Whether you're pregnant or parenting a newborn, you're undoubtedly familiar with the unsolicited advice-giver. They mean well, but when they come at you in droves, it's hard to keep smiling and nodding, right?
It might help to know the type, and have a handy response ready for each. In my limited experience as a mom, I've learned to recognize the following:
1. The Social Stranger. Typically found at the bank, the drug store, the supermarket, etc., this species can't help but ooh and ahh at your little bundle, then say whatever inane thing comes into their head. "Watch out for the baby!" they cry as a hand truck comes barreling out of a nearby UPS truck. Or, your baby's crying and they offer in a slightly scolding tone, "Your baby's hungry."
Your response? A simple thank-you will do. I personally like "Thank you for your advice!" because it's subtle. Seriously, what advice has this random really imparted?
2. The Well-Read Non-Parent. Coworker or cousin, these well-intentioned pals may have cute nieces and nephews they see once in a blue moon, but it doesn't mean they know a thing about child rearing. Nevertheless, they feel compelled to click send every time they see a recall, news story, or YouTube video that has to do with parenting.
Your response? Delete and move on. You could e-mail back a quick "Thanks!" but that may only encourage them. If you want to be polite next time you see them in person, you could say, "Hey, thanks for that story on all-terrain beach strollers. I'll check it out once beach weather rolls around."
3. The Avid Breastfeeder. This particular group loves to talk boobies, so if you mention that you're breastfeeding and might be having an issue, they will reach out and then some. Unlike #2, however, these ladies are more likely to send you helpful links.
Your response? Take heed. You don't have to read every single article they send you, but you've chosen to breastfeed and it's not an easy road, so you could use the support. Your friend who hasn't had kids yet may be a good listener, but she hasn't been there.
4. The In-Law. This is where things can get touchy. Tuning out an aunt or a distant cousin is one thing, but the MIL is now the grandmother, too. She's prone to shower baby with gifts and you with not-so-subtle advice. If that crib is recalled, you can bet Nana's going to be on you until it's burning in a bonfire!
Your response? Seeing as she raised the man you love, it's wise to listen to her. But if you're not keen on her latest "suggestion," talk to your hubby to see if you're on the same page. You don't want to gang up on her, but you also don't want to be the quick-to-disagree wife.
Ever gotten into it (or wanted to) with one of the above? Share your gripes!
Image via PetroleumJelliffe/Flickr