17 February 2011

you parent your way, i'll parent mine.

my sister-in-law, Amanda, sent me this link to an interesting/funny/true article this week on "the 10 most irritating, least helpful parenting tips ever", and i had to share with y'all. not before i became a mother did i realize how touchy a subject parenting was. almost as bad as religion and politics. like i said, this is interesting, funny and true. 

have i said some of these before to other mothers? 

guilty as charged. 

1. "Sleep now, because once that baby comes you'll never sleep again." Technically this is a pregnancy tip, of course, but I'm shoving it in here anyway. Yes, Great-Aunt Hildy, I will sleep throughout my entire third trimester. Because I am part bear. ( this actually is true....you will never sleep again.)

2. "Sleep when the baby sleeps." Everyone gives you this one — annoying relatives, pediatricians, the cashier at the drugstore where you were buying newborn diapers. Are these people all robots, capable of instantly dropping off to sleep whenever their child is unconscious? Do they not have other things to do, like bathe, or simply relish the rare moments of silence you get when you have an infant? (i actually find this one helpful - although i didn't catch onto it until 4 months in when baby n. stopped sleeping like a newborn, and instead in 30-40 minute increments. missed the boat on that one.)

3. "I think your baby's hungry." Whether you're nursing or bottle-feeding, everyone assumes you don't know how to feed your child. And every time your child cries, whines, grimaces, or squirms, they are going to assume you are starving your poor baby and you need reminders to feed it. Lest you forget! This advice is especially maddening when they turn out to be correct. (yeah, i've gotten this one before, and  sometimes its true. he is hungry. but he's always hungry!! i can see how some would take offense. but as you can see....baby n. is clearly not starving.)

4. "Relish every moment of your baby's first years, because they'll be grown before you know it." You mean, time only moves forward? I had no idea! I thought we'd be like this forever and ever! This sort of advice, obvious and innocuous as it seems, always put me on the defensive, as if I had just been carrying my baby under my arm like a football, muttering, "Grow up already, why don't you. Just GROW UP." (i can't even tell you how many times, sometimes in a day, that i hear this. mostly it just makes me sad.)

5. "I hope you're sleep training that child. Do you WANT him to be spoiled?" Oh, distant relative/person whose aisle I shared at the supermarket, I'm so glad you know exactly my child needs. And that you know, from your years of scientific research, that any child not allowed to cry it out will be a horrible waste of flesh! (don't even get me started....)

6. "I hope you're not doing that 'crying it out' thing. It's so barbaric. Enjoy your baby all through the night!" Again, kudos to you, whoever you are, for knowing what's best for our unique family situation! I will be calling you at 4 a.m., so you can enjoy our baby as well. (see comment above)

7. "Why are you bringing your child outside when it's so cold out?" It never ceased to amaze me that, no matter what my child's age, total strangers will express alarm and revulsion that I dared expose him to the elements. "And WHY ISN'T BE WEARING MITTENS? He's going to get consumption!" (i got this even though i was completely paranoid to leave the house with a newborn and didn't really take him out anywhere in the first six weeks. as if i didn't feel guilty enough....)

8. "Your child isn't really sad/angry/injured. He's just manipulating you." There's no doubt that children can push our buttons as if they've had professional training in it, but the notion that my kid's authentic feelings are in fact manufactured to elicit a reaction really chaps my hide If that were always true, he'd be a pint-sized sociopath.  I'm pretty sure that's not the case. (seriously...a baby manipulating me?? a baby?? if that's the case, then my son is a genius.)

9. "Schools are just glorified prisons. If you loved your child, you'd homeschool." Oh, if only I loved my child enough to abandon my livelihood, tear him away from the community he so enjoys, separate him from the professionals who have dedicated their careers to childhood education, and forced him to stay home all day with me, where we'd be at each other's throats for hours! If only! Please note: I am not opposed to homeschooling, at all — in fact I wish it would work for us, but it would not. (have never heard this one, but clearly it would be annoying. how many people can really home school anyway? if so, more power to 'em.)

10. "If I were you, I'd just—" OH NO YOU DON'T. I know where this is going. Listen, unnamed distant acquaintance who last parented in the 19th century (it's true — I often get my unwanted advice from ghosts) you don't know diddly about my kid, and our relationship, and what works for us. (uh huh, uh huh, uh huh...i usually just take this one with a smile and a nod.)

everyone means well. parenting...it can be a little stressful, but all worth it...

i mean, just look at this face.

what's the most irritating, least helpful advice you've ever been given? and it's ok to point out if it was me, giving that advice. 

happy thursday. xo.


Krista said...

wasn't necessarily advice...but someone said to me "THAT IS SO WRONG" for leaving my happy little snackers in the car on a beautiful 75 degree day with the windows rolled down just a tad and the doors locked while i ran to the movie ticket box that was outside and had no line, to grab a few tickets. i honestly was not more than five minutes.
really bothered me. as a mother i strive to make sure my kids are happy and protected and for a stranger who obviously didn't know the whole situation to question that, really annoyed me.

Ellie said...

Oh man...I'm know I'm guilty of giving unwanted advice. But I always get peeved when people tell me what to feed her. I am sorry I didn't start with rice cereal people, but my baby is happy and healthy and her digestive system works just fine. Oh and just because she ate a banana before she had most other vegetables doesn't mean I'll never be able to get her to eat other vegetables. She still eats plain oatmeal. Pretty sure she doesn't care about sweetness. The girl just wants to eat. Puh-lease.

The Dumas Family said...

That made me laugh so hard - thank you for that. I miss you and your spunk! Give Noah a squeeze from us. Love you!

The Neilson Family said...

Oh Laura this is too funny and true. Sorry if I have been the one who has given unwanted advice. I think I have had some of the same. Oh one would be, "you don't swaddle her anymore"?? How can I if she kicks herself out of the blanket. Do I really want her to suffocate?? I have a long list. But I will spare you them. Love ya! xoxo

CoLiE-O said...

how funny! i am barely in my 2 nd trimester and i've already heard a lot of those!! thanks for sharing. this should be fun...