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No new parent is free from unsolicited advice but the best way to deal with it is to take the advice with a tub of salt and a great sense of humour.
So David Beckham is facing the wrath of trolls for allowing his baby girl with Victoria Beckham, Harper, to use a dummy (pacifier) even at 4. What’s new in that for a parent, I say. From the moment you turn pregnant you will find “mom experts”, “baby experts” and “parenting experts” crawling out of the woodwork from all corners.
You know what I mean? All the unsolicited parenting advice that is vomited on you once you are a parent, and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first baby or 5th; these people still know more than you. And they expect you to listen.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first baby or 5th; these people still know more than you. And they expect you to listen.
OK! So I have nothing against the well-meaning advice; I am not the sort who will roll eyes at some good motherly tips. But if I just met you on a lift, I don’t need you to tell me what to do and what not to do with my 3-year-old.
I’ve listed some of the common sages (unsolicited of course) all parents must have come across in their parenting days.
Brace yourself, mama! If you have anywhere to hide, better start running now, because when a sentence starts with THAT—you are in a sticky situation. Be prepared to be bombarded with outdated parenting tips from a generation that has never heard of Google.
How to handle?
A polite nod of head, and “Thank You”, because you cannot really argue with an old hump; you just have to grin and bear it.
This always makes me defensive and hurt. My son still uses a milk bottle (did I just hear you shriek?). Yes, he does. He is obsessed with it and we are trying our best to wean him away from it. He uses his milk cup as well but when he is sleepy he prefers a bottle. I’ve faced a lot of wrath and gasp from strangers and relatives but I’ve realized most of the time that they may genuinely wonder if the behaviour that they’re commenting on is age-appropriate.
Swallow the bitter pill. If they are offering advice on what to do than you might learn something. But if they are just boasting about their super-efficiency, put your hands over your ears and start singing “Wheels on the bus go round and round.”
I bet you have chanced upon that “middle-aged Mrs-know-it-all” with kids in college witnessing your child throwing a tantrum, and uttering that golden line.
Excuse me! But I barely remember what I did last week let alone what I did 20 years ago, ma’am. What’s the secret of your super-memory?
Defuse your anger with a pinch of humor. Congratulate her on raising wonderful robots. Ask her if you can call her next time the child throws a fit.
The world is full of critics. There is always going to be information coming from parent, non-parent, and everyone in between. Filter out what advice to listen to and what to blow off. Eventually, a funny thing happens—you become a “baby expert” in the process, and when your best friend has a baby, you will know exactly what to tell her.
Beer-guzzling, prawn-devouring, mother of a #sassafras boy and a fish-wife. Ex-physio,
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