Ever been in a situation where you KNOW you’re being talked about behind your back? I hate that. And part of me wants to know what’s being said, but you know, that’s not really healthy.
First, I’d rather the talking be behind my back than to my face because I’d probably be hurt if I knew all the details.
Second, my response to anything that’s said would likely be “well, if you don’t like it, you are welcome to walk over here and kiss my (rear end).” That would not be productive.
Third, a more mature response would be likely to only inflame things more. If the criticism is, for example, “she’s got that boob out again,” which I believe was said recently, a response extolling the benefits of “extended” breastfeeding, breastfeeding on demand, and not hiding in a closet to nurse would not really change anybody’s mind and would probably only make the criticiser feel defensive. There are no winners there.
Fourth, the things that WERE said to my face were bad enough, and so we go back to the first thing, which was that I’d only be hurt if I knew what was said when I wasn’t there.
But here’s a free tip for you. Two, actually. Heck, three.
1. If you criticize someone behind their back, but in front of your kids, be aware that they will, whether they mean to or not, eventually give you away. This is how I know that our decision to take our young children, who probably won’t remember it, to Disneyland was criticized recently. This is how I know that our homeschooling was a topic of discussion, as well.
2. If you treat someone with disrespect behind their back, but in front of your kids, your kids will stop treating the person with respect. Maybe you don’t care. But this week outlined for me the importance of watching what I say and how I act around MY kids more closely.
3. This can also backfire if you have teenagers. Bizarrely, your decision as a parent to let your scorn for various people out in the open around your kids can actually give those people some street cred with your teenagers. Filing this away for future reference.