I have read a couple different blog posts recently about good and bad parenting advice. Coupled with knowing a handful of lovely ladies with newborns or expecting, I decided to share some of the gems I have received over the past couple years. It is hard to call it well-meaning advice when it sounds mean… or just plain stupid.
“You shouldn’t cloth diaper because you’ll never know when the diaper is wet.”
When I asked for an explanation, she said that only disposable diapers have that blue line to let me know when the baby has peed. She insisted I would be harming my child with cloth diapers because of the higher likelihood of diaper rash.
Don’t worry; I hear the argument that just ran through your head. Almost every time I use a disposable diaper that doesn’t have a blue line, I shake my head as I replay her words in my mind.
See, not everything said to a new parent is good or bad or misleading. Sometimes, it is downright ridiculous. This gem is my go-to bit of “advice” when I’m illustrating to other new parents how they’ll be inundated with well-meaning people and ought to come up with a canned response to their so-called wisdom.
“You carry your baby so much that she won’t learn how to walk. She is too big for that baby carrier anyway.”
The baby carrier in question was designed for babies weighing between 8 and 25 pounds, and the baby being discussed weighed about 10 pounds at the time.
I love baby carriers. I have a couple of them. There are different designs for different activities, for all sizes and shapes, and you can easily find support groups or meet-and-swap groups on Facebook.
Also, I love holding my kids. I wish I could always carry them always. I like having them on me, I like hugging them, I like smelling them, I like feeling their weight in my arms, and I wish I could have them with me always. Ok, not always: the Angel recently grasped the concept of “privacy” and now revels in the chance to stand outside the bathroom door while I’m using the toilet and tell her little brother to leave me alone.
Our struggles to conceive, the joy I had about these new lives while they were in my womb, and the drastically different ways my children came into the world are all the more reasons why I want to hold them. After everything, I don’t need someone telling me to put my babies down.
Believe me, they will learn to walk. The Handsome Boy was walking independently and extensively before 10 months, and the Angel took her first steps the day before her first birthday party.
“You should hold your infant over the toilet right after she eats, starting around 6 months. This will potty-train her by 12 months.”
I cannot imagine how on earth a child who cannot walk could be potty-trained that early. Not to mention Science Says the brain and body aren’t wired that early for that sort of knowledge. Suspending an infant over that “swirling vortex of terror” just sounds like a terrible idea.
Kids do as they want, really, when it comes to potty training. My experience says that while you can guide your child, she will figure it out before it actually becomes a priority for her. Then it will be no big deal.
No matter how early or how quickly your tot learns to use the toilet, you’ll still be wiping butts for some time afterwards.
And just because the Angel proudly uses her potty Every Single Time today, including wiping herself and washing her hands, does not mean that tomorrow she won’t leak a bit in her panties or throw a fit when you outrageously demand she wipe herself.
“You should take a switch to her. She’ll mind you then.”
Wow. Seriously? You want me to not just physically reprimand my daughter, not give her a quick spank on her bum, but actually whip her….
I think I’m going to be ill.
Granted, the individual who suggested this was a much older man who had never raised children. Sadly, his generation was whipped (not using a colloquialism here, folks, but was actually whipped with a thin reed of a stick that could leave vicious welts or even split skin). He was just spouting what he knew, from 7 or 8 decades earlier.
People, don’t ever suggest someone lay a hand on their child. If a parent so believes that physical punishment is part of disciplining a child, let’s all hope they keep that to themselves. It has become taboo to discuss spanking. We talk about it behind closed doors with close friends and family. Even then, we know we are subject to criticism no matter which way we say is best or worst.
I am not perfect, I do not always adhere to the guidelines of Positive Discipline, and I have lost my shit a time or two. No matter how you feel about reprimanding, punishing, disciplining, or the like, I think we can all agree that a switch is just out of the question.
“Because he’s so big,” she says while holding my 9-month-sized 4 month old, “you should tell people he’s a developmentally disabled 9 month old instead of an overweight 6 month old.”
You mean to tell me it is better to lie that he is older but behind in cognitive and motor skills development than it is to have a complete stranger possibly judge me for him being fat?
Challenged is better than fat?!?
That’s what you’re saying?
Dear me, that is what you’re saying.
He isn’t challenged any more than he is fat. He is a big baby who actually is ahead of all the mile-markers. But that isn’t what upsets me about this.
It is that you would dare not only to THINK this about a child BUT TO SAY IT TO HIS MOTHER!!
Like, I said, folks: there are some people who cannot grasp the fact that what they believe is well-meant advice is actually just mean. Wrong. Unacceptable. Or stupid.
If you can’t say something nice (or constructive), don’t say anything at all. Do not assume you can parent other parents. I may be new at this, but I really don’t need random advice. I will come to you if I need some guidance. Otherwise, everyone, butt out.
Believe me, even after more than 3 years as a stay-at-home mom, I feel there are days where I am still a newbie, still learning the ropes, still bungling through. I also have the days where I feel like I should have a cape and tights because I’m such a bad-ass mother.
What’s the worst that has been said to you?