New mothers get used to complete strangers stopping them in the street or supermarket to tell them how adorable their new tiny bundle of joy just so happens to be. Mothers will also get used to some of the sympathy looks and words of encouragement they will receive when they have a tired or cranky baby. I always appreciated hearing, “I know it is tough, but it doesn’t last long!” from a passing by mother when my child was having a full-blown “feed me this very instance or I will burst your eardrums” meltdown. I also always appreciated the nice gentleman or lady that would hold the door open for me when I was holding my baby, a nappy bag, and pushing an overly full trolley.
With that being said, there are also the comments, looks, and nice suggestions that I could live without. Whether individuals are well-meaning or just downright rude, unsolicited advice on my parenting techniques are almost always unwelcome. There are some times that it is best to keep your mouth when dealing with a mother and her children.
Here are some of the worst unsolicited pieces of advice I have received:
“You shouldn’t let your baby cry like that. It can lead to long term emotional distress.”
Really? You think? Do you see that I have an arm full of groceries, bags, and a small child who is wanting to be fed? Do you really think that I would be allowing my child to excessively cry if I had any other choice? This advice is never wanted. No mother wants their child to cry; sometimes there is just no way around it.
“Your baby must not be eating enough.”
My children are all petite and hearing from complete strangers who have no idea how much, when, or how I am feeding my child telling me that my baby is not eating enough makes my blood start to boil. Mothers do not starve their children. Keep your unwanted comments to yourself in the feeding department. Babies come in all shapes and sizes and it usually comes down to genetics, not feeding habits.
Did you put sunscreen on your baby? It is hot you know?
Really? It is hot? I didn’t notice and I wasn’t aware they made products to protect baby’s skin. Thank you so much for letting me know about this new development in baby care products. First, sunscreen is typically applied BEFORE entering the sun and it has the magic property of becoming transparent upon application. Therefore, if it is hot and sunny, my child most likely already has sunscreen on their skin, not that it is your business in the first place.
Her nails are getting long. You should clip those before she scratches herself.
I see my child every single day. I know what is best for her. Maybe I have a weekly schedule of nail clipping and nail clipping was to take place tonight? Maybe I lost my clippers and was on my way to purchase some new ones? Unless my daughter looks like Edward Scissorhands, keep this comment to yourself.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on comments I have heard from complete strangers. So far, I’ve managed a weak smile and just moved away, next time however, I may just reply with a run down on how I think they are coping with their day / children / job / diet / general appearance etc. That aught to even the playing surface somewhat.