Nosy Old Lady

The Next Family

By: Danny Thomas

Recently a friend of mine had a run in with a Nosy Old Lady. This friend was sitting with her child, who is weaning or recently weaned (and still boob-obsessed). The little “weaner” had one hand in her mom’s shirt and the other thumb in her mouth.

Nosy Old Lady approached and not only gave an unsolicited opinion but actually took the child’s hand out of her mouth.  Many would be dismayed or shocked by this experience; my friend certainly was.

Not me. I have this theory about Nosy Old Ladies that came about several years ago when a Nosy Old Lady in the form of a librarian gave me a complex about our bedtime process with Lil’ Chaos. I had been engaging in friendly idle chatter with someone else in line about bedtime challenges. Lil’ Chaos was in line with me. When we got to the front of the line, Nosy Old Librarian chirped up and asked how old Lil’ Chaos was, and dished out all sorts of criticism about how we were going about our bedtime process. I was in a tizzy for days.  I had emotions ranging from severe self-doubt to rabid indignation.

But here is the conclusion I came to: Nosy Old Ladies serve a valuable purpose. They force us to examine our choices, and that is never a bad thing –as human beings, but especially as parents. It’s always good to take a look at your choices through someone else’s eyes.  Whether the result is that you stick to your guns and find the courage of your convictions or try a new strategy.  Once you’ve examined your choices, you may go back and do the same thing but with a stronger sense of confidence because you’ve taken the time to reconsider and decide you were on the right path. Or, given a new outlook, you find a different way to approach a problem or issue, or end up doing some research to find a new solution.  Either way you end up with a positive outcome.

Another positive result I’ve found is that it has opened Jen and me up to communicate and examine some of our choices together. We find our team ship strengthened in our steadfast resolve to not be swayed by Nosy Old Ladies; We reconsider choices, decisions, family rules together as a result of Nosy Old Ladies questioning this or that. So, not only have I had a positive outcome, but our relationship –and the family –has been reinforced, too.

I’ve had plenty of friends, family, and, of course, strangers continue to put this theory to the test, and as far as I can tell Nosy Old Ladies have been a challenge for young parents from time immemorial. This is my positive spin…

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