Parenting is like the Jen versus Angelina debate: everyone has an opinion. From getting a baby to sleep through the night to selecting childcare, I have received unsolicited advice on most every aspect of raising my two young children — and not just from my family members. Oh no. I have had a coffee shop barista lecture me on the “only proper way” to potty-train my daughter (she was ten months old at the time) and a hair salon assistant condemn my childcare choices (I guess she didn’t really want a tip). While some opinions have been helpful, the following pieces of advice have been eye roll-worthy.
1. “You can’t get pregnant if you’re breastfeeding.”
My second child proves that wrong.
2. “Put rice cereal in your baby’s bottle to help him sleep through the night.”
Uh, thanks, but my two-month-old is going to hold off on the solid food for now.
3. “Having a second baby is easy.”
If by “easy,” you mean “exhausting and chaotic,” then I agree!
4. “Don’t ever let your child watch TV.”
Actually, the Wild Kratts make totally acceptable babysitters for my three-year-old while I’m going to the bathroom or throwing laundry in the washing machine. Even if they do turn into an animated crocodile from time to time.
5. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
This oft-repeated advice may work for some moms, but I am not blessed with the talent to fall asleep on command – so the very moment I would finally fall asleep, the baby would wake up. Better to use that precious free time to get important things done, such as catching up on the latest celebrity gossip.
6. “Don’t pick up the baby when he cries because it will spoil him.”
Heaven forbid my child is spoiled with love and reassurance!
7. “Daycare? I would never leave my child there.”
Yes, it’s such a terrible place that I have to drag my toddler, kicking and screaming, from her art and music classes there every day.
8. “I let my babies sleep on their stomachs and they turned out just fine.”
This opinion, along with how “inconvenient” car seats are and how they smoked throughout their pregnancies, are usually dispensed my moms and grandmothers who raised kids in the ‘70s (or before) – and have little regard for the latest medical findings and recommendations. I find it’s best to just smile and nod when my mom makes such remarks.
9. “Breastfeeding will make your son a Mama’s Boy.”
In that case, EVERYONE STOP BREASTFEEDING OR ELSE YOUR SONS WILL LOVE YOU! A LOT!
10. “My kids were potty-trained by the time they were [INSERT RIDICULOUSLY YOUNG AGE HERE]! All we had to do was [INSERT APPROACH HERE].”
This is usually mentioned while glancing at my almost three-year-old daughter still in diapers. Well, good for you! We, however, are choosing not to worry about it too much yet – and are confident she will not be wearing diapers by the time she heads off to college. We hope.