The “best” unsolicited parenting advice

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There’s a saying that goes something like this:

I was the best parent ever…until I had kids!

And, I whole-heartedly agree. But, I think that some people think that once they have kids (or grandkids), they become even better parents!

My first memorable encounter was many years ago with my oldest (now 8). She was at least 6 months old and it was summer. In Atlanta. So, probably in the 80s, at least. I was teaching at the time and had the summer off, so the oldest and I went to have lunch with Mr. Serious. As we exited the building with our baby in tow, a complete stranger walked up to us and reminded us that “you should really have a hat on that baby!”

Um….okay….thanks?

Of course as a first time parent, you start questioning all the decisions you make. But, really, I wanted to tell the lady to shove it!

My most recent, which I’m sure was innocent enough happened just this week, so I updated my Facebook wall with the following:

It’s snowing, so naturally the older woman at the pharmacy told me it was too cold to have a baby out in this weather.

the best unsolicited parenting advice

{Not the same day, but an equally cold day. Yep, she looks miserable!}

Within minutes, I had so many moms wanting to

a) kick some ass

b) slap the lady

c) hear my response (stunned silence) and

d) offer their own stories up.

The best unsolicited pareting advice

And awesome unsolicited advice they’ve received. So, of course, I had to share what they’ve been told by other parents!

“Don’t you know that is bad for them? (referring always to food).” – Annie from MamaDweeb.com

While pregnant; “You shouldn’t work out so much, you’re going to kill that baby!” – momonthemap.com

I had a complete stranger offer me their hat and proceeded to stick it on my son’s head once because she thought it was too cold for him not to have one. – Sabrina

“You know you’re going to spoil that child holding it all.the.time.”

“You let them sleep with you now, they’re never gonna sleep in their own bed”

“By extending breastfeeding for boys causes them to be addicted to boobs!” (This is a favorite…so bottle fed boys as men aren’t addicted to boobs?)

“If you don’t let them cry their lungs won’t grow?” – mommainflipflops.com

“When they do this or that, you need to try (insert annoying advice here)!” – Atlantamilitarymom.com (I think this sums it all up!)

I was JUST told by a coworker (who isn’t a doctor) I will be monitored ‘very closely’ since my first was ‘so big’ to make sure this one isn’t. Because if she is ‘she will come out with a broken collarbone.’ – ourmilkshakes.com

Our Pediatrician was out of town and the Dr we saw in his absence told me that AB&C (identical triplets) should never share bottles or pacifiers, should each have their own baby spoon and plate at meal time, basically should never share anything. Which granted sounds like good advice. However with infant triplets, it was completely crazy sounding at the time. Our Pedi (who is a triplet Dad), laughed out loud at the advice and told us when feeding to get one big bowl and one spoon. Line them up with the hungriest kid in the middle and go back and forth down the line so the hungriest baby gets fed twice on each round. – Amber, triplet mom

My eye Dr. said I didn’t ‘plan out’ having my children very well since my first wasn’t potty trained and I was already expecting #2. – Alison

Bare feet. My child will NOT wear shoes or socks for more than 2 minutes. Often, I get his socks on just to bring him from car to store, then I let him take them off. People actually GRAB HIS FEET and tell me how cold they are. (BTW, if it’s super cold like today, I keep him in footie PJs) AND “Crying releases stress hormones which causes mental damage!” Two nights, under 30 minutes each time, and I caused DAMAGE. – BalancingMama.com

Last week after thanking the grocery delivery person for dropping my things off since we were battling a stomach bug she found the need to remind me that they found a case of measles in Georgia, so I needed to make sure my son was vaccinated. She ended it with “I’m living proof that vaccines don’t cause autism.” At no point did I ever say they did. I said uhh my son is vaccinated, but thanks for the advice. Since I puked less than 2 minutes later, I think it’s safe to say that unsolicited advice makes me sick literally. –mamademics.com

Said in the month of June, to my then 3-month-old daughter “your mommy forgot to put your hat on this morning, didn’t she?”

“Well why don’t you just…” – atlantasfrugalmom.com

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Just in the few minutes it took to get these responses, it was already visible that people would even receive opposing advice. And, that many times (myself included), we felt the need to defend ourselves even when leaving the comments.

If a mom or parent is asking for help or advice, it’s one thing, but otherwise, the unsolicited advice needs to stop. I keep saying it, but we need to build each other up, not tear each other down (cry it out, don’t cry it out, cloth diaper, don’t cloth diaper, breast-feed, formula-feed, cosleep, crib sleep, vaccinate, don’t vaccinate…it goes on!).

This parenting gig is tough, we need all the support we can get! So the best advice? A knowing smile or saying nothing at all.

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Alright, let’s hear yours. Instead of your “favorite” (yes, that’s the sarcastic font) unsolicited parenting advice you’ve received what is something that somebody has done to lift up your parenting? 


THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.

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8 Comments

  1. One of my close friends from graduate school randomly sent me a text message one day telling me what an awesome mom I am. She told me that she could see how hard I’m working to give him the best life possible and she’s proud of me. I totally admire her, so it was a huge confidence boost, plus she has twins so yea if she said I’m doing it right I must be.

    1. That is awesome! This reminds me…I think I know somebody that sent you a message about how awesome you are, too:)

      1. *giggles* Yes I think you do too and coming from a mommy of four that’s definitely an awesome feeling 🙂

  2. lol! Oh im still laughing at some of these.. And shaking my head. Thanks for posting though, I needed a good laugh. 🙂
    As for the good.. Just tonight a mom asked me “how do you just know to do that” when it comes to taking care of my kiddos. 🙂 well, I don’t know just comes with being a mom I guess. When people notice something awesome that’s just in you. Yea, sometimes I’m pretty awesome. Lol!!
    Great post!

    1. Thanks for sharing! And, yeah, that’s pretty awesome!

      I think I’m just figuring out things as I go and trying to not screw up too badly!

  3. mrs. hils says:

    All I can guess is that those folks who mentioned hats in summer must have meant sunhats, right? I never got much unsolicited advice, but my oldest son’s hair stuck up all over the place when he was a baby. Random stranger kept wanting to rub his head! I would just back away slightly when they raised their hand and they usually got that I didn’t want them touching my baby.

  4. Unfortunately unsolicited advice doesn’t ease up when they get older either. I’ve already been told that if we continue to be strict with our two kids that they are going to be wild when they become adults. Interesting thing is the same was said about my brothers and I. We all turned out fine though.

  5. The best parenting advice is a simple text with the link to a website or article when something has become really rough like sleeping or breastfeeding. Then I could look into it on my own and seek the help I thought was best for me and my baby.

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