24 March 2014

Unsolicited Parenting Advice

If I am ever invited on to Room 101 I would have to think long and hard about how to narrow down all the things I hate into one 1/2 hr telly show, but there's one thing I know for sure would go in.




Unsolicited Parenting Advice. (U.P.A)


Having small children means that everyone who has ever had a child or looked after children or seen a tv show about children believes they have a duty to tell you how to raise your children. It winds me up. A lot.

I can't stand uninvited, unwelcome, unnecessary, parenting advice.

Here are some examples of UPA I have been subjected to in the last 21 months.
  • You should clean your baby's eyes with tea. 
  • He needs a hat on.
  • Don't let your son touch those cards. (In a card shop?!)
  • What time is his bedtime? It needs to be 7pm. (Health visitor regarding 2week old baby)
  • You can't feed babies *INSERT ANY FOOD ITEM*, they'll choke.
  • Doesn't he sleep in his own room yet?
  • THIS is how you hold a baby!
  • Don't feed him now, he's not hungry.
  • I think he's hungry, you should feed him.
  • Don't wake him, he needs his sleep.
  • Don't let him sleep now or he won't sleep later.
  • He's teething, you should get *INSERT ANY TEETHING REMEDY*
  • You should wean him, then he'll sleep through.
  • He's too young to go swimming.
  • You should take him swimming every week.
  • You should give him formula, then he'll sleep through.
  • You should hang him upside down by his feet, then he'll get taller*
*Might've made that one up.

Prime places for UPA assault:

Walking along the street with a buggy

There's a certain breed of older woman that trawls the streets looking for new mums to "advise". In my neighbourhood there's one who literally grills me about the well-being of my family every time we cross paths. She likes especially to check if the baby's pooing ok. Last week she asked if my breasts were feeling alright?! (Unsolicited personal question!)

Baby groups

Other mums with babies who are doing it SO RIGHT themselves that they need to share their infinite wisdom. 

Health visitor clinics

Alright, alright I know it's TECHNICALLY their job to advise parents. But still... If I need your opinions I will ask for them. (Which will be never).


Essentially, I just don't want to know how you think I should look after my kids. The only person I want to hear from on the matter is my husband because they are his kids too. And even if you ARE the father of my children and my husband, I still often don't want to hear your advice! 

So if you're ever thinking of giving me some advice I've made a quick flowchart to help you out:



Feel free to circulate this to all the UPAers in your life!

What gems of UPA have you been subjected to?...

NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 LAUGH NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 FRESH VOICE

37 comments:

  1. So true! My worst UPA experiences were in Manhattan where people were always telling me what I was doing wrong; in particular there was the day when at least ten women told me my baby should be wearing socks. This was after he'd already lost five pairs and so, short of supergluing on another pair, we decided that he could do without for the ten minutes it would take us to return home. Positive comments are always welcome as are sympathetic comments but unsolicited parenting advice, NO,NO,NO!

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  2. Oh I know!!! People are obsessed with babies having cold feet! I caved an put my boys in tights... Then ppl tell me boys can't wear tights! You can't win :) xx

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  3. People just need to mind their own business....If I want advice I will ask for it....Very annoying when people offer advice when it's not needed or wanted.

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  4. Glad I'm not alone on this :) x

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  5. Totally brilliant! That flowchart should be handed out in NCT groups! I love how you say even the health visitor, whose very job it is to give advice, can just shut her cakehole. Gave a much-needed laugh to a MAD Blog Award reject ;) xx

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  6. Haha don't worry fellow reject! We'll get there next year! X

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  7. Oh this is excellent! I have had all these things said to me. I'm going to stick that flowchart up x

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  8. Lol glad to be of service! xxx

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  9. Very good post (which I also should have said about your post on mummyhood not being a full time job, which I thought has hilarious!). My one year old son still wakes up a number of times a night, so the sleeping through advice was particularly pertinent for me (and on that note, I always wonder why whether or not a baby sleeps through is always down to 'good' or 'bad' parenting instead of the fact that every baby is a different little person and very person sleeps differently...)

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  10. I agree completely. UPA is crap. Everyone knows best about your baby. They all need to bog off!!!! x

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  11. sometimes I did want advice, after all it's only advice, you don't have to take it.

    And if I'm chatting to someone about their kids I might mention what I did or what I tried, or what worked for me.

    However, I do agree that randomly flinging suggestions at people is at best odd and at worst downright rude.

    When DD was 5 days old I went supermarket shopping with her in a sling, I was asked how old she was by an old lady - when I told her (proudly) "5 days" - she looked horrified and declared "Babies shouldn't be out of the house that early" I looked amazed and confused and spluttered "but she's not a dog, I don't have to wait till she'd had her jabs"

    :-)

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  12. when my DD slept through early I confess I used to wonder what other mums were doing wrong! Now 14 years on I realise I just have a 'sleeper'. All babies are unique.

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  13. Haha yeah I'm not against welcome advice :) just UPA. Lol at dog jabs! :) xxx

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  14. Totally! :) x

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  15. Sleeping at night is overrated... Probably ;) x

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  16. Nell@PigeonPairandMe24 March 2014 at 11:16

    Fantastic post! My UPAs have been: put the baby down (I'm a HUGGER, for crying out loud!). Put up a sunshade over the buggy, or I'll damage my daughter's eyes (from a stranger in the street). And then (from a relative): Be sure to put DOWN the sunshade, otherwise my daughter might become vitamin-D deficient. Aaaah!

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  17. Can we throw the distasteful looks thrown at the harrassed mother's direction by older or childless women in supermarkets, when they see your child mis-behaving, into room 101 too? Pretty please.



    I'm sure I've probably handed out advice, but hopefully it's always been to a close friends. Who still seek my company. Maybe these women with lots of unsolicited advice are just getting their revenge for being on the receiving end of such comments. Hope this is not your future. (ugly thought!)

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  18. Lol yes! There is a fantastic post about that on wry mummy's blog: http://www.wrymummy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/i-hope-ill-smile-at-children-in.html

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  19. Lol you actually cannot win with the rickets vs sun stroke debate!!!

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  20. my 6 month old did sleep at night.......now sleep is overrated again cos of teething and snotty colds, darn toddlers bringing in bugs lol. im longing for more than 2 hours of unbroken sleep cos i have had it and been spoiled!

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  21. argh this drive me mad!! Such a funny post and spot on :) x

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  22. Is it ok for me to offer parenting advice here about how to preempt or avoid unwanted parenting advice? That's not breaking the rules, right?

    Here it is anyway: If noticeably pregnant for the first time, wear a maternity shirt that says something like "Baby #3" - people love to hand out advice to *new* parents, but if they think you have more than one kid then not so much. After the baby is born, dress it in a shirt that says something like "best little brother/sister" so people think s/he is part a larger mess of children.

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  23. Cheers Katie :) xx

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  24. Lol hmmm ok, I'll allow it for the greater good of less UPA ;). Hasn't worked for me with my 2nd though! Just seems to have opened up a new window of "how to get things done with 2 kids" advice!! It never stops :) xx

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  25. i remember a old lady telling me off in the street in december for my son having a coat and hat and blanket,(it was a freezing day) she said he would overheat and die! she then followed me onto the bus (i presume she was intending on getting on that bus anyway and not just following me!) and decided, before i had chance to sit down and 'unwrap' him, that she would remove his hat for me incase i didnt head her advice!

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  26. No way!!!! Outrageous!!! People are nuts!! X

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  27. Haha oh how this drove me absolutely crazy when z was little. I'm pretty sure this was the biggest stress I had. I would worry so much about all the advice and the conflicting advice. I got told my baby looked jaundiced, wasn't drinking enough, wasn't putting on enough weight, wasn't sleeping enough, was too small.... aLL by the same person (all on different ocassions). I avoid her like the plague now and if we ever have a second and she spouts out advice I may be very very tempted to punch her through new mummy rage.

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  28. Lol ooh there's nothing worse than ppl saying your baby isn't gaining weight!!! That's my worst one!!! X

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  29. I love this . I so know what you mean, although I know I'm probably guilty of a bit too, over the years...I guess it's always meant well, even though it's patronising, unnecessary, normally wrong and just plain unasked for!

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  30. Hahaha this is brilliant. Already in first 11 months of being a parent I have had points 2,5, 8, 9, 10,11, 12, 13 & 14!!! Ahhhhhh And most of them have been from friends and family which is even more annoying coz you can't just walk away! xx

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  31. P.s. I've also had (from the in-laws) 1) I think you're feeding him too much orange coloured food as his skin looks orange. 2) I think u should get a carbon monoxide detector as he does sleep a lot. 3) I was patting his back too hard when burping him!

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  32. Ha ha! This is brilliant. The amount of times someone has come up to me in the street and given me 'UPA' - so frustrating!

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  33. Oh yes!!! Just wait til they get older - then you have helpful people in supermarkets stepping in when you try to (verbally, i might add - no beating over the head with a stick) discipline them.
    I was never one for parenting books/programmes or UPA - all children are individual and there are no 'catch-all' solutions. Good parenting is about listening to your child; not everyone else.
    Great post :-)

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  34. Lol loving the orange food comment!! Amazing :)

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  35. Thanks :) I get at LEAST 3 bits a day!!!

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  36. Lol sometimes I catch myself giving it too! ;)

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  37. Totally true! Worst of all are those well-meaning women from my parents' or grandparents' generation who preface their 'advice' with "This is how we did it when ..." That may very well be true, but they really don't appreciate that times have changed as has the thinking on parenting dos and don'ts ...

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