As a parent, I get lots of advice. Most of it is good, some of it is annoying, and some is downright strange (seriously this is my favorite as I enjoy a good laugh!).
But in my opinion, the worst kind is thoughtless parenting advice. By this I mean the glib, tip of the tongue responses people tend to spout off for certain circumstances.
It’s not bad advice, but it’s something we moms are already aware of and quite frankly it’s annoying.
Like the time a total stranger sees my cranking baby and says he needs a nap. Well yes, but we also need food. Why else do you think I would even try to grocery shop with a baby?
But the worst by far is one that actually aggravates me ever. single. time. The worst thoughtless parenting advice that I see/hear is frustrating and while I don’t want to step on any toes, I do want to ask the givers of this advice to seriously consider what they are saying.
Thoughtless Parenting Advice Exhibit A
This happened on my Facebook.
I baby-wear and had to lay my tiny little baby down in his bed so I could handle a household task and I remember being shocked at how ANGRILY he responded. I still can hardly believe such a small baby could throw such a temper tantrum.
I shared that incident on Facebook with the thoughts and realization of how quickly my sin nature shows up in my little baby.
How dare I lay my baby down and then be surprised that he was mad! “He’s only little once, you need to hold him as much as you can!”
Apparently my son’s infanthood is so short that I must wear/hold him 100% of the time. Even when I’m opening my 400 degree oven to remove the family’s dinner. Or while I’m moving blistering hot canners full of food for the winter from the stove.
Thoughtless Parenting Advice Exhibit B
This happened with a selfie my friend shared of herself holding her sleeping little girl.
She captioned it something like this: ” I wish there were enough hours in my day to just hold her while she sleeps; but laundry needs done, dishes need washed and dinner prepped”.
Instant “friendly fire”
Dishes can wait.
Who needs laundry?
They are only little once.
That’s what freezer pizzas are for.
Why this thoughtless parenting advice frustrates me
“They’re only little once” just about makes me mad.
As a mom, I KNOW they’re only little once. I’m the one who sees him growing and developing each day. I’m the one who rejoices over his milestones while secretly mourning the tiny baby he once was.
My friend shared her photo because she also realizes it. Why else was she wishing for more hours in her day?
Even worse is all the comments about laundry, dishes, and dinner “waiting”. Yes, it can wait.
But at some point my child will have to go naked if the laundry waits too long. At some point he’s going to be eating off the floor because the dishes are all dirty, and if the dishes are all dirty, chances are the floor is going to be worse.
At some point, these tasks will HAVE to be done.
So here is my advice to you.
I know you mean well, I know you miss how little your babies once were. But please. If you are going to tell a new mom to enjoy them while they are little, please follow up that advice with the offer to clean her house, fix a meal, or do laundry. A Merry-Maids gift card would also work. 😉
And guess what? If you come clean my house, fix my meals, or do my laundry, I will joyfully take your advice and spend every minute you save me playing with my son!
Until then, I’m going to do what I can to involve him in my housework and once he’s asleep I will lay him down so I can work online. Because at the end of the day I want my lights off because I flipped a switch, and not because the power company did it for me. 😛
Older moms, we look up to you, you’ve “been there, done that”, and we value your advice. So please don’t give us thoughtless parenting advice, we just need your real stories and to know you understand (and if you want to offer help, we won’t turn that down either!).