Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide to (Unwanted) Advice

Recently I was out with my children and a lady said to me "Ahhh how old is you son?" "Two" I replied". Silence followed by "Oh two? He's rather small for his age isn't he?". Mmmm OK stranger lady thanks for your input. Followed by visiting my Nan just two hours later who exclaimed "Oh he's a big lad Emma". So either in the space of two hours my son had grown courtesy of whatever E numbers are in fruit shoots or? People just LOVE giving their two pennies worth when it comes to offering advice or opinions about other people's kids.

It starts off when you become pregnant and all of a sudden people you barely know give you a variety of little tit bits to "help" stop morning sickness. Ranging from ginger nuts to the gem of "count yourself lucky I was puking 15 hours a day solidly for 8 months". Which is pretty much the last thing you want to hear as you are wiping sick from your mouth and ramming another arrowroot biscuit (as recommended by your local shop keeper you never spoke to before) down your gob.

It continues when it comes to what your babies should wear (DO NOT get me started on the 'mitten' debate I have had with several older relatives). And is still ploughing on with offerings on when your child should be sleeping through the night to how many colours your toddler should know (my son at two says every colour is green. This is evidently a crime).

This boy believes all three of these Smarties are green. Call the Police!

Advice is great. When you ask for it. I am the first one to admit I am pretty crap. And if I have a problem I will have no issue in turning to someone I love like my Mum, or trust like a good friend or admire, like a lady at my work who used to be a health visitor. People I don't want to turn to include strangers in soft play, shop assistants in H&M or random smuggos who want to make themselves feel validated by offering advice that is not requested. Nor is helpful.

Apologies if I sound a total ungrateful cow bag but the world is full of enough sources to fill us with self doubt. From social media to images of celebrities rocking a baby like a brand new handbag. With our hormones raging (can I still use this excuse two years on from last giving birth? F*ck it! I am), what we don't want is any more 'advice' to make us doubt ourselves. To undermine what we have been taught at a baby class, or read in a recommended self help book or worst what our gut instinct tells us about our child.

Advice should only be given with love and good intent. It should be useful and it should not be a game of one upmanship with a "my kids cleverer than your kid" or a "I had it worst than you". Unfortunately? You cannot stop the barrage of advice that is going to be thrown your way when you become a parent. It seems to go along with the territory and is as integral to raising a child as never sleeping properly again (COUNT YOURSELF LUCKY I HAVEN'T SLEEP FOR FOUR YEARS! Joke).

PUT A COAT ON HER! SHE WILL FREEZE TO DEATH!* *she won't.

So here is my advice. Much like Robert De Niro in Meet the Fockers have an 'inner circle'. A group of friends, colleagues or family who you look up to. Who have raised their kids with kindness, love and grace. Who can admit their downfalls and have no problems with listening to your moans. And the rest of the people? F*ck 'em. Listen to their advice with a lovely big smile on your face, mentally pairing socks from your sock drawer in your head or considering the plot of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Say "Thank you random stranger for informing me that my child really should be wearing a coat". Then walk away and ignore them. Nobs.

26 comments:

  1. I'm just desperate to learn about the mitten debate....sorry! Great post,as always :-)

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  2. I get the 'he's a big lad' all the time and potty training is the big one at the moment!!!! xx

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    1. Oh yeah potty training is ALWAYS a bone of contention! x

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  3. Ahh I have many times told people where to go when they have offered me unwanted advice....lol
    Great post!

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    1. Ha! I need to tell them to get lost! x

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  4. The unwanted 'advice' drives me mad, especially when it comes to Archie's Autism. Comments such as 'he'll eat when he's hungry' or 'you just need to socialise him more' make me want to socialise them right in the face!! Ahem you get my point... ;)

    Gym Bunny Mummy | Bloglovin’ | Facebook

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    1. Ha ha ha! Socialise them right in the face has made me giggle! x

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  5. Another reason not to go shopping with kids right? Ugh. Whenever I've had a newborn and it's dared to cry in public and I get 'Ooh someone's hungry!' I want to scream. 'No of course he isn't. If he was hungry I wouldn't be standing here talking to you, I'd be erm feeding my baby?! Why do people care so much? That's what I want to know. Great post Em x

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    1. Yeah why do people care so much? It's so weird!! Nosy sods x

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  6. Boo is small for her age, tiny for her age, tall for her age etc I wonder if Boo has magical powers and appears differently to each person? I get so annoyed with unwanted advice (I suffered with HG and no I really don't think a ginger biscuit is going to help how about you have a ginger biscuit - shoved up your nose!) Awesome post... I love the don't beat yourself up guides, always good for a chuckle!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them! I ate about six packs of ginger nuts a day. Sigh. Never flipping worked x

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  7. Haha, super duper post...but have you considered putting a coat on that child and giving them a sandwich? They look hungry and cold....only joking.

    Only the other day a lovely old lady said my son was hungry who was crying. I replied, of course not, he just doesn't like the car. Little bugger, he was actually hungry and stopped crying on a feed. My own child in pulling one over on me. FFS, what is the world coming too. The blinking old dear was right, 1 in a million chance of that for all the unwarranted advice I get.

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    1. Curse her for knowing!!! That's a rare thing mind! x

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  8. Just love it. You make me laugh every time. It always wound me up when people were saying how great their baby was and they were sleeping through the night from 4 weeks right after I'd only just been saying how difficult Grace could be and that at nearly 1 years old, she still wasn't sleeping through the night. I felt like screaming, "thanks for rubbing it in!" x x

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    1. Oh god my boy is a nightmare and he is TWO!!! What's wrong with people? x

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  9. I hate unsolicited advice, why do people think you want it. It's bad enough that you're winging it and doing your best!! The other day I got a phone call from a company when my little boy was having a tantrum. The woman on the other end said "I think your baby is hungry" my reply was "no he's not, he wants daddy's ipad and I won't let him have it" p **s off who asked you also sprung to mind!! Xx

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    1. Oh my god I would have smashed the phone down SO HARD! x

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  10. LOVE this. The size thing made me laugh as I get the same with H all the time. To some he's a midget, to others a giant. Fab series lovely and fab post xx

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  11. Laughing my head off and lots of nodding !! So true! Someone recently asked if my kid had speech problems because at 2 she was playing "babies" and making baby noises??? "Erm no she speaks wonderfully thank you but she's role playing" goodness me..and don't get me started on "ADVICE" I have been offered recently that has made me chew for weeks haha xx

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    1. Chew for weeks? What a fab expression!!! x

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  12. Fab post. I would advise all mums to ignore the advice of strangers and people they hardly know, but I won't give any more advice than that in case it isn't required! ;)

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  13. Brilliant. I was once asked by another Mum why my baby was crying. I told her he was tired. She then proceeded to tell me that he was in fact jealous of her son because he had a dummy! And if I had a pound for "That baby has no socks on his feet" said in a shocked and disdainful tone! The only way my baby will keep socks on is with duct tape and I can just imagine the 'advice' I would get about that!

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  14. I have many times told people where to go when they have offered me unwanted advice....lol
    Great post!

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