By: Revanche

One more for the Annals of Unsolicited Advice

July 27, 2015

What is it with people who feel like their sole purpose is to educate on the Right Way to Mother?  Not Parent, because I notice these folks don’t ever lecture PiC on parenting, just Mothering. I’ve asked him, he’s puzzled that this keeps happening.

Some people think that because I’m a first time mom, everything I do or worry about is because I’m a first time mom and scoff at my decisions as that of a rank amateur. My life experience, my values, and my ability to evaluate a situation and make a decision were evidently all switched off once a child passed through the birth canal. Nope, it’s all new-mom nerves now! I’m a trembling, jello-jiggly wreck of an excuse for an adult now. Be forewarned!

Other people think that just because they now have experience with their first child, everything that happened to them is absolutely canon and will happen to me.

The latest round was a first time father who thinks, nay, insists! that we must get our wee Bean into a daycare or professional care as soon as possible because, as he puts it, the “separation anxiety will only get worse”. He lectured me soundly on how he’s speaking from experience, and that what he hears from me about finding a suitable carer, it’s “already a problem” because “no one is good enough.”

Mind, he didn’t bother to listen to what constitutes a suitable care provider. He just assumed that because this is our first go-round, we’re incapable – or rather, I’m incapable – of allowing an experienced person take care of our progeny.  It’s clearly because I’m a first time mom that I object to bad judgment and blatant negligence or unreliable people. If I had another, I wouldn’t be so foolish as to insist on someone who can care for LB safely and reliably.

Be proud of me for not rolling my eyes so hard they could have doubled for gyroscopes.

Instead of nodding and smiling, which might have shut him up but I doubt it, I mildly noted that I don’t, in fact, have issues with relying on people to help with LB. I could see that he was ratherput out by my inability to just take his well meaning but totally unwelcome and misplaced advice.

Certainly people and children have separation anxiety but I’ll not be railroaded into believing that we’re fated to endure weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth if I don’t give LB the boot now.

LB gets on well with new people, with or without me and PiC in the immediate vicinity. We make it a point to take hir and Seamus out to meet people so that ze can enjoy new faces and new voices. Ze loves the sound of new languages and enjoys a good “flying LB” no matter who administers it.

Sure, we’ll get some things wrong. But you know what? Every parent does. This is the first time we’re raising this child, and we’re doing our best for our child. People who think that we (I) don’t know what we’re doing because this is our first time at this rodeo can get stuffed.

As any parent worth their salt will tell you: every child is different. You learn more techniques that might work with each new one but that doesn’t mean you’ve unlocked the secrets to all children, forever.

If any parent shares their stories with me, I’m happy to hear them. I’m happy to extract useful techniques from those stories. Moralizing at me and outright telling me that my knowledge, skills, and life experience are worthless next to your one experience with your own child and family, though, that just gets my goat. It reminds me of that uncle who spent half my grandmother’s funeral lecturing me on the importance of getting into a good college. I was 24, graduated already, and had been supporting my family for oh, 5 -7 years by then. We don’t speak anymore.

Seems to me that people are all eager to proclaim their right to their own values, morals, or beliefs but completely fail to recognize that they ought to then respect the rights of others to think for themselves.

Though, if people quit annoying me, whatever would I write about?  😉

:: Surely, I’m not the only one blitzed with unsolicited fodder, am I?

:: EDIT: I should note, in both instances, the well-meaning father and the uncle, I wasn’t asking for help or advice or even talking about the subject they brought up. They cornered me, said hello, and then started lecturing. In the parenting case, he basically told me that I was doing it wrong (though he didn’t know how I was doing it) and that his way is the only way. That’s the thing that puts my back up.

When I post here, I welcome your thoughts and comments whether it be advice or something else!

17 Responses to “One more for the Annals of Unsolicited Advice”

  1. Cassie says:

    If the experiences I’ve watched my friends undergo has been any indication, I’d almost say that receiving unsolicited (and often incorrect) advice is pretty much a rite of passage for a new mother. Heck, even for established mothers several times over. You’re definitely not the only one going through this. Sometimes people are just trying to be helpful, but other times it seems like they’re trying to validate their parenting decisions by getting another person’s buy in. I’m not even a parent and I’m annoyed watching it.
    Cassie recently posted…Building A Cohesive Wardrobe – Defining My StyleMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      What a darn shame! And I think you’re right about those who think only imitation is validation and that’s why they push their decisions on others. SMH.

  2. OFG says:

    I’m happy to say I rarely receive unsolicited advice, but I do often ask for advice from moms whose children are close in age to my own or a few years older. Beyond that I find that people forget what really happened. I already feel this way about my almost four year old. People ask me if he is similar to #2 and I honestly can’t remember all the details, so I figure a parent whose children are much older probably remembers even less. My mother-in-law used to tell me she rocked her kids to sleep and never let them cry. That it would be just awful to do that. My first cried even when rocked so clearly her advice to rock him sweetly to sleep would never work for us. Our nightly shut down process took a minimum of 45 minutes until we let him fuss for a few minutes without us. It used to irritate me, but with number two I’ve realized some people just want to relate and come off as though they are giving advice rather than just sharing their stories. Not saying that’s what happened here, just saying I seem to encounter that a lot.
    OFG recently posted…Pampers Premium Care ReviewMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      That’s lovely! I absolutely ask people whose kids are close to ours in age for their experiences for comparison and new ideas.
      It’s very possible you’re right about the relating sounding like advising, I’m just not sure where the need to tell me that my way (whatever it is) is wrong comes from.

  3. Linda says:

    This type of behavior appears to be very common, even for those of us who don’t have kids. I get unsolicited “advice” all the time about how/what I should be eating, dressing, caring for my dog, exercising, and caring for myself. Is it because I’m a woman? Do people think all women need “advice” on how to run their lives?
    Linda recently posted…Money talk: loans to family and friendsMy Profile

  4. Everyone thinks they’re an expert. You’re just the latest target for their “wisdom” and “expertise”. I’m sure it’ll abate once someone else in your social circle has a kid.
    Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents recently posted…Can Supporting Your Aging Parents Bankrupt You?My Profile

  5. middle class says:

    I’m sure I was bombarded with new mom advice but I really can’t remember. I may even give unsolicited advice to new moms. I apologize in advance for being annoying! In general unsolicited advice hasn’t bothered me with the exception of lectures about my choice of college major. Looking back though I can see that while some people were just know-it-alls, some were trying to be helpful.
    middle class recently posted…HTSMC: Letters to Blue Cross (and other insurance companies)My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Hah you weren’t annoying to me! And it’s fine if you’re offering it in the context of a conversation about the kids, or here. I don’t find that weird and annoying. I do find it weird when people go out of their way to corner me, as happened here, to lecture me.

  6. My (ironic) advice to new parents is always that they’ll get a lot of advice and most of it contradictory, so parents should do what seems right to them. Then I cite some of the literature about how kids are resilient and there are a million ways to raise a child and have it turn out just fine.

    Sooo much advice out there, and so much of it makes it sound like if you don’t follow it you will destroy your child.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…August Mortgage Update: On feeling comfortable about spending more than we earnMy Profile

  7. SP says:

    I really don’t GET those people who feel so comfortable and confident in pushing their OPINIONS on others. It is a way of thinking that just perplexes me – then annoys me!

    I think it would be the worst for raising a kid, because clearly you are already putting a lot of thought into your choices. To have someone on the outside come along and opine on your choices sounds terrible.
    SP recently posted…Summer Money UpdateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I honestly don’t either. It makes me wonder if they’re just talking to hear themselves talk. And if so, why don’t they hear the awful things they’re saying when it’s the judgy, uninformed opinion? *harumph*

  8. gaaaaahhhhhh!!! Don’t worry…EVERYBODY knows how to raise your kid better than you do!

    Argha. I still remember the time my idiot step-mother, who I swear measured her IQ in the negative numbers, remarked that our kidlet was “overstimulated.”

    The incompetent pediatrician who insisted that Sudafed was not wiring the poor little babe into a screaming screeching nonstop frenzy — AFTER I found out in PDR that Sudafed was exactly the problem and realized it was also keeping me awake all night and all day — and handed us another bagful of free samples. Ohhhboy.

    It gets even better as the kid gets older: consider the third-grade teacher who informed us that our child — who was in the “advanced” reading group — probably had a learning disability. We ended up having to schlep him to a child psychiatrist to extinguish that one!

    It may take a village, but it would be nice of some of the villagers would keep their yaps shut when they have no clue what they’re talking about. 😉
    Funny about Money recently posted…Time Suck ControlMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      How refreshing! I’ll have to remember that the next time I don’t know what to do with LB: ask literally anyone and they’ll all have an opinion 🙂

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