Whether you’re a first time parent with absolutely no experience, or you’re a highly experienced mom with a full brood that ranges in ages from teens to infants, you are destined to hear parenting advice from one viewpoint or another as you make your way through motherhood.
It’s not uncommon to hear advice like, “You really should be feeding Johnny this way” or “Your newborn should already be on a routine” with an added – and condescending – “Didn’t you know that sleep schedules need to be implemented the day that they are born?”
Don’t worry; these awkward conversations are common for moms. Having worked alongside childcare professionals for many years, as well as having the best job in the world: mom to two amazing little mini-me’s, I could tell you some stories! I have heard it ALL and much, much more.
You’re Not Alone
You can easily tell that some of the implications from these know-it-all “parenting consultations” imply that you’re messing your children up from the get-go, while other tips are provided on the spur-of-the-moment, with no thoughtfulness put into them. While it’s frustrating to encounter this type of situation, know that you’re not the first parent in this world who has to figure out how to deal with unsolicited parenting advice.
There are very few parents who have not experienced an encounter with a know-it-all parent. If you asked around to your friends, they would probably be able to rattle off a story or two of their own, with emphasis on how they handled the adviser.
You Are the Boss!
You are the expert on your child – even if you constantly second guess yourself – a mother knows best for her child, so it’s important to stick with your instincts. During the course of parenthood, it’s human nature for a parent to doubt themselves. And, let me tell you, you don’t become more certain as a parent as your children grow, either! If you think the newborn stage left you exhausted and absent-minded, and the toddler years frustrated you out of your mind, just wait until they start to constantly question your authority, come home late, talk back, and maintain the common misconception that they are smarter than you!
Congratulations if you have made it this far, as this solidifies that you managed to raise a smart, confident individual who is ready to spread their wings. It was you who mold them into who they are today.
The Best Advice
Not to provide you with any unsolicited advice, but if you’re wondering the best way to handle the attack of the perfect parent, you’re going to want to listen up. The best way to handle these sticky situations is to smile and say thanks, plain and simple. Alternately, you can make a joke and add some humour to the conversation. Any other response from you could add fuel to the fire, which is not smart, no matter how tempting it may be.
Regardless of how absolutely ludicrous a piece of advice might seem to you, I truly do believe that we can all take away something from every bit of advice we receive. You may walk away with a strong sense of knowing that you would NEVER do what the adviser mentioned, or you could also keep the advice in the back of your mind with a, “Hmmm, maybe I will give that a try sometime!” We can all relate as parents at some level.
Think Before You Talk
Remember how it makes you feel when people offer the unsolicited advice to you before you offer your own advice to a friend, a sister, or a nanny. Sometimes, we all need to be reminded to “think before you talk”. If you do offer you opinion on a subject, remember to keep your tone positive and light, and most importantly, remember how it felt when someone gave you too much advice.
Written by Lisa Bruce
Lisa Bruce is a mother first and foremost to her 2 wonderful kids, wife, Placement Manager and owner of the newest Nannies on Call branch in the Okanagan.