You’ve been there. I KNOW you have. As soon as people find out you’re “expecting company”, you get bombarded with a lot, and I mean a LOT, of unsolicited advice. Not to mention, forecasts of how everything is down hill from here on. Well-intentioned people who suddenly have turned into “Debby Downers”.
“Sleep now! ‘Cause you’ll never sleep again!”
“Go on dates with your husband (partner, whatever…) now! You won’t have time for yourselves later!”
“Your feet are gonna get huge!”
“Wow, look at your nose! You definitely look pregnant!”
“Are you carrying twins in there?! You’re HUGE!”
“Don’t eat (insert food choice here)! You’ll get fat!”
I admit it, whenever one of those well-intentioned people offered their little piece of knowledge, I got annoyed. I remember one time, after spending weeks throwing up everything I ate, my stomach had finally settled and I wanted some chicken from a nearby fast food restaurant. There I was, comfortably sitting at the dining room table at my in-laws, a piece of hot, crispy, chicken in my hand, and as soon as I took that first glorious bite:
“You can’t be eating junk food all the time. That’s not good for the baby”.
Yep, a family member felt it was his duty to hit me with that nugget of information and ruin my happy moment.
After I gave birth, I thought I’d survived that “hit me with your best shot” of advice phase. Turns out, as soon as you’re officially a brand new mom…it gets WORSE.
You have to understand, people are now going to see you as someone who doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. And, yes, sometimes you really don’t (see my first post on Mommy Effect) but, after spending 4 months with my baby, I like to think I know HER, her needs. If she’s hot, if she’s cold, if she’s sleepy, if she’s hungry, those are things you learn to identify. But, to others, specially seasoned parents, you don’t know best. THEY know what’s best.
I’m constantly going through this situation. For example, if my baby’s wearing a short-sleeved onesie in an air conditioned place and she happens to be crying…
“Awww, she’s cold!”, cries the chorus of voices.
Nevermind that my baby is a hot one, she sweats even if she IS in a cool place, and I’m armed with blankets just in case.
When my husband’s the one out with the baby and she starts screaming, it’s even worse for him. Probably because he’s a man, so he obviously doesn’t understand what’s going on. And I don’t mean this in a judgmental, feminist way, but, sadly, in these so called modern times, some folks think like this.
So, momma, it seems you don’t know best. What can you do when people want to tell you how to take care of your little one?
Didn’t work? Breathe again and this time count to ten. *Repeat as necessary*
Once finished, look directly at that “Debby Downer”, smile, and say: “Thank you”. If you want to, politely explain what’s going on.
What? You expected me to say something else? The reality is, those who love you and care about you don’t mean any harm. They just want to help. And as new moms, we could use that help. Listen to their advice, keep in mind what you find useful and forget what you don’t. Don’t let anyone tell you how to raise YOUR kids, but always keep an open mind when someone feels the need to give you advice.
Oh, but if we’re talking about strangers sticking their nose in your business?
(Insert favorite verb here)
You’re on your own. I won’t judge.