Monday, January 09, 2006

My biggest pet peeve

Oooh, good one Gina! It's so hard to choose. So hard to choose. Should I go with the people who walk soooo slow and in such a wandering way that one cannot easily pass them on the sidewalk? Or with the grumpy man at the Y who refuses to say good morning or respond to my cheery "how are you" as he swipes my ID card? Or, should I cause marital strife and mention the litter of K-Cups on my counter because the trash can is just.too.far.away. from the Keurig?

In actuality, I'm not frequently bothered by much of the pet peeve sort these days. Which is a real switch from the former, highly stressed out me. The old me had a list of pet peeves a mile long and I would get terribly worked up over each and every one of them. The subway riders who didn't give seats to pregnant women. The barista who did not make my tall decaf skim caramel macchiato exactly the way I like it. The people who left food in the communal work fridge for waaayyy to long. At some point a few years back I decided that it wasn't worth the constant teeth clenching and let most of it go. There are still many little things that bother me, but generally I can chalk it up to someone else's problem. I have much bigger fish to fry, like stressing over how to get my kids to sleep later than 5:30am.

But right now at this very moment I believe that my biggest pet peeve is the highly insecure mommies of the world. Don't get me wrong; I am a highly insecure mommy myself. But I choose not to share that insecurity with every random stranger I meet. No, I leave the pleasure of listening to my insecurities to a few close friends, family, and, of course, all of you. Just today I spent a good half an hour reassuring a woman that I had just met less than three minutes earlier that really, the fact that I carry pull ups in my gym bag in no way reflected the fact that my 20 month old was on her way to being potty trained, but instead the fact that she refuses to lie down on changing tables. And while I will happily change her on the floor at home, the floor of a public restroom, not so much. This poor woman thought she was losing some potty training race, however, and kept asking where she had gone wrong because her 23 month old was not yet in pull ups.

Or there are the women in the grocery store who freak out because I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables and tofu instead of french fries and hot dogs. Again, many many minutes reassuring a total stranger that just because her kids eat French fries and mine are begging for soy beans, she is not a complete parenting failure. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what my kids' issues are with potato products, I'm a fan and often wish we could keep a bag of French fries in the freezer instead of shelf upon shelf of veggie burgers and edamame.

It would never ever ever occur to me to subject a person I had never spoken to before to my parental hang-ups. When I notice a child C's age who can swim across the poll or who knows the first 14 presidents, I wonder where I went wrong and how I can fix it, but to open my mouth and let that freak out be known to the rest of the world? I don't think so. But perhaps it's just because I am so insecure that I am afraid to let my insecurity show. If I were comfortable with my insecurities, I might feel free to stop the woman who's daughter colored in each and every coloring page at church with an amazing precision and gorgeous color selection and ask her where I had gone wrong in providing C with artistic outlets. And then spend the next 45 minutes of her life discussing all of my parenting blunders as they relate to art.

Yep, while grumpy Y man and annoying slow walkers irk me for sure, verbal insecure mommies who are not known to me win the day. So now if you see me in line at Trader Joe's nodding and looking for escape routes, you'll know why. And you should run far, far away or you'll be the next target.