so, ladies (this isn't to exclude the gentlemen who might be reading this...this is just a female thing, i think), what's the deal with being polite to the exclusion of saying what you really think?
now i don't mean speaking every little snarky thing that comes to mind. i really don't. my mama taught me to be respectful and, if you don't have something nice to say, to not say anything at all. i have made use of those lessons many a day (as a teacher, let me just let you imagine how many times i have bitten my snarky retorts back and proceeded with decorum...let me help by telling you that the answer is "a lot").
but i'm talking about the feeling that i need to, perhaps in fear of not being polite enough, not say what i really think or not confront a situation.
case in point: church and a new baby. most of the people that i know at church are more than welcome to fawn over and adore my baby, and a few of them have even held her. i have zero problem with this. i know them, i trust them, and thus i have no problem with this. even as an overanxious first time mother with delusions of germs everywhere, i have no problem with this.
i do, however, have a problem with people i don't know coming up to my baby, touching her and kissing (!) her head, reaching back behind their chair to pat her when she's fussing (even though i am clearly in the middle of burping her), suggesting that perhaps the reason that she's fussing is that she's wet (no, actually, it's because i stopped her foodfest in order to prevent catastrophic gassiness), and telling me that her head is red and, upon hearing that she had a headband on earlier, telling me to be careful.
if you're a mom, i just want you to pause for a moment and imagine how you might feel when encountered by this situation. if you're not, i want you to ask yourself if you would ever have the audacity to do these things (the last three all happened in fairly quick succession, by the way).
did i say anything? did i kindly suggest that she mind her own dang business, that our baby is fine and healthy and that we really didn't need any suggestions from the proverbial peanut gallery?
no. i didn't. i stewed in my own juices a little bit until the end of church, when my husband and i were in the car. then, i said that if this particular person said one more thing to me i was going to LOSE MY MIND.
but this whole situation has gotten me thinking about what we do as women. i feel like there are many times when i swallow what i really want to say in favor of either saying nothing or saying the socially appropriate thing. i think there's definite merit in that--please don't get me wrong--but i wonder if there are times when i should be saying more than i'm saying.
when did we learn that we weren't allowed to stand up for ourselves in every circumstance? or, perhaps the better question: when is it appropriate to speak your mind and when is it more appropriate to keep quiet?
has anyone else had an experience like this? how did you decide?