Assvice. [ass-vahys] Noun. An opinion, recommendation, or comment offered as a guide to what should be done about a situation or problem. Differs from advice in that it's unwelcome, unsolicited, and just plain sucks.
Every parent has had to deal with assvice. It sometimes comes in the form of drive-by parenting (you know, those little shitbombs dropped on you by a total stranger, like "Isn't he so cold without his socks?" or "Maybe she's crying because she's not getting enough to eat. Have you tried putting rice cereal in her bottle?"), but often comes from friends and family. Oh, they mean well ... or so they say.
"Just wait until they're (toddlers/teenagers/whatever) ..." "Don't forget to sleep when the baby sleeps!" "THIS TOO SHALL PASS." I've heard some of the more common(ly useless) pieces of motherhood advice, but the worst thing any stranger ever said about my parenting? It was so obnoxious I can still remember it word for word:
I question how much she really loves and nurtures her children. Why did she choose to have another, and heaven forbid she does it again.
That little gem was a comment in response to my desperate musings about how to improve my second son's no-sleeping situation. As I considered the possibility of letting him cry it out, I heard everything from "CIO is NOT the answer, because this isn’t about you. You chose to have this baby, and I’m sorry you’re so tired, but he comes first," to "CIO is PROVEN to give your child ADHD, a lower IQ, and poor motor development." Ah, good times.
Aside from being told I'm a horrible selfish mom, my absolute least favorite piece of assvice is that old standby, "Treasure every moment, because it goes so fast!" This article explains perfectly why it's so annoying to be told you should be savoring every second of parenthood, and it's my personal long-term goal to never, ever say anything that to another mother.
The runner-up in terms of sheer irritation are the "Just you wait" comments. Oh, you mean no matter what challenge I'm facing right now, it's destined to get a thousand times worse? HOW HELPFUL.
I asked some friends on Twitter to share their most obnoxious parenting assvice encounters, and judging from the responses, almost everyone has at least one crappy story to share:
My family suggested I put my 18-month-old on Ritalin. — Ginger
Someone demanded to know why I would bother to have a child if I was just going to return to work and "let someone else raise her." — Meredith
Someone said formula would "fix" my baby's reflux, so I was selfish to continue breastfeeding her (at 3 weeks old). — Diane
I was told that my gross motor skill delayed child wasn't walking because we were bringing everything to her. — Madge
Don't ever pick her up when she cries, it will totally spoil her. At the time she was less than a week old. W.T.F. — Katherine
I had someone tell my infant that "Mommy doesn't care that you are hungry right now because mommy wants to eat her own food." — Jen
My MIL told me breastfeeding was disgusting and I shouldn't do it. — Amy
When my boys were under 2, a lady asked me about their age gap, shook her head, and said, "Bet you didn't know how fertile you'd be after the first!" — Liza
I was told to bottle feed my second baby because of how tired I looked when my first was little. — Elaine
My boss asked me why I bothered to go to college if I was just going to be a SAHM. — O
From an alcoholic, drug addicted uncle while I was pregnant: "You should have a drink each day. Good for you AND baby!" — Anna
I am still told regularly that I should hit my children to keep them in line/teach them respect/show who's boss. — Dawn
"Don't worry about keeping the house clean, just spend time with the children." Look! It's bad advice AND an insult. — Rachael
I was told I should quit breastfeeding because I need to have a life. Also, when I told a woman that I just had a boy (not a girl), she said, "Oh good, that's better." — Sarah
Someone once told me that our decision to have just one was "the worst thing we could ever do" to our son. — Jennie
I'm a reproductive toxicologist, and had a colleague (!!!) tell me I was poisoning my fetus by drinking diet coke. Which is absurd. — Susie
I was pregnant and I'd skipped lunch, so I bought an egg sandwich at 2 p.m. Co-worker said, "You know eating for two is a myth, right?" — Shawna
We have one child, and the assvice was to have a second child in case the first one dies. Yes, someone actually said that to me! — Nate
A lady on the street told other people about me, "I'd never wear a baby in a sling like that. It'll probably kill him." Err, thanks? — B
I was told that my "toe walking" child had everything from Aspergers to cerebral palsy. Sorry folks just tight hamstrings ... — Kathleen
Someone said my 6-month-old was spoiled b/c I picked her up when she cried. Then someone else said, "She's not spoiled! She's in daycare!" — Angie
I was told, "As soon as you adopt, you'll get pregnant because that ALWAYS happens." (It didn't.) — Sarah
I suppose some people really do have good intentions when they offer advice, but their delivery leaves a lot to be desired. And, of course, some people are just assholes.
What was your worst experience with parenting assvice/commentary?
Image via Flickr/selago