I'm pretty laid back, honestly, when it comes to what people say to and around my kid. Of course, there are certain things I won't tolerate (sexism, racism, verbal abuse and anything of the short) but I won't get upset if someone misgenders my son, for example. In the end, I can't control what other people think or feel or say, nor is it necessarily my job to do so. However, as a mom of an extremely outgoing child, I can tell you there are things a mom with an extroverted kid would love to never hear again; things that aren't helpful; things that, while probably not even close to the absolute worst thing you could ever say about a kid to a parent, are just a pain and pretty annoying.
I hesitate to label my kid an outright "extrovert," as he's a toddler and toddlers are pretty loud and outgoing and friendly regardless. He changes so much on a daily basis, I have no idea what he will be like a week, a month, a year or five years for now. Maybe what I perceive to be extroverted tendencies, are really him just being a toddler and eventually he will end up being more a of a shy introvert. Who knows. However, for now, he's outgoing. He doesn't seem to be afraid of anyone; he loves to talk; he loves to ask questions; he loves to be around people and big crowds; he loves to dance in front of me; he loves attention.
As a result of my son's (for now but definitely changing and evolving) personality, I hear a lot of questions and comments and concerns about he way he acts and what may or may not come of it. I'm telling you, dear reads; the unsolicited "advice," never ends. For the most part, I don't mind. However, it sure would make my days easier if I never, ever, heard the following things again.
"How Do You Get Anything Done?"
I get things done the same way any parent (or adult) gets anything done, really. Is it, sometimes, harder to accomplish my daily goals because I have an outgoing toddler who loves to be around people or ask a bunch of questions or constantly talk? Sure. However, if it wasn't my son, it would just be something else making my day slightly more difficult.
This is what it means to be a grown-ass adult. With or without a kid, things are tough but you manage anyway. You do thinks that can potentially make it easier to feel accomplished or reach your goals — like plan things, schedules things, take care of yourself, stay organized and ask for help when you need it — and you soldier on. That's how I get things done.
"I Bet You're Constantly Worried..."
Well, sure, but not because my kid is an extrovert. I am worried because I'm a parent and worrying is part of the parenting game. I'm worried because I'm acutely aware that I can't control absolutely every single scenario, nor can I protect my son from every little thing.
Mostly, I'm worried because I don't want my son to live a life without pain or heartbreak. Do I want to see him experience those things? No. It's going to suck and it's going to hurt and I'm going to have a hard time seeing my son be anything other than unapologetically happy. Do I know that he has to experience pain and heartbreak, though? Do I know that it's part of being a human being? Do I know that both those experiences, and so many other not-so-enjoyable ones, are part of living your life fully and completely? Yes. So, worrying is part of being a parent, because I want my son to live the best life he possibly can and, in the end, that will mean that he will eventually get hurt.
"...And What About 'Stranger Danger?'"
I can teach my son not to get into a van with someone he doesn't know, and still encourage him to be himself. I can teach him to say something if someone is asking him to do something he doesn't want to do or touch a part of his body he doesn't want touched, without scaring the living hell out of him.
While I'm not daft to the possibility of my child being "taken," I know the chances are extremely low. Like, so very, very low. I am not going to tell him to stop being an extrovert, just because of a perceived threat that's highlighted to the point that people believe it to be more common than it actually is. My son will be vigilant, but he will still be himself.
"I Bet You Look Forward To That Glass Of Wine At The End Of The Night, Huh?"
Can we stop with the "every stressed out mom drinks a bottle (or three) of wine at night" trope. It's so overplayed and overdone and tiring and, honestly, unhealthy. Do I enjoy a glass of red at the end of a long day? Eh, not really. I prefer whiskey. Even then, though, I don't "need" booze to "deal" with a toddler. I don't "need" booze to "deal" with an extroverted toddler. I don't "need" booze to "deal" at all.
There are so many other ways I can get back to neutral and destress from a particularly overwhelming day, that doesn't involve alcohol. Playing video games, for example, is a great way for me to relieve some tension. Going for a drive or reading a book or simply talking with friends about their days, so that I don't have to think about mine, are all ways that I unwind. No booze necessary, my friends.
"Well, You Don't Have To Worry About Your Kid Ever Being Shy"
Just because my son is an extrovert in most scenarios, doesn't mean he never gets shy.
Furthermore, why would I "worry" if my kid was, in fact, shy? Being shy isn't bad. I am pretty shy in certain social settings, and I don't consider myself to be defective. If and when my kid is shy, I won't chastise him or make him feel bad and I definitely won't worry.
"Are They Ever Quiet?"
Ugh. This. This is the worst. Talk about rude, right?
I guess I could see how this is a somewhat valid question, especially if it's coming from someone I love and trust and especially because my kid loves loves loves to talk. I don't take offense to very much very easily. However, it's also kind of a stupid question. Of course my kid is quiet. He's quiet when I am reading to him; he's quiet when he's watching Toy Story; he's quiet when I ask him to be quiet (sometimes); he's quiet when he's sleeping. Extrovert doesn't necessarily mean "constantly loud," and while my toddler is loud — after all, he's a toddler — he's also quiet and shy and reserved sometimes, too.
This is why we shouldn't put people, even children, in boxes, my friends. We're all so wonderfully complex.
"You Must Be Exhausted"
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes I am very exhausted, but I can't blame my extroverted toddler for being the reason why I'm so tired and on a regular basis.
I'm exhausted because I'm a mom with a career and multiple responsibilities. I'm exhausted because there are so many things I put my time and effort and energy into: my relationships, my friendships, my family, my job, my self-care. I'm exhausted because I'm an adult and being an adult can be pretty exhausting. Don't blame my kid, people. Not fair. I was exhausted when I was kid-free and in college, too.
"Well, Your Kid Is Certainly 'Spirited'"
Can we just not with the word "spirited?" I know what people really mean when they say "spirited." They really mean, "a pain in the ass."
"At Least You'll Know They'll Be The Popular Kid"
I don't really put a bunch of time and energy into wondering whether not my child will be "popular" when he eventually attends school. All I really care about is that he will be safe, have healthy relationships and learn what he needs to learn.
Plus, I don't know if he will be "popular." I have no idea what he will be, because he's just a toddler.
"You Have A Future Star On Your Hands!"
I usually don't mind this sentiment, because I know that it's said with the best of intentions. Still, I don't know who my son will eventually become, and I'm definitely not going to try and determine his future "as soon as possible" and for my benefit. Who knows, maybe one day he will decide that he'd rather be an introvert. I have no idea and, well, that's half the fun.