All That Advice

(Wanted and Unwanted Opinions & Advice)

katie2I am the first one to admit – I am a first time mom and feel completely clueless on what to do with the baby once he gets here. Social media has been a wonderful tool to reach out and ask opinions from experienced mamas – I’ve totally leveraged the Iowa City Moms Blog Facebook page as well as own my to gain insight on a few baby-related things. The advice I have solicited from others has been like gold. Nothing can beat the advice from someone who has been there, done that.

And then…there is all that unsolicited “advice”. The advice that comes from out of the blue with no warning, at inappropriate times.

From those I love. Those I would consider an acquaintance. And also complete strangers.

My husband and I were in a department store a few weeks ago looking at window coverings. The lady helping us asked when I was due and I told her August. She pondered that for a moment and then matter-of-factly stated “My biggest piece of advice is to relax. If you don’t relax, the baby won’t come out.” I decided at that very moment, we would not be buying anything from her. Not because it wasn’t good advice, I am sure it’s great advice. But this was a stranger.  Who knew nothing about me. And was offering pretty personal advice. That I did not ask for.  And because at that particular moment, I was really hot (because it was quite stuffy in there), I was hungry (it was like 6 pm and I hadn’t eaten since 3 pm) and I was tired (again, it was 6 pm).

Then there are those who have opinions on subjects that really shouldn’t be discussed because they’re so personal. Like whether or not we plan to circumcise our son. (Yes, I have had more than a couple of people strike up a conversation with me about this subject.)And the opinions on breast feeding, cloth diapering, the height of our kitchen table, the type of flooring in our house and sleep schedules. (OK, the height of our kitchen table and flooring choices are not that personal, but opinions have been offered up on both subjects. And I spent a lot of time picking out both our flooring and our table, so I don’t want to hear that you think it’s a bad choice.) Sometimes people can be downright mean with their opinions, complete with eye-rolling and sneers when they find out your stance does not match their own and that look of “Your kid is screwed”.

I’ve even gotten parenting advice from my dear old dad, who is bound and determined to turn my son into a Yankees fan. To be clear, I am a Cubs fan and there will be NO Yankee garbage in my house. My dad is a man of very few opinions, except when it comes to baseball.

On top of the advice are the comments. I told my mom the other day that I was going to start trying to hide my pregnancy when I go out in public anymore. (At 31 weeks, this would be next to impossible.) This was after my husband and I had been to every furniture store in town trying to find a glider and every sales person had something to say about my belly. It was to the point even my husband was getting annoyed with it and told me he didn’t know how I dealt with it. Here is how the conversation went between myself and a saleslady at a furniture store that shall remain nameless:

Saleslady “When are you due?”
Me “August”
Saleslady “Oh, you still have a long time.” (One of my most hated comments. Second only to “Oh, God. You’re due in August!? You’ll be miserable the whole summer!)
Me “Well, only 11 more weeks, it will go by fast!”
Saleslady  “No it won’t. Those last two months are hell. Trust me.”

Uh – OK. Thanks.

I think – no, I know – for the most part all of this advice comes from a good place (except for the unsolicited comments that serve no value.) By human nature, we want to help one another. Women for the most part do this by trying to relate to one another through our own experiences. I try, very hard, to remember this.  But when you’re 31+ weeks pregnant and most likely uncomfortable and quite possibly tired (because when aren’t you tired when you’re pregnant), it can be harder to act gracious when such advice is doled out. I think it’s easier with people I am closest to because they can read my non-verbal cues and know when I’ve had enough. I am also more comfortable telling those people when I’ve had enough.

I know I am very guilty of offering unsolicited advice. I try to watch myself and try to take the stance of listener and only offer advice when it seems appropriate.  But I am a woman and I relate by sharing my experiences.

I know this is only the beginning. I know when the baby is here, people will be coming out of the woodwork, advising me on every aspect of parenting. For me, the smile and nod (and then vent to my husband) method has worked so far. Also trying very hard to keep in mind, the advice comes with only good intentions.

So let me ask you – what is some of the weirdest advice you’ve received as a mother? Also, how do you handle the advice when you’ve had just about enough?

Katie is a mama of two rambunctious, sweet, cuddly and highly energetic boys. Growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, she briefly left the area to attend college at the University of Northern Iowa, had a brief stint living in Chicago before settling down in Lisbon with her husband Bryan. Katie has been in the marketing field for over 10 years and is currently a marketing manager for an area health care organization. When she is not balancing life as a working mom, Katie enjoys binging on Netflix/Hulu, learning about all things boy and squeezing in a workout from time to time. Her current addictions include coffee, LaCroix, and cookies.

17 COMMENTS

  1. When I was pregnant with my son, I got all KINDS of advice. Do this….don’t do this….eat this….no, no…don’t eat that. As a parent, you have to do what is best for you and your child (who YOU know best!) There are many times that I see my friends doing things that I would NEVER do and I try my hardest not to roll my eyes when they are looking or make my sigh of disapproval audible to them. 🙂 As far as the unsolicited advice, I actually learned to love it–even when it was SUPER annoying. After a struggle with infertility, I just loved the fact that I COULD be asked those questions again! 🙂

    • Just me – yes, I totally feel you! We struggled with infertility as well and it’s good for me to keep that in mind. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I was warned I would be given lots of advice, and it was suggested that I hear them and smile…(like you said, Katie, people really just want to relate to you)… but in the end, just listen to your heart. No one knows you and your baby better than you and your baby.

  3. I don’t have family here and I don’t have many friends, getting advice from everyone made me feel good and not alone , so some people appreciate these advice!

  4. We struggled with infertility for years as well. So, sometimes we were excited that people would even notice that we were even pregnant! That being said, people often told me horror stories & I always wondered why they would ever do such a thing. Being pregnant already makes you a bit nervous. Horror stories only make that worse! Anyway, I agree with the other mommies. I would say to take it a day at a time & figure out what works for you & your family. It took us a while to realize that other people’s opinions were most often not really that important as long as we were managing in whatever way worked for us. Wishing you good luck & many blessings!

    • Yes, the horror stories scare me to death as well. Someone started to tell me one the other day and I politely asked them to stop because the labor and delivery is starting to become very real! Thank you for the kind words.

  5. Yes, it can be very annoying sometimes. As this is probably my last pregnancy, I have found myself thinking a few times that you only get to be in this “club” for 9 months (and really not even that long as it doesn’t really start until you are showing) times however many kids you have….so I just try to soak it up, because mostly it is a fun “club” to be a part of 🙂

    • Great point – I have never really looked as it as a club. Sometimes I lose sight that the pregnancy part is very temporary and I know some day I’ll look back and miss it. You’re right, I’m very lucky to be apart of such club. 🙂

  6. Katie, I’m curious that you are writing for a mother’s blog that gives advice based on life experiences when you so clearly do not want to be receiving advice of any sorts. Motherhood is a journey filled with trial and error and the wisdom of those who trod before us is invaluable to one who is making the journey for the first time. All of us have filters that allow us to pick and chose what which advice we would like to take…but you seem to not want anything from anyone, including your family. Best of luck on this journey solo. Next time I see you writing a blog post and “asking” for advice, I’ll have to remember that you don’t really want it.

    • At Iowa City Moms Blog we value our writers and our readers. We hope to foster a place where all may feel free and safe to share their opinions and viewpoints, including those viewpoints that may be in opposition to others’. However, we do expect everyone to treat one another with love and respect when sharing those opinions. Please think of others before you post a comment and treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If you have any questions about that policy, please feel free to contact me at kaitlyn (at) iowacitymomsblog (dot) com. Thank you.

  7. When your baby is six [email protected] old and nothing you do works to get him/her to sleep through the night I promise you that you’ll welcome the advice. When you have a two year old who takes a bite out of everything that moves, including you, the nice lady at church who offered to hold the bundle of joy while you run to the bathroom or great grandma Betsy….you’ll want advice. After the experience of childbirth which will remove any sense of modesty you thought you had, discussing “personal things” like your kitchen table height will be comedic. As a mom of three I can tell you that motherhood is filled with uncertain feelings and moments where you think you’re the only woman who has ever prayed that bedtime could be moved up to 1 pm. That advice you loathe now will keep you out of the nuthouse later. We all get advice that soesnt ring ture to us, but being gracious is a value that later im hoping youll find important to instill in your child. Here’ a piece of advice you probably don’t want but I’m going to give it to you anyway…..chill.

    • At Iowa City Moms Blog we value our writers and our readers. We hope to foster a place where all may feel free and safe to share their opinions and viewpoints, including those viewpoints that may be in opposition to others’. However, we do expect everyone to treat one another with love and respect when sharing those opinions. Please think of others before you post a comment and treat them the way you’d like to be treated. If you have any questions about that policy, please feel free to contact me at kaitlyn (at) iowacitymomsblog (dot) com. Thank you.

      • There is a difference between attacking someone and disagreeing with them. No one attacked this author in any manner. The author’s tone in the original blog post was snarky…which will invite snarky replies. If you don’t want snarkiness on your blog than discuss with your writers that their posts shouldn’t be snarky. I am sick and tired of the attitude that many women my age have that they are entitled to be B**chy when they are pregnant. This will bleed into being mean and nasty because you have young kids and you’re tired, or later, you’re tired because you have to carpool kids all over the place, or you’re tired because you have a teenager. Being tired is not a reason to villify everyone around you and then try to convince everyone else in the world that you are a victim. If you don’t want people to notice your pregnant belly than don’t get pregnant! Unsolicited advice can be annoying or funny etc, but to come on here and complain about it while saying it’s okay to be ungracious just because you are pregnant is just downright selfish. I’m sorry if that is hard to hear, but that’s my opinion. I’m not saying this author is an inherently selfish or bad person….THAT would be attacking. I’m calling the behavior selfish and arrogant, and something that I would hope the MOM’s blog wouldn’t condone. It IS your author, after all and what she or any of your author’s write reflects on your blog brand as a whole. Additionally, as the Iowa City Mom’s Blog who accepts advertisements and promotes local businesses, I’d think you wouldn’t condone an author saying that she refused to support a certain business because they commented on her pregnancy in a way that she even admitted ‘probably had good intentions;, even though it annoyed her because she was hot and tired. Your reply to my post should have also been directed to the author who wrote this blog entry, because she was just as snarky as I was….obviously your authors are held to a different standard.

  8. Katie, you’re doing everything right. Ignore that Lindsey chick..don’t think you need that in your life right now.

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