Do you remember the best parenting advice you ever received?
It probably came from your mother, a book written by a professional, or maybe a stranger in the grocery store …
No? Because that is who has been giving me advice lately.
I saw a onesie at Target the other day that read “My Mommy Doesn’t Want Your Advice.” I wanted to buy seven of them. One for my daughter to wear each day of the week.
Maybe that would deter the nosy know-it-alls.
As parents, it may be best to admit we don’t know what the heck we are doing.
But instead, many seasoned mothers decide to take the small bits of knowledge they’ve acquired and share them with new parents in a not-so-helpful way.
“You should be sleep training her.” “Why aren’t you feeding him solids yet?”
“I can’t believe you don’t have her wearing a hat right now.”
That is not advice. It’s a reprimand.
An older woman stopped me at the mall shortly after my daughter was born, not to tell me how pretty my new baby was, but to inform me that I had dressed CeCe too warmly and she was hot. It was snowing outside.
While I was amazed that my daughter tele-pathically com-municated with this stranger, I was more shocked that a stranger would be so rude as to give me this unsolicited advice.
Had my baby been in physical danger, OK. But this was about wearing a sweater in December.
This “advice” has continued over CeCe’s first year of life. Strangers at the library, mothers-in-law or anyone who has read a baby book will think that they are the expert on raising your baby.
It can be hard to stay polite in these situations. I wanted to tell that woman at the mall her giant floral print dress made her look fat and she needed to stick to more slimming colors.
Think she would have appreciated my “advice”?
Instead, I try to smile and nod until the know-it-all moves along. If they persist, I say, “That must have worked well for your children. But I think I’ll stick to my instincts and do things our own way.”
Maybe then these wise women will wait to dish out the advice until you actually ask for it.