I really can’t handle normal people

So I was reading a mommy forum.  (Yes, #2, I hear you saying, “Well, there’s your first mistake.”  You haven’t said it yet, but I can still hear it!)

One of the women was complaining that her next door SAHM (stay at home mom) neighbor was always making passive-aggressive comments about her being a WOHM (work outside the home mom) or commenting on all the clothing she bought her daughter or what she spent on herself.  The SAHM’s daughter is also a bit of a bully despite being a year younger than the WOHM’s son.  Recommendations for what to do from other mothers included mostly being passive-aggressive back.   (Nobody said, why are you spending so much time with her if your kids don’t even get along?)

It all recently came to a head when the daughter started copying the son copying something annoying that a character in a movie did.  The SAHM sent the WOHM a facebook message saying that she was unhappy with her daughter copying the WOHM’s son.  That caused the WOHM to get very angry.  So the WOHM texted the SAHM (who apparently works the nightshift as a nurse 2-3 nights a month, so I guess is only mostly a SAHM?) at work “and finally got off my chest and called her on her bs. I’ll fill you in more later, but I hope she was up all last night worrying about it.”

The other mothers on the forum then praised the WOHM and shared their own stories.  One even said she’d just yelled at a friend for something the friend had said a *year* ago.

But the thing is, I’m always unintentionally saying things that are taken the wrong way.  I’m from the midwest and I try not to say anything at all if I can’t say something nice, but sometimes I say things that I don’t realize aren’t nice, or they’re not mean from my world-view but in a different culture they’re inappropriate.   (I got in trouble for saying “prick” instead of “jerk” in class once… apparently in Chicago you can put that in the newspaper, but around here it means something sexual.)  I also tend to be forthright and honest without a whole lot of word-mincing.  That sometimes gets me in trouble, always unintentionally.

My friends say they understand I’m always well-meaning and they make allowances for me (and, indeed, forget that I’m actually kind of obnoxious because they’re used to it), but it can be off-putting for folks who are just getting to know me.

People who get so upset like the woman on the forum (and those cheering her on) are very frightening to me.  All that drama is too much.  I would be terrified of opening my mouth because sooner or later I know I would inadvertently say something offensive.  Especially if they never voice their disagreement in person, politely.  I get flashbacks to middle school, which nobody wants to have.

I try hard to think the best of people, because it is easier for my stress-levels to do so.  I tend to be pretty forgiving about other people saying stuff.  My general reaction is to reply with a lecture of facts to the contrary (“actually, studies find that high quality daycare is better than poor quality home care and high quality home care is better than poor quality daycare, but the jury is still out on homecare vs. daycare… there’s positives and negatives to both“), or to flat out say, “that’s not very nice,” since I figure the way we teach our preschooler to interact probably works on adults too, and it does.  If someone were being consistently passive-aggressive to me I think I would probably avoid them if I could.  Not send them a nasty text message.  Not be passive aggressive back.

Are there a lot of people out there in the real world like this?  Maybe there’s a reason I don’t get out much.  And am not on Facebook.  And still have the 10 cents per text phone plan.

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20 Responses to “I really can’t handle normal people”

  1. Sandy L Says:

    I used to love reading mommy blogs. I liked reading about home making, and scratch cooking and darning socks. There was a period where my job wasn’t that exciting and it was nice to fantasize about being home all day. The reality is that I would go completely nuts and I’d fall into the “poor quality homecare” category as I’m horrible with routines and schedules.

    But anyway, I stopped reading most of my mommy blogs because almost all of them were SAHM’s who thought working mom’s were selfish and don’t care about their family. Some were more blatant than others in that regard. I do think there is more than one right way to raise kids. I am glad I have 2 boys. THey say it’ll be less drama. Hurray.

  2. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Ha! My secret blog vice is also religious farmwife homeschooling a passel of children and making everything from scratch blogs. So is another of my academic colleagues. And yes, I would be absolutely terrible at it! I just don’t have that kind of energy.

  3. Donna Freedman Says:

    I don’t have a text package at all, so they can’t touch me. Nyah nyah nyah.
    Let me say this: Being at home with kids full-time is a hard, important and often thankless job. I don’t think I could do it. I am impressed by those who undertake to do it for the right reason, i.e., they want to be there for their kids. (There is also a wrong reason: Because they don’t want to work. More on that below.)
    Frankly, I’m awfully tired of the wars. Why can’t we all just do what works for us and stop second-guessing other people’s child-rearing practices?
    Methinks that some of the SAHMs protesteth overmuch. If they’re so sure that what they’re doing is right, why do they feel the need to keep justifying it and/or to snipe at working moms?
    Working moms are not new. I’m 52 and my mom worked. So did the moms of almost all of the kids with whom I went to school.
    But some of the WOHMs are guilty of sniping, too, with their comments about women who don’t have a “real” job or whose intellectual abilities are on par with the bananas they spend their days mashing.
    A relative of mine was married to a woman who wanted to stay home (read: wasn’t interested in working) and her child-rearing was toxic in the extreme. She ignored them, she belittled them, she treated them like inconveniences who kept her from watching TV or being on the phone with her mom.
    Not all at-home parents are saints. Not all working parents are selfish.
    And for extra credit: Ever notice how moms on public assistance are ordered to take the first crap job they can find (and crap wages mean crap day care), whereas middle- and upper-middle-class women are called “selfish” if they want to go back to work after the baby is born?
    I guess some babies are more important than others.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Yeah, not going to touch the SAHM/WOHM debate with a 10 foot pole. Especially since if I had enough money I would love for both DH and me to be SAHP. Couldn’t do it alone though. And we do need at least one income since we’re not independently wealthy at this point in time and someone needs to provide health insurance.

    Mommy wars are also irritating. So long as their kids aren’t getting beaten or otherwise abused, I don’t really care so much. When I had hormones coursing through my blood I noticed I did care and had to bite my tongue about some things, but these days, meh.

    I think the point I’m trying to make though, is why can’t we think the best of people and their motivations, politely disagree about things in person, and just don’t hang around people we don’t get along with? And why on earth would someone send a text message with the intention of hurting a person’s feelings and making them stew?

    Can’t we just all get along? Or at least avoid each other if we don’t?

    And shouldn’t there be some sort of statute of limitations on saying dumb stuff? If people saved up all the dumb things I said for a year and threw them in my face… well, I would cry a lot.

  5. Everyday Tips Says:

    When my oldest was 3 months old, I had to go back to work. My neighbor, whose child was the same age, was able to stay home. (they are 7 years older than us.)

    Anyway, I got all kinds of passive aggressive comments from her. Once, she was bragging about going to see John Tesch somewhere and said ‘If you stayed home, you could do things like that’. Well, guess what? I have zero desire to see John Tesch. Actually, you would have to pay me to see him.

    I have worked outside the home, I have worked inside the home and I have been a SAHM. I have sympathies for all 3 categories, and I think you just have to do what is best for everyone. I hated the comments I got when I worked, and I hate the comments I get now about being at home. You cannot win with everyone, so you just have to make sure you and your family are happy.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You really cannot win with everyone no matter what you do. Also not a big John Tesch fan, though I think the line in Sensitive New Age Guys (from A My Name is Alice) is pretty funny. Narrator: “Who plays in Yankee Stadium?” Sensitive New Age Guy: “John Tesch master of the romantic mood?” Narrator: “Good answer!”

  6. Kevin@InvestItWisely Says:

    That’s what you call normal people? ;) I hear you… it’s incredible the lengths that some people will go through to create drama.

    For my own part, I’m not interested in any of it. If someone isn’t capable of being a normal friend and only sees the relationship as a means to vent or create drama, I don’t need it…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Totally agreed. I love having a nice quiet home life. Especially after having a child I’ve started avoiding drama even more. There just isn’t enough time in the day. My work is exciting enough for me!

  7. SonyaAnn Says:

    “I also tend to be forthright and honest without a whole lot of word-mincing.”-This is my best and worst trait! I have the exact same problems with people and I too, try to avoid the drama at all costs.
    I had one neighbor that moved(thank God!) bust in for the millionth time while I was on the phone with a client sobbing. Once again, her husband was mad at her and she thought that they were going to get a divorce because he caught her cheating AGAIN! In the beginning, I tried nicely to tell her to quit sleeping around. That time she went too far and wouldn’t even let me finish the conversation with my client. And on top of it, she had the nerve to say all of this in front of her young daughter! Well, the gloves came off and I told her that she could stop having all of these problems if she kept her legs shut. Hmmmm, we didn’t talk much after that. But I did find out years later that she tried to sleep with my husband. He didn’t tell me until long after she moved. He said he didn’t tell because he didn’t want to take care of the kids when I was in jail! So I stay as far away from drama as humanly possible!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      OMG, SonyaAnn… I would have died. We don’t know our neighbors very well… they’re all retirees. I don’t even want to put up a Democratic lawn sign to counteract their Republican ones because I don’t want any controversy. (Our neighborhood is a patchwork of Red and Blue.)

  8. Money Reasons Says:

    I’ve been called passive agressive before too, I don’t know why… I guess the world likes yes-men or yes-women better (kind of like that monster dot com commerical… when I grow up I want to be a yes-man).

    I guess you can’t please everybody all of the time… So try to make yourself or family happy…

  9. Meg Says:

    I am definitely passive agressive. Mostly with my husband, but I can be a real witch (with a capital B) when someone does me wrong.

    Would I be passive agressive with a neighbor? NO! They know where I live! People are nutty now-a-days. Like you, I’d just ignore them (until I got into the house – and would then proceed to complain about them to hubby or friends.)

    I would like to think that I could be a SAHM, but I’m not sure I have the personality to be able to do that. They kids would probably drive me crazy. It reminds me of a woman who looked down on my mom for working full time while we were growing up. However, the woman baby talked to adults as if she was baby talking to her little girls. It drove my mother and me crazy! THAT’S when you know you spend a little too much time with your kids…when you cant carry on a normal conversation with adults. She even wanted to meet with my mom some day for a “tea party.” I kid you not…

  10. Greg McFarlane Says:

    Thank you for reinforcing that all things considered (baldness, single orgasms, potential enlistment in the infantry, bland clothes, endless tests of one’s manhood, lower life expectancy), being a guy isn’t so bad. Also that kids are never worth it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I dunno, guys have bizarre issues too. I could tell you stories second hand from the town my DH grew up in (mostly, but not always, ending in the police getting called).

      And nobody said your clothing has to be bland!

      p.s. My kid is worth it.

  11. Crystal @ BFS Says:

    I’m direct and apparently too open. I hear “TMI” from people if I get too chatty with the wrong crowd. I have a select group of friends that are used to me and love me for my openness, so I try really hard not to put my foot in my mouth around people. I hate hearing “TMI” – it’s hurtful and aggravating…

    So I get it. Normal people are weird, lol. ;-)

  12. The mommy boards are making me sad again « Grumpy rumblings of the untenured Says:

    […] better except me… everyone who says something gets a reply, except me.  This is the woman I blogged about earlier so I’m pretty sure it is deliberate.  And I just don’t care enough about drama to […]


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