I know you mean well, I really do.
But please, FOR THE LOVE, stop with the unsolicited parenting advice.
We all have different ways of parenting, and there’s not one way to do any of it. Choosing the way you raise your kids is deeply personal, and although “it takes a village”, respect is an important part of supporting moms and dads on their journey.
As a rule of thumb, advice is not needed unless it’s asked for, and here’s why:
We have already overthought everything there is to overthink and we are damn tired.
Types of advice to avoid:
The indirect advice: This is when someone doesn’t give you advice directly, but instead says, “Ohhh you should tell your mommy to cover your toesies so you don’t get a cold”, or “say ‘mommy I need a bigger coat'”. PLEASE, please, don’t ever do that again. This probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you at all, and I’m sure you aren’t trying to be insulting, BUT to a Mom who is hanging on by a thread it feels like a major diss. I guarantee that Mama is trying to do her very best, and she’s already being hard on herself, so please don’t add to it.
The “it was very easy for me” advice: This usually comes from someone who has babysat for you. It’s the “I just did 1+2+3 and they went to bed for me no problem” or “I just put the peas on his plate and he ate them like a champ!” or “She tried to give me attitude and I just said “NO” and she stopped right away!” I know this is well intentioned and you’re excited to share the “magic ingredient” you’ve discovered, but let me tell you the real magic ingredient: you aren’t the mom. Crap like that works for you because you aren’t the one who is there every day, all day. Honestly any “easy” fix is kind of insulting because it suggests we’ve never tried that – and trust me, 98% of the time WE HAVE.
Discipline advice: Nope. Just nope. If we want help with that, we will ask.
Compare your kid to ours: KIDS ARE NOT THE SAME. The comparison game happens a lot to me with my strong willed firecracker. I often hear “you just need to draw the line and leave the store if that happens and she won’t do that anymore” or “you should stop giving them everything they want.” Listen I have walked out of more stores than I can count, and the reason she’s tantruming is BECAUSE I told her no. There is no magic set of techniques that *waaalaaaa* get rid of obnoxious behavior in every kid, it takes a lot more patience and persistance with some kids.
Types of advice to give:
The kind that’s asked for.
I know it’s hard (especially if you love us), but please try…for us.
We need support so badly during this time of raising littles. We are constantly doubting ourselves, and wondering if we are doing enough. The best thing you can do for us is to be encouraging, and present, and bite your tongue when you want to quickly “fix it”. Motherhood has made us raw and vulnerable, and things you might think are “no big deal” to say, actually make us feel pretty crappy.
The thing is, if you can hold off on advice that isn’t asked for, you may very well become a safe place for us, and it’s possible that when we do need ideas…
We will ask you.