When I think of the 2012 US Federal election, there is one word that drifts out of the cloud of contentious issues. It is the one thing I will remember from the campaign.
For it is this topic that has repeatedly been the focus of many of the reports and debates coming out of the campaigning. Mainly because of stupid things that conservative, God-fearing, middle-aged white men are saying.
I caught this on Twitter recently, and I had to smile.
Everybody has an opinion. And we all feel the need to share it with anyone that may raise an eyebrow our way. It’s human nature to tell others of our thoughts and experiences, but is it helpful?
Basically whatever you are doing, you are doing it wrong. According to someone.
Last week, I was asked to appear on a late night TV show to share my opinion about women over the age of 40 having children. By the time I got the call, I’d already taken my bra off for the night, which is a shame because I had plenty to say about it.
Mainly, who the hell cares?!
Do you think want-to-be mothers need a group of people who don’t know them personally, or know nothing about their circumstances, to sit there and pass judgment on them?
The coulda/woulda/shoulda crew who are so smug in the choices that they, themselves have made, casting dispersions on those who have, whether by design on not, left this particular decision until later in life?US Republican, Richard Mourdock has opinions on how women should live their lives. Mrs Woog sends him some gentle advice.
Me? Naive? Perhaps. But I think armed with the facts and given support, these older Mums have the intelligence and capabilities to make their own decisions without fear of public scorn or ridicule.
And while I’m at it, here are some other things that I just do not care about…
I don’t care if you change your name when you get married. You do not have to justify why you did or didn’t do it. It is your name. Nothing to do with me. Just let me know if you get a new email address.
I don’t care if you breastfeed your kids or not. As long as they get fed and loved.
I don’t need to hear any justifications about going back to work, or staying at home. As long as you’re happy, then that’s great.
Your money doesn’t impress me. I just don’t care about your financial situation and all of your stuff. Don’t need to know.
What I do care about is the widening gap between the rich and the poor in our country.
I care about the misrepresentation of women in the media.
I worry about advertising creating artificial needs. I think about my kids and the world they are growing up in.
I want to know about your great new job, or something exciting that is happening to you.
I want to know if you are suffering or worried about something. You know, the stuff that matters.
The difference between opinions and advice is clear.
If someone asks you for both, then that’s an invitation to share. But time and time again, opinions can come at you like a swift dose of gastroenteritis, ready hit you and hurt you when you are not expecting it.
I don’t want to hear your judgement-ridden opinion! I want to hear about the stuff that matters!
Something I’ve learnt is that no matter the exchange over the ‘opinion’, you are rarely going to change someone’s mind.
That is where you need to take the stance of nodding gently, with your head tilted ever-so-slightly, until the opinionated person has finished lecturing you on the stupid choices you’ve made.
Then, like a cerebral Etch-a-Sketch, shake it off and clear your mind.
Over 40 and want to have a baby? I wish you all the joy in the world. And for the record, I don’t mind whether you have a vaginal birth or an elective caesarean.
Have you ever been a victim of fly-by judgment?
What strategies to you employ for dealing with unwanted ‘advice’?
MORE STORIES BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld.