Why is it that the second your first child leaves your womb, there’s a line of people out the door ready to bombard you with unsolicited advice? Really, you’ve barely even decided what your own parenting style is going to be (let’s be real, there’s the style we thought we would be pre-kid and then the style that actually ends up happening). Between the sound of your newborn screaming and everyone telling you completely conflicting things, it’s impossible find your path.
I learned pretty quickly that not only is everyone a parenting expert, they are also fertility experts. I don’t have a disease, I just am “too stressed.” Apparently, I’m an idiot, because I’m undergoing painful procedures and spending tens of thousands of dollars on something that could be cured by getting some acupuncture and drinking a tea your friend sells. My grandmother STILL thinks that I finally got pregnant because I stopped being stressed. Nice right? I’m like, I literally have a picture of my daughter in a petri dish.
In addition to the advice about what to feed your kid, why you should or shouldn’t breastfeed and what diapers to use, people have a tendency to overshare.
While I am SO grateful for this tribe I immediately became a part of when I became a mom, I don’t need to randomly be told about someone I don’t know’s fourth-degree tear while I’m checking out at the grocery store. What do you even say to that? I can’t believe the number of people who asked how my daughter was born and why I had a c-section during our first few outings.
Stares fall into the unsolicited category as well. Just don’t. You don’t know anything about my situation, so why do you even remotely feel the need to judge me with your face? I run into this frequently as my child looks like she’s five but she is only three. I should never have to feel guilty and explain my child’s age to someone to justify why SHE IS ACTING HOW SHE SHOULD. It happens most times we go out and I hate how it makes me feel. I can only imagine what parents who have children with special needs have to deal with if their kid looks “normal.” I loved to really push it when Thea was a baby and breastfeed at breweries while having a beer. Oooooooooh the looks I got when I did that! Keep your thoughts to yourself if they are negative, and that includes how your face looks.
Am I saying that we shouldn’t talk to other moms that we don’t know when we are out and about? No.
Go ahead and tell someone they are doing a great job or look cute; or totally give them the “girl, I’ve been there” look when their kid is laying in the aisle at Target screaming. But if my kid is having a temper tantrum, that’s on me to handle it in my way. I don’t need you to tell me what works for you unless I ask. And don’t get me wrong, some of my best parenting hacks have come from people that are four kids in and have so much knowledge to offer. I have no problem asking for help, because Lord knows I need it. But if I haven’t asked, just keep it to yourself. Parenting is hard enough as it is, so let’s all make a conscious effort to support and lift others that are in the same boat.
This post originally appeared on Living the High Life. It has been reprinted with permission.