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11/40
From the desk of Rabbi Brian

Drive-By Mothering

A
few months ago at a birthday party, I was talking to a woman while I
was holding my daughter, Annie, in my arms. I had previously met this
lady, but did not know her very well. She was just an acquaintance. As
we were talking, the woman commented that Annie appeared to be
uncomfortable – and before I even had a chance to respond, she reached
out to rearrange my little girl in my arms.

I was flabbergasted.

I
couldn’t bring myself to say anything. I’d had months of experience
holding my own daughter. This woman had no experience holding Annie.
What did she think she was doing?

I
recounted this story to Simon, a friend of mine, who is also a dad. He
interpreted what had happened to me in his own words: “Oh, so you were
a victim of a drive-by mothering.”

His comment validated my experience and certainly helped me make sense of the situation.

This
type of “drive-by” happens to all of us occasionally, in some form or
another. Someone whom we did not authorize to give us their opinion,
assaults us with their opinion or overburdens us with their unsolicited
advice. A stranger at the supermarket tells us we shouldn’t buy a
particular item that’s already in our carts. A friend offers an
unsavory viewpoint about our clothes. A relative informs us we ought to
be doing such-and-such activity in our lives.

Drive-bys happen.

In
my compassionate moments, I see that these people doing the drive-bys
are just misguidedly trying to help, and it’s absurd for me to get
upset in response. In my less compassionate moments, I get annoyed.

I pray that we all have more compassionate responses, myself included.

This week’s spiritual-religious advice: see if you can keep from being offended by drive-bys.

 

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