’t know got fixated on this photo thing. Here is a highly dramatized version of their conversation:
Crabby Co-Worker: What do you mean you don’t take photos of your child? Don’t you love him?
Mr. O: Yeah, but I don’t feel like I need to capture every moment. He is an important part of my life right now, but I don’t need to record every second.
Crabby Co-Worker: That’s terrible. Your kids should always be the center of your universe. If that’s how you feel about children, I hope you don’t have any more.
That last sentence is not made up. NOT MADE UP. She told him that because he didn’t take pictures of Chick all the time, he should not have any more kids. Because the ability to take pictures on your phone proves you love your child? Wha?
She was acting like some Baby version of the Soup Nazi. No baby photos?! NO SOUP FOR YOU!
(The added salt in the wound is that we may not be able to have more children. Which, of course, crabby co-worker doesn’t know about. There is no way for me to know if I would have found this comment less hurtful if we weren’t infertile, but such is life.)
Strangely what surprises me most isn’t that she thinks this, but that she actually said it. Out loud. To another person. I’ll admit to having thought unkind things before. However, I do my very best not to allow these thoughts to escape my face.
For example, I would not ask her what’s the photo count threshold before child services gets involved.
I would not say to this person that I had no idea the key to being a good parent is knowing how to use photoshop. Tell me more!
Or that I really hope she doesn’t have any children because we don’t need more people like her reproducing.
Why don’t I say these things? Because I have been socialized to exercise self restraint. Instead I blog about this kind of shit anonymously. That’s the mature way to handle it.