Running from the Law: One Year and Beyond - Dealing with Unsolicited Advice

Thursday, May 29, 2014

One Year and Beyond - Dealing with Unsolicited Advice

Hello mamas!  Today is part 4 of our "One Year and Beyond" toddler blogging series.  If you've missed the previous posts on Tantrums, Weaning and Mommy Guilt, make sure to check them out.    This series has been so much fun to be a part of and such a great way to meet some new mamas and get some great advice on some really interesting topics.  I hope you'll check out some of the other mama co-hosts listed below and consider linking up with us for any of the topics.  We'd love to hear your experience with these issues and how you are handing the toddler years.  

Our topic today is how to loving handle unsolicited parental comments/advice from others.  Oy.  This is a tough one.  And I thought I was at a loss for what to say last week.  
Maybe I've been lucky (or maybe I'm just completely oblivious to it), but I haven't really been on the receiving end of too much nasty unsoliticed parenting advice from family, friends or strangers.  The majority of the advice I've received was given to me when I was pregnant with Mac and I felt like everyone I saw had the need to weigh in and "school me" on topics like the need for blackout curtains in the nursery or being "Babywise" (neither of which I did, by the way).  I did feel like sometimes other mamas were trying to push their agendas on me, but soon realized that this was only because they felt strongly about the issue, which was important to them.  Now I wonder if I'm the same with with some of the ideas I feel strongly about (Baby Led Weaning, for example) and hope that I'm not pushy with my unsolicited advice on that subject to others.

For the most part, I think unsolicited advice comes from a good place.  Other parents are just trying to relate and help you solve your "problem."  Moms are fixers...that's their job, to fix things and help.  So, when other moms give you advice, they feel like they're helping you fix the problem and they usually mean well.  Most of the time I feel like other moms are ok with receiving this type of advice (occassionally) and generally take it well.  Usually a quick "thank you" or "that's a great suggestion" will be an acceptable way to handle the comments and make the commenter happy and feel like they helped.  Of course, you're not under any obligation to implement the advice and are free to completely disregard it with wild abandon.  That's the beauty of it all.
I like to think I'm one of those moms that welcomes advice from others.  Being a blogger, I sometimes put our "issues" out there for the world to comment on and I encourage others to give advice and feedback.  I am by no means an expert at this whole mommy gig and always feel like I have a lot to learn from others.  I'm a big believer of the philosophy that "there's more than one way to parent," and I don't feel like the way I've chosen to do things is the only way.  I do things based on my experience, research, upbringing and ideals.  I know my kid better than anyone else in the world (along with his dad and nanny) and I make decisions that I believe are best for him and our family.  I know that every kid is different and what works for one won't necessarily work for another, but I do like hearing how other moms "mother" and getting multiple perspectives.  I love this little mommy community here and I encourage other moms to share their stories and advice in the hopes that it might help out.

On the other hand, I also realize that there is a lot of unsolicited advice being given out to moms that is not necessarily coming from a good/well meaning place.  I'm talking about the commentary on the way that you're raising your kids that criticizes and doesn't provide any helpful guidance.  You know what I mean...the lady in Target that makes a comment about how much sugar your toddler eats based on the contents of your cart; the grandparent that tells you your child wouldn't throw tantrums if you didn't work so much; the child-less friend makes a condescending remark about your child not talking much and proceeds to tell you that her niece could recite the alphabet at 18 months; the playgroup mom that insists that rice cereal in your baby's bottle will fix all your baby's sleep issues and fatten that baby up.
In this situation, I know it's best to be "nice" and not be a jerk right back, but I also wonder whether it's ever appropriate to make a snarky comeback or tell the commenter to mind her own damn business?   I've seen some awesome responses to these types of comments on blogs, but of course would never have the guts to say any of them.  However, if you're looking for a good one, here are a couple of my favorites:
  • “They’re not my kids.”
  • “My child has multiple personality disorder. We’re actually on our way to the therapist right now.”
  • “Thank you for telling me that! Absolutely groundbreaking! I’m totally gonna blog about you. Mind if I take your photo?” 
  • “He hasn’t eaten in days.” 
  • “We’re weaning her off cigarettes. Its been a rough week.” 
  • “Can I have your phone number and email address? I wanna be sure to have that handy next time something like this comes up. Thanks!” 
  • “No hablo engles.”
People are going to give their opinions, whether you want them to or not.  I think that's just the nature of things and it's impossible to ward off all unsolicited advice.   How you choose to handle it, however, is your completely your choice.  I'd love to hear how you deal with unsolicited parental advice when you receive it.  Are you sweet and say thank you?  Do you have pre-planned snarky comebacks that you'd love to use?  

Please check out the other co-host mamas advice and link-up with us below with your experience.  

From Here to EternityWords About Waverly
my delicious adventure Photobucket
My Delicious Adventure                  The Life Of Faith
Running From The LawThe Olive Tree

May 8:          Taming the temper tantrums
May 15:        Weaning from breastfeeding or from formula to cow’s milk 
May 22:        Dealing with "Mommy Guilt"
May 29:        When people share their opinions and how to lovingly handle it
June 5:         Traveling with your toddler
June 12:       How to get your toddler to eat their veggies…or their food at all
June 19:       How to make time to blog in the busyness of motherhood
June 26:       Bedtime battles (nap or bedtime)

Have you been on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice?
Is it usually from family/friends or complete strangers?
What's the worst comment you've received?
How do you handle it?


  1. haha I could never do the snarky return, but also I think most of my advice has been from a good place...people just want to help. And, we loved baby led weaning!

  2. I am just like you and want to tell everyone I know about Baby Led Weaning! Sometimes I think I come on a little too strong! And I'm also shocked at how many people recommend Baby Wise! It's terrible & babies have had failure to thrive when their parents followed the concepts. Lucky for me, I rarely receive unwanted advice since I'm pretty strong & confident in my own decisions!

  3. Yes yes yes! I agree with everything you said. I, too, believe that my husband and I know what's best for our son. I do appreciate constructive, positive, helpful feedback and advice though. I am definitely open to hearing it and then if I feel that it would help, I will try it. I asked for lots of advice when Mason was first born because I felt like I didn't know anything! And I definitely took most of the advice. I just met him, how could I know what he needed? But then mommy intuition kicked in and I knew my decisions were the right ones. I have had some unsolicited, negative, rude and insulting comments though (from a family member believe it or not) that really hurt my feelings. I explained my thoughts and said it hurt my feelings and no apology. That's when it's gone too far. What's the saying, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all? Some people need a reminder!

  4. Love your advice & perspective on this!!! :)