DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a single father. My daughter is adopted, so I knew what I was getting into.
Way back in the beginning of this journey, her godmother warned me that because I am single, there would be many, mostly women, who would insist on giving me parenting advice. For the most part I have followed her suggestion to ignore them.
This last summer, some teachers at her program cornered me to advise what type of swimming suit she should be wearing. We had painfully shopped for her suit and settled on one that would offer the most convenience and modesty. These women felt that she should be wearing a one-piece instead of the three-piece we chose.
When I offered that the three-piece, basically a bikini type with a full cover-up allowing only a small portion of skin on her back to show, was chosen because it was easier for her to use the restroom, etc., I was told that a one-piece was more appropriate.
Miss Manners, I was stunned, appalled and then infuriated, because this suit is perfectly modest and actually covers more than a one-piece would cover. I ended the confrontation with "Thank you, I will take it on advisement."
What should I have done? And should I send her swimming next time with the suit, or am I obliged to purchase another because they "offered" their advice? The suit meets pool regulations, it is modest, and Grandma approved.
GENTLE READER: There are two issues at play here: the unwarranted advice of smug parents who think that they know better and have better taste than you -- or any single father -- and the wardrobe regulations of teachers stating what is recommended (or required) at their facilities.
Miss Manners fears that the directive given on this occasion falls somewhere between the two. Nevertheless, as these teachers seem to have something to do with the pool that your daughter attended, it might behoove you to follow their advice, impractical and unwelcome as it may be, and save the three-piece for other outings. But you are justified in politely ignoring unsolicited advice from those who do not have your daughter directly in their care.
As a side note, Miss Manners commends you on "knowing what you were getting into" when you adopted your daughter. She knows hardly any other parent, adoptive or not, who can claim the same.