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How to deal with back handed comments over daycare?
July 13, 2011 8:03 AM   Subscribe

'But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else (meaning daycare) raise them'? The next time my neighbor offers up this little nugget of superority I'd like to have a snarky assed comment ready..

Note- said neighbor is-and always will be-on welfare. Both my SO and I work so the kids go to daycare (which they love BTW, we are lucky to find such a great one). I'd like to come back with something about how
a) daycare is not 'raising' them-we are
b) I can't see why you'd have several kids when you are not in any way able to support them
c) I dislike her and her bratty whining kids-there is NO advice I'd take from her on ANYthing ever

Suggestions?
posted by Frosted Cactus to Human Relations (79 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why engage when you can troll?

'But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else (meaning daycare) raise them'

"Well, Christ, it's not like we PLANNED to have these little bastards"
posted by Greg Nog at 8:04 AM on July 13, 2011 [50 favorites]


> Suggestions?

Tell her to have a great day and go about having one yourself?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:05 AM on July 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


"Kids? What kids?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:05 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you really even have to talk to this person? This seems like a conversation that will lead no wheres. I would just pull out one of those lovely southern sayings.
posted by mokeydraws at 8:06 AM on July 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think I'd look at your neighbor in stoney silence and not dignify the remark with a comeback. Your neighbor is fucking rude to say shit like that. Let the comment hang in the air I say.
posted by Maisie at 8:06 AM on July 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Excuse me?" and walk away.
posted by francesca too at 8:06 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I find that question very rude." and walk away. There is no point in being snarky (well, it feels good... but it just leads to more trouble)
posted by Blisterlips at 8:07 AM on July 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Their organs and bone marrow.

DUH.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:08 AM on July 13, 2011 [40 favorites]


According to your profile, you're in Texas. I've only spent a little bit of time in the South, but isn't this what "Well, bless your heart" was meant for?
posted by enlarged to show texture at 8:08 AM on July 13, 2011 [74 favorites]


"Well, bless your heart."
posted by juniperesque at 8:10 AM on July 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Silence and unfaltering, direct eye contact.
posted by griphus at 8:11 AM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"How kind of you to take an interest." Miss Manners-approved.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:12 AM on July 13, 2011 [33 favorites]


Someone who believes that crap so strongly she goes out of her way to say it out loud to you on a recurring basis is not going to have her mind changed with a witty retort. Moreover, just as it's none of her business to judge your choice to send your kids to daycare, it's none of your business to judge her financial circumstances or the number of kids she has.

Consider that you're in a position of (relative) power here. You have a two-income household, quality daycare, and happy kids. She's on welfare, struggles to provide for her kids, and her family doesn't seem to be a happy one. Her criticizing you, though incredibly rude, probably comes from a place of insecurity. Your coming back with a smackdown about her poor life choices would be wrong.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:13 AM on July 13, 2011 [74 favorites]


"We think they'll do a better job than we will."
posted by jeather at 8:15 AM on July 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Meg_Murry is so spot-on here. Responding to your neighbor's crappy behavior with crappy behavior of your own might be satisfying in the short term, but it's still crappy behavior.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:16 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Why, what a strange question." [crickets]

Also Miss Manners-approved.
posted by Frowner at 8:16 AM on July 13, 2011 [20 favorites]


As others have said, you have to be the bigger person here (and trust me, I understand how hard that is, my chest is boiling for you over here). I think you have to just smile and say something like, "oh bless your heart for worrying, but the center takes wonderful care of them while we're at work and then we have lots of great family time together at home! Anyway, gotta run, see you later!"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:18 AM on July 13, 2011


My wife specifically loves "well bless your PEA-PICKIN' heart" for this type of person.
posted by TheBones at 8:18 AM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"That's really none of your business now, is it?"
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:22 AM on July 13, 2011


As with so many things in parenting, her comments are not about you. They are about her.

I find that most of the time, judgmental remarks, criticism, backhanded compliments and the like about parenting are usually coming from a place of insecurity in the other person -- and the ones that lodge with me are the ones that trigger my own insecurities as a parent. It's very annoying, and it's hard not to take the bait, but I try to remember, when I hear something judgy like that aimed at me, that 1) it's a reflection of them and their worries/concerns (maybe she wishes she could afford daycare to get a break from her bratty kids? maybe it's threatening to her world view to even consider the possibility that she could be making different parenting choices?) more than it is some kind of absolute truth about me, 2) their judgment about my choices is a defense mechanism and a way to feel more comfortable about their own difficult choices, and 3) we are all making our own difficult choices, even if we don't realize it.

So, I'd say just acknowledge it ("mm-hmm, okay, see you later"/whatever) and let it go.
posted by mothershock at 8:24 AM on July 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


~blink~
"Wow."
pause.
"Bye."
posted by 8dot3 at 8:26 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I totally agree with mothershock as to the motivation, but I like the young rope-rider's response because it's so obviously over the top that it plays off the criticism as a joke, and then you can walk away.
posted by gaspode at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2011


"Why would I have kids and completely monopolize their care so that they can't get along in polite society when they grow up?"
posted by Leezie at 8:28 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. (your own example) I can't see why you'd have several kids when you aren't able to support them yourself.
2. I've considered your shining example of at-home parenting and decided that being able to hold a real job will set a better example for my children in the long-run.
3. I see daycare as a way of properly socializing my kids early on so they don't become social miscreants and end up on welfare.
posted by lizbunny at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


"How kind of you to take time and energy away from your own life to worry about mine."
posted by The Deej at 8:33 AM on July 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


You guys are great. Mothershock is correct, ofcoarse. And I will *try* to be the bigger person, but I'm going to keep some of these hysterical responces in my head just in case....
posted by Frosted Cactus at 8:34 AM on July 13, 2011


"Well why would you have kids that you clearly can't afford? We're sending our kids to daycare so that they can reap the benefits of improved socialization and learning opportunities, so that later on they'll be equipped to get good jobs and contribute to society like their parents."

(I'm not as enthusiastic about being a bigger person.)
posted by Kololo at 8:45 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about a hybrid, the "kill them with kindness" type that leaves the recipient not sure whether she's been told off, even days or weeks later.

(I don't agree with simply walking away from it, because she clearly likes to repeat this little idea of hers, probably for the dose of superiority it gives her ego every time—but her insecurity doesn't require you to take the hit every time you see her. I do agree you can take the high road though.)

"How kind of you to take an interest. Partner and I agree with the child experts who say that kids really benefit socially and developmentally from their time spent around other kids, and we also feel that they will be more ready to transition to kindergarten after all the practice they are getting by going to preschool. So we want to do whatever it takes to give them those opportunities. Have a great day!"

You've now reframed the story. Your kids don't go to daycare because you work -- you work so your kids can go to daycare! (regardless of whether that's true. Why your kids are in daycare and whether they might not go if one parent stayed home is fully in the MYOB territory.)

But I guarantee you she's never considered that possibility, so entrenched as she seems to be in this "stay-at-home moms are the best moms!" narrative.
posted by pineapple at 8:54 AM on July 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Hmm. ....Okay, I don't know how to talk to you." *walk away*

Okay, I got it from an episode of Friends, but it's good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:55 AM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've considered your shining example of at-home parenting and decided that being able to hold a real job will set a better example for my children in the long-run.

please don't insult all stay at home moms/housewives. your job isn't any more real than mine. i just don't have to put on pants to do it.

"bless your heart" is really the correct response. everyone knows it means "fuck you, asshole" but no one can call you on it.
posted by nadawi at 8:57 AM on July 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


When responding, I'd avoid barbs about her being on welfare and "not being able to afford children". That's opening a huge can of classist worms. There are ways to zing her back without stooping to that level - there are a lot of great ideas in the replies above.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Just as you have opinions about my parenting choices and decisions, I have opinions about yours. But I don't see it as my place to voice them to you. I'd appreciate it if you'd return the courtesy."
posted by rtha at 9:11 AM on July 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


"You'll understand when you can afford it."
posted by foursentences at 9:13 AM on July 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


we think it's important to them that they spend time interacting with their generational peers in order for them to acquire the interactive and developmental skills they will need to succeed in the future.
posted by any major dude at 9:15 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are about a million reasons that a person could end up on welfare that have nothing to do with bad planning, poor socialization, lack of education, or incorrect life choices. The fucking disgusting classism and entitlement being flaunted in some of the answers here is really a disappointment. I expect better from this site.

I'd go with a parry like "well bless your heart" or, if you want to engage and educate, Pineapple's answer is excellent. But if you don't want to take the high road, say, "Well, because we don't love them that much, obviously."
posted by milk white peacock at 9:15 AM on July 13, 2011 [36 favorites]


There are all kinds of things to say, but the only thing you should say is nothing.

That kind of person is not worth your time. Also (and yes I'm a paranoid person) she's at home all day and you are not. All sorts of things could happen to your yard and house if she's slightly unhinged, which someone who would even SAY those kinds of things has already demonstrated.

You don't want to come home and find all your yard plants dead or your shed broken into and things messed up.
posted by winna at 9:16 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, there really are about a million different philosophies about the best best way to raise children, huh? I guess we all have to really just make the best decision for our own families and not worry about how other families decide."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


Alternatively, you might pretend to have interpreted her question as an interest in trying out daycare for herself:

"I remember you'd wanted to learn more about the advantages of daycare; I've scoped it out for you and Happy Happy Day Care Center can give your kids an introductory session next Thursday. It'll be just $30 per child per day. See you there!"

As occasionally happens, AskMe is not answering the question as asked -- the OP's question is not "What is the most polite or appropriate response?" but rather "What response will repay obnoxiousness with contempt?"
posted by foursentences at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Perhaps simply:

"Daycare is not 'raising' them-we are! And another thing: I can't see why you'd have several kids when you are not in any way able to support them. And while I'm at it you should know I dislike you and your bratty whining kids-there is NO advice I'd take from you on ANYthing ever!"

Then I'd ask to borrow their hedge clippers.
posted by mazola at 9:39 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Change the subject:

"But why are you on welfare when you're such a capable person?"

Yes, the analogy breaks down, but it sounds like a compliment and now they're on the defensive.

Not actually sure I'd use this one since it will likely lead to hearing about all that's wrong with them and the world.
posted by Ookseer at 9:46 AM on July 13, 2011


If you want to be mean, say 'we don't want them to grow up narrow-minded and afraid of the world. They could have trouble in school and not be able to get good jobs.'

On the other hand, it's never wise to make an enemy of someone you can't get away from if there is any alternative.

This neighbor thinks, quite accurately, that you judge her and look down on her, and that is making her feel inferior.

You could at least sow a few doubts about that and really boost her self-esteem by saying something like 'yeah, it is a big sacrifice. I do miss having them around during the day like you get to.'

I think I can guarantee you'll reap rewards from that tactic if she continues to be a neighbor.
posted by jamjam at 9:53 AM on July 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Not everything works for every family."

"I'm glad you have found what keeps your family happy. This is what keeps our family happy."

"Thank you very much for your concern for my children! It's sweet of you, really."

"Well, we all have sacrifices we have to make."

One thing I would do is keep a noncommittal tone with whatever you say. Keep it short and change the subject or leave. If the comments persist or escalate, progress into, "Thank you for expressing your opinion to me. I assure you I understand, but this is not a subject I care to talk about with you further.' And if they continue after that, well, then it's time to just press your real life ignore button.
posted by zizzle at 9:59 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Oh my goodness [neighbor], are you pregnant again?" Its rude, its bitchy, it seems like a non-sequitur so she probably won't know how to answer. I don't recommend this route, and suggest taking the high route actually, but that's how I would like to answer in the imaginary world where there are no consequences to being rude to your neighbour.
posted by Joh at 10:12 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Milk White Peacock:
Yes there are, but poor planning and laziness is the reason for this one. Can't pay your own bills but CAN pay for tattooes? Ciggs? Trips to the bar? She is gleefully playing the system and proud of it. Her mom was on welfare, she is on welfare, and her shitty kids will be on welfare-dredge on society
posted by Frosted Cactus at 10:20 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh I love Joh's response, couldn't stop laughing for a few minutes. It would also work well as:

"Well bless your heart. Oh my goodness [neighbor], are you pregnant again?!" and walk away.
posted by lizbunny at 10:20 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Q. But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them'?
A. Because I get a check in the mail every month for each of them. More kids, more money. You?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We send our kids to daycare so they can learn social skills."

*pause*

"You didn't go to daycare as a child, did you?"
posted by hazyjane at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


Damn, Frosty Cactus- maybe she's lashing about because she feels judged. Harshly. Just say that we all have to make decisions about how we raise our kids and this is what works for you. And stop interacting with her. It doesn't sound healthy or happy on either side.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:28 AM on July 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I know that taking the high road is the right approach.

That said, I like the responses you've highlighted that deflect it into absurdity or self-denegration. You might riff on that.

"Because I Just. Keep. Dropping them!"

"It's a daycare? We thought it was a kennel."

"Because if I took them to work, they'd scare the johns away".

Okay, the last one may have gone too dark. What about lying?

"My beloved sister runs that daycare."
posted by TangoCharlie at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


[folks, OP is not anon, feel free to take side discussions to email or MeTa if you need to. OP you are not helping this question stay on track.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:46 AM on July 13, 2011


This is the perfect occasion to use a phrase that I hate!

"I know, right?!?"
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on July 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


This sounds like a perfect place to pull out the tried and true:

"EXACTLY! *dramatic pause* but think about that..." and walk away.

Alternatively, when being consistently pestered by someone inquiring about something that is no business of theirs, where I have absolutely zero relationship (familial, professional or within circle of friends/acquaintances) with, and I've politely but firmly attempted to steer someone from asking this question, I will start to make up different answers to this crossing-the-line question each time it is asked:

Q:"Why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them?"
A: "A little after 3:30 on Tuesdays, usually."

Q:"Why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them?"
A: "Oh my God! I LOVE Thai food too!!!"

Q:"Why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them?"
A: "Well... while that may be true, I have found that if you line the floor with a heavy plastic coating, it really minimizes the chance of leaving DNA evidence."
posted by Debaser626 at 10:57 AM on July 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


She wants you to stay home with your kids so that you can baby-sit hers.
posted by JayRwv at 10:59 AM on July 13, 2011


They're our retirement fund.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:16 AM on July 13, 2011


"Their fingers polish the inside of shell metal casings. How else am I to polish the inside of a 45 millimeter shell casing? You tell me. You tell me!"
posted by jabes at 11:23 AM on July 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Q:"Why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them?"

A: To piss people off. Seriously. It really pisses some people off!
posted by mazola at 11:31 AM on July 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Point at offender. Smile.
Look at a 3rd party and say in your most condesending tone:
"Oh how cute, it has an opinion"
posted by cmdnc0 at 11:40 AM on July 13, 2011


said neighbor is-and always will be-on welfare.

"I work to pay taxes, so that you can sit on your ass all day. Where do you think that welfare money comes from?"
posted by coolguymichael at 11:47 AM on July 13, 2011


How do you KNOW she's on welfare? Are you going through her mail (and counting her tattoos)? Creepy.

Anyway the best response for me would just be something like "Oh I just can't stand to be cooped up in the house all day, running late gotta go, bye"
posted by WeekendJen at 12:12 PM on July 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


'But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else (meaning daycare) raise them'?

"Well, I don't want them to spend too much time around, you know-" *gesture vaguely at her house* "here. They might pick up bad manners."

Mean, but not so mean she might mess with your stuff when you're not home. And not classist, which would just make you look ruder than she is, defeating your purpose.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. Because we both hate kids; and

2. We just needed the tax deduction. Bonus points if, whenever your neighbor is around, you refer to your children as "Tax Deduction 1, Tax Deduction 2, etc." as if it's the child's given name.
posted by Hylas at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2011


(Building off Hylas -- given that you're specifically looking for ways to make her feel self-conscious about her income -- you could throw in a "when you earn money, you get a tax deduction for each child...(etc.). )

But -- well, how good are you at acting? The more I've thought about this question, the more it's struck me that the best response might simply be to burst into an enormous belly-laugh.
1) You have complete plausible deniability if she calls you rude -- why, her own question was so rude, you thought she was joking, and you genuinely found it funny.
2) There's no "classism", or any of that, in a laugh. You could laugh at the same comment coming from somebody rich.
3) In fact, a laugh has no criticisable semantic content whatsoever; it simply reflects back whatever her fears or insecurities already are. (And her mind will jump to whichever insecurities are most salient to her.)
4) Given that it sure sounds like she's jealous of your more responsible lifestyle (and casting about to explain it to herself as your error rather than hers), it seems pretty likely that she'll hear the laugh in the way you want her to hear it: "It is absurd that someone like you should act supercilious toward someone like me."

(An obviously-artificial laugh would just come off as angry, but if you can successfully convey that you find the question unbearably absurd, I really think you could cut her to the quick. GL and HF.)
posted by foursentences at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with all the subterfuge? In my experience, the only way to put an end to "deniably" judgmental/back-handed comments is to just bluntly call them out and tell it like it is, as many times at it takes. This is what I would say if I were you:

Neighbor: "But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else (meaning daycare) raise them'?"
You: "Linda, that's a rude comment and I don't appreciate it."
Or,: "Linda, you are judging me, and I don't appreciate it."
Or if you want to be nice,: "Let's not pry into each other's private business.

Period. The end. Walk away. No dignifying these comments by engaging with them at all.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:31 PM on July 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Sometimes....
posted by bq at 1:43 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ashley801 The only tweak I would offer is if the neighbor and Frosted Cactus are constantly in contact (whether that means meeting at the supermarket or serving together on a homeowner's association committee). If you're going to see someone practically every day of your life, you really can't afford to be so blunt that your attitude can be taken for rudeness -- because having an enemy underfoot is worse than having a busybody.

How about, "Linda, I'm sure your question is meant kindly, and I don't want to sound rude, but my family is none of your business. I'm sure you wouldn't want someone offering unsolicited opinions about how you raise your children. So I hope you'll agree when I suggest we should drop the subject permanently."
posted by La Cieca at 2:24 PM on July 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


'I'm sorry your life has made you bitter'.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:11 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


aaand yet another opportunity to use my....

"Obviously you haven't traveled much."

works better the more ill-suited the situation!
posted by imaswinger at 3:57 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Stop judging me."
"Please keep your comments to yourself."
"Cut out the criticism."

Snark, like revenge, is never as satisfying as you think it will be. So, I wouldn't follow any advice to use it... No matter how funny... not even the "Obviously you haven't traveled much." But it's very tempting, isn't it?
posted by tel3path at 4:09 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Child Protective Services said we can't keep them chained in the basement anymore.
posted by space_cookie at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's always the complete non sequitur, Big Lebowski style: "Obviously you're not a golfer".

Confuse the hell out of her.
posted by gaspode at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I don't like having em round when I'm drinking. Such a buzzkill, and they only drink frangelico."

"Well, I read an article that said children shouldn't be exposed to too many swinger parties. I figure they get enough on the weekends."

"Have you ever had to change a nappy? Totally gross."

"With all the shit they steal from other kids, it's practically paying for itself!"

"I'm just worried I'm gonna give in to the voices one day, you know?"
posted by smoke at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"They're not mine."

Admittedly, this would be more effective if you were male.
posted by orangejenny at 4:47 PM on July 13, 2011


"I know -- I feel exactly the same! I wish I could get Bill to quit his job and stay home with the kids, but men these days think they can have it all."
posted by escabeche at 5:29 PM on July 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"But why would you have kids if you are just going to have somebody else raise them?"

"Because that's what rich people, like myself, do."

"I prefer that they not hang out with the riffraff in the neighborhood."

"I'm sending them to clown school so they can earn their living when they grow up."

"We actually just lock them in a closet during the day."

"It's one of those practical skill daycares. It's like the Montossori method but they go a step further and get the kids jobs so I'm actually getting a little money back."

"If I keep them in the house all day, our whole place smells like farts."
posted by Foam Pants at 5:43 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If I took them to work with me, they'd get cut into half and eaten with cream cheese on Toddler Friday."
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:25 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, you're favoriting all the comments that say nasty things about being on welfare, so, you've got your mind made up. But if you come back with something like that, you're just as bad as her.

Also you seem to think she has been, and will be, on welfare for life, but the time limit last I knew for TANF was five years, and many states have even more restrictive policies. You seem to have some very firm opinions about her at the same time you're denigrating her for having opinions about you. I'd just drop it, or maybe politely ask her to refrain from commenting on your parenting choices, but saying her children will always be on welfare is just really crass and gross, honestly.
posted by kpht at 7:30 PM on July 13, 2011 [21 favorites]


I understand wanting to snap back, and I understand the argument that snapping back brings you down to her level. Letting it go addressed feels wrong, and having a clever retort that she is too ignorant to understand feels so good in the moment, and even for a few hours after when you go home and tell your SO about how you defended your parenting decisions to a parent as bad as her. But you'll feel worse if/when she responds by escalating things -- spreading rumors, using her position as your neighbor to make your life difficult in minor but frustrating ways, even taking opportunities to make her own snide comments directly to your kids ...

My suggested strategy? Go out of your way to be nice to her. Go beyond being extra-polite, go beyond being diplomatic, and actually initiate positive contact. I don't know what typical friendly-neighbor behavior in your area is, but whatever it is ... master it. Bake cookies, shovel her sidewalk, babysit her kids when she's sick, whatever. Be the neighbor everybody wishes they could have.

**(I would suggest against gifts which obviously require money, because you've referenced her economic situation vs. yours as a point of contention. Choose things that require time over money.)

And whatever you do, don't be fake about it.

Now, the way I see it, one of two things will happen:

(1) She will be surprised, and maybe wary, but (sooner or later) react positively. She will come to see you in a different light -- not as someone who looks down on her for being on welfare, but someone whom she misjudged. You don't sound like you want to pursue a friendship with her, but at least you can live as amicable neighbors.

(2) She will be surprised, and then rude. She will assume you're doing it to manipulate her, to highlight her "rude neighbor" behavior, etc. She will continue to make the same comments that piss you off now ...

... Except now she has absolutely no defense for being rude to you. None whatsoever (just so long as you're not insincere/sarcastic about anything). There is no way for you to not come off looking like the bigger person. She was rude to you; you reached out to her in a polite and constructive manner; she rejected you.

You're understandably pissed, and I don't blame you for wanting to piss her off in return. My argument for Good Neighbor Behavior still stands. Believe me when I say that responding to jackass behavior with understanding and kindness will often piss off the instigator off much more than responding in kind. After all, she expects a snotty comment; she does not expect kindness. If she's just a genuinely difficult person who is predisposed to dislike you no matter what your behavior is, she will be more frustrated by behavior that she cannot make sense of -- rather than the very behavior she expects you to respond with.

Either way, you win. If she stops being rude, then when your kids are old enough to understand, you tell them the story and relate it to a life-lesson about Being The Bigger Person. If she continues to be rude, then when your kids are old enough to understand, you tell them the story and relate it to a life-lesson about Being The Bigger Person.

(After all, isn't the contention between you and her supposed to be based on whether or not you're a good parent?)
posted by hypotheticole at 8:39 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The jerk store called . . . "

Note: it sounds from your comments like you plan to take the high road/"bless your heart" approach, but that you want to collect a bunch of insulting come-backs for a good laugh. I can totally appreciate wanting to come up with a list of those after someone has repeatedly insulted me to my face.
posted by imalaowai at 9:27 PM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


[seriously folks, go to MeTa if you have to, this thread is becoming a parody of itself. ]
posted by jessamyn at 8:28 AM on July 14, 2011


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