unsolicited advice

29 Apr

having children means being subjected to the advice of others. be they family. friends. well-intentioned (or not so well-intentioned) strangers. random passersby. nearly everyone has an opinion on something you are doing with your child. this begins while you are pregnant and ceases – well – perhaps never. for the most part i ignore comments made by others. or at least i try to.

grandma tends to be a big offender in this area. every time she has visited she comments on one thing or another. one of her continuous comments is that she can’t understand why we would put the babies to sleep on their backs. and this isn’t just once a visit like she forgot – it’s multiple times. i explain the risk of sids and the major decrease since the back to sleep campaign started. she clucks and says well i still think a baby is likely to choke that way. legitimate concern. luckily my wigglers are a bit projectile so i tend not to worry quite as much about this. and honestly i worry about a lot of things so its saying a lot that i don’t worry about this one… this isn’t to say i don’t appreciate hearing what others have to say. sometimes. but if it is about how i should be raising my kids i am probably not all that interested.

one of the more fun ways people try to give advice is by talking to the child – or in most cases – baby directly. saying things like – my aren’t your fingernails long? or your little feet must be freezing. or you should really have a hat on shouldn’t you? as they give you a sidelong glance (or glare) while evading eye contact. i remember a few of these comments from when hook was little. and i certainly get them now. with grandma i just say so put some socks on him or go ahead and cut her nails. but with strangers this doesn’t work quite so well. a few days ago we were at the zoo. the wigglers were getting a bit antsy in the stroller so m and i each took a baby out and held them. grandma pushed the now empty stroller. as we stood by the tiger lair a woman passing by with her infant in a moby commented to her male companion – “wow give that baby some head support.” really? did you have something to say to me. my babies are four months old. they have pretty darn good head control. and not for anything we weren’t exactly whipping either baby around haphazardly. both m and i were perturbed. and amused.

i have found after having children that i am so much less judgmental with other mothers than i was before my kids were born. i (or perhaps we) had all these preconceived notions on how things should be done. when a baby should start food. how they should learn to sleep. whether they should watch television. what they should wear in what weather. how much they should be held. etc. etc. and then something happened. we had little people to take care of and we realized that so much of your time is spent muddling through. trying to figure out how to get by doing the best you can. so i like to think i am less judgmental. if you love your child and you take care of your child that should be enough. how you fulfill those things (for the most part) should be up to you.


4 Responses to “unsolicited advice”

  1. Melissa 6 FriUTC2011-04-29T20:34:25+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 29 Apr 2011 20:34:25 +0000 2009 at 8:34 PM #

    It’s so true. Everyone has an opinion. Luckily for me, I’m pretty opinionated myself. While I very rarely (if ever) critique anyone’s parenting style, especially to their face – a trait I learned as a postpartum doula- I would say that my elaborate comebacks to other people’s advice tends to make people shy away from repeat offenses…

  2. Bionic Baby Mama 6 FriUTC2011-04-29T21:36:37+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 29 Apr 2011 21:36:37 +0000 2009 at 9:36 PM #

    but isn’t it *convenient* how, when there’s a baby (or two, i imagine), you no longer have to check the weather report to know that the temperature has gone from “how can you have a baby out in this? that baby is too little to be outside!” to “your baby is crying because he’s hot. can’t you tell your baby is too hot?”

  3. AnOfferingOfLove 6 SunUTC2011-05-01T14:47:44+00:00UTC05bUTCSun, 01 May 2011 14:47:44 +0000 2009 at 2:47 PM #

    yup, yup, yup. loved this post.
    its the giving of advice indirectly to the baby that irritates me the most!

  4. strawberry 6 TueUTC2011-05-03T09:21:02+00:00UTC05bUTCTue, 03 May 2011 09:21:02 +0000 2009 at 9:21 AM #

    People need to mind their own damn business. I don’t know what’s worse…strangers or grandma. I’m thinking grandma.

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