With parenting comes many beautiful moments, as well as many struggles. From the moment we get that positive pregnancy test, up until–well, basically forever: we want the very best for our children. With that always comes the unwanted parenting advice.
You know what I mean: suddenly everyone becomes an expert at parenting and children, and suddenly everything we do is wrong (insert eye-roll here). While some advice can be innocent and actually useful, many times this advice can make a new parent feel like they’re failing.
New mothers have enough crazy hormones making us emotional; the last thing we need is the extra burden of feeling like we’re not doing a good job. How do we deal with this unwanted advice, and how do we overcome that feeling of failure?
Parent Shaming–Shame on Them
There are so many things that—in the eyes of others, make us a bad parent. For example, choosing to formula feed our child instead of breastfeeding. I’m sure by now, we all know the importance of breastfeeding a child. However, for some mothers, it’s just not an option. For whatever reason, some mothers just can’t do it. This is, by no means, any reason to make a mother feel like she failed her child. But it doesn’t stop there: co-sleeping, solids before one, diapering, vaccinations (oh yeah, that’s right, they go there) and so much more.
What do we do?
Most of the time, it’s just best to ignore it. Smile and nod–maybe silently wish to yourself that they would step on a Lego, and let it go. More often than not, these advice solicitors mean no harm. They see a new mommy struggling and want to help (even if we didn’t ask for it).
Honestly, sometimes the advice is even helpful or needed. Sometimes you’ll learn a new trick that keeps your baby from screaming for five straight hours. In this case, you may then bow down to said solicitor and praise the heavens. Unfortunately, the advice just isn’t always going to be as nice.
Don’t be that person
Just don’t. We all know how the beginning of motherhood can be. We all know the struggles and the emotions. The best thing you can do is offer support. Give that mama a shoulder to cry on, make her family a meal, offer to help clean. There are so many way of helping a new mommy.
Unsolicited parenting advice is not helping and more times than not, it makes us feel like crap. It’s not easy being parents; in fact, it’s probably one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do. I mean—keeping a child alive? Holy crap, we’re in charge of another human life; even when we don’t have our own lives together! But—we do it, and we rock it.
You’re Doing Great!
New mothers (heck even us veteran mamas) tend to feel like we’re failing. Somehow, someway, we’re messing our kids up. We all have these thoughts and feelings; motherhood is hard!
It’s not always going to be smiles and coos, it’s not always going to be fun. You’re going to mess up, you’re human. You live, you learn, you grow. Don’t be too hard on yourself; you’re doing the best you can, and you’re doing a heck of a good job at it!
Have you ever received unwanted parenting advice? What’s the worst one you’ve gotten? How did you handle it? We want to hear about it in the comments!