Thursday, July 29, 2004

Miffed women

My DH frequently comments on women who look miffed -- they tend to be moms these days because we are in the throes of parenting preschoolers and the only people we tend to notice are other parents....  DH will mention he saw a certain neighborhood woman taking a walk with her three sons and dog, he always thinks she looks miffed, though he did note she looks less miffed this year than last.

I've noticed that I, myself, am miffed quite a bit.  I hear myself talking to my 2 DDs and I sound awful -- a real harpy.  The most ironic thing is I'm always telling the 4 year old not to whine or yell, but I do it all the time.  

Why are women almost always miffed?  I'll have to bring DH in on this one, I can think up lots of reasons why mothers of preschoolers are miffed, but I think he thinks all women, regardless of age, have a strong tendency towards miffedness.

Why are moms miffed?  Well, its very stressful taking care of preschoolers all day.  They interrupt your thoughts and activities constantly.  I feel terribly off-balance because the 2 year old is in everything -- I'll be in the middle of a task and have to go and get her out of some dangerous situation.  Then, I forget what I was doing.  I guess I'm miffed because of the inability to concentrate, the lack of peace.  Granted, there is a lot I can do to try to restore peace to my mind despite my circumstances, but I guess I'm not trying hard enough.

I often feel its hard to take preschoolers anywhere -- I'm either being too strict and controlling or too lax.  If I'm worried the kids are getting into things or bothering people and I nag them not to do this or touch that, inevitably there is some kindly person who assures me its all right.  So, I feel like a shrew.  Other times, I decide to be laid back mommy, give the kids some room to explore while watching all the while when I discover that the adults there are of a more control-oriented stance and don't want the kids wandering. 

The latter happened today at a library story time for 3 to 5 year olds.  The 2 year old was walking around.  As she slowly approached the felt board where the librarian was telling the story, the librarian told her [i.e. me] that she needed to sit down.  Obviously, the 2 year old was not going to do that, mommy knew full well that the librarian was admonishing her for allowing the 2 year old to wander.  Mind you, the child had not reached the felt board, had not touched anything and mommy's eyes were on the child.  Nonetheless, I felt cowed, then extremely annoyed -- excuse me, its a CHILDREN'S PROGRAM, I would have expected to find someone a bit more laid back with children.  Oh well -- this is just one small example of the rage that leads to a general miffedness.  And I'm not even getting into the control freak at Pottery Barn Kids who put away the display toys as my children played with them -- where do they find these people -- the toys were out to be played with -- its probably because I wasn't a granny willing to buy the crap.  If my mom/their grandma was with me I'm sure the saleslady would have found my children adorable...


Anne Zelenka said...

Maybe they just look miffed but they're not. We expect women to look pleasant and happy but don't expect that of men. When I was a software engineer, I would be thinking about some tough bug or design problem and invariably would get the comment, "Smile! It's not so bad!" from some old guy or another. I wasn't feeling grumpy. I was just thinking! Leave me alone!

Maybe DH should look to see if the men around him look miffed too. Seems to me that the word "miffed" is usually used in connection with women, because we expect men to look serious and we expect women to look ready-to-please.

Marjorie said...

You go, girl! Egads, I've been Stepfordized! I would have made your argument years ago -- it would have popped out of my mouth, but I didn't even think of it. I'm so embarrassed. Maybe I should start dyeing my hair red again -- I'm losing my Sparkiness.
Thanks for reminding me -- you're right and DH was reading your comment over my shoulder -- all he said was men don't looked miffed because they go to work and drink coffee all day. Ah, thats the life!