Constructive Criticism or Just Rude?

Constructive Criticism or Just Rude?

 It starts the moment you share the news of your new pregnancy. Everyone turns into an expert and MUST share their stories, advice, tips and of course criticism. You would think this would be a one time thing and when you announce the news of your second pregnancy this annoyance could be avoided, yeah, um, not so much. Someone, Somewhere will always have a suggestion on how you could be a better parent. I don’t know about you but just typing and reading that annoys me and instinctively my eyes just rolled.
For those of you out there that might be guilty of this, or could possibly be guilty of this in the future here is a few top 10 lists for you!

Top 10 Unsolicited Advice Topics:
“That baby is freezing, put some clothes on that baby”- This usually comes out of the mouths of just about anyone who is over the age 40, well, and my Husband. For some reason some people seem to think a baby needs to dress in triple layers keeping their body temperature at 107. My baby is fine, back off people!
“Oh poor baby, you’re filthy, your baby needs a bath”- um seriously, thanks jerk! You would think fellow parents would understand or remember what life with a baby or toddler is like. Let me cover/remind you why babies and their faces are messy. 1) Spit-Up- From the time babies are born they spit up, some (mine) more than others. Bruiser & Brody spit up all the time, with force. Who knew you could hear spit up land & splatter on both hardwood floors and carpet, yes, you heard correctly carpet. I’m sorry but I can only do so much to keep this from happening. My house and floors get dirty, I get dirty and baby gets dirty, it happens! 2) Drool- This starts around 4 months old and lasts until around three. I refuse to be one of those “bib” parents. The front of my kids clothes will have drool marks down the front, get over it! 3) Runny Noses- yes this happens, it drives me crazy and it disgusts me, but little kids get sick and no matter how often you wipe their noses and try to stay ahead of the booger drip, it will always eventually evade you and wind up smeared across their cheek and forearm, their built in snot rag. 4) Food & Drink- if grown ups spill, you can bet children will too. They will have various liquid mustaches and food drip stains on their clothing, it will happen. I am sorry that I am not able to change my childs clothing 20 times a day but if I can get over it, you should too!
“That baby is too fat/skinny”- Really? Who are you to decide what my children should look like. We wonder why teenagers run around with eating disorders, low self esteem and body issues. It starts when they are babies. Everyone will comment on a baby’s appearance. what are you feeding him? He is so huge. Or even oh your baby is so skinny, you should feed that poor thing. BITE ME!! My baby is just fine, eats just the right amount, back off! Must we talk about your weight?
“OMG you’re baby’s not (insert milestone here) yet?- Every baby reaches milestones at different times. MeMe didnt walk until she was roughly 18 months, Butch on the other hand was walking at 10 months. As much as we sit there and try to look fine each time a parent says something like that we are one of 3 things hurt, pissed or guilty of saying it. It’s just not tactful to say things like that. Even if you have the best intentions or a sweet heart, you can not control how a person will react to your comment, so in my opinion, keep it to yourself, I dont want to hear it!
“Wow, he needs a nap”- Really? My child has been screaming for the past 10 minutes and you feel the need to “clue” me in? Yes my child needs a nap, and I as his Mother knew that 30 minutes ago, and when you give me that look and open your mouth I have already reached the ledge of sanity and winds are picking up, I suggest swallowing those words because as the whole store or restaurant stares at me and my angel who is acting more like a character from poltergeist I may not have the strength to stop myself from reaching over and slapping your face out of frustration. Of course I know my child needs a nap! A more appropriate response from you is silence and a sympathetic smile.
“Your child watches TV?”- Yes they do! I also let them play video games, play on the computer and listen to music. Unlike a lot of parents I encourage educational games and I screen their tv choices and have banned certain songs from their playlists. We teach our kids what is appropriate for them to watch and listen to and they know what the consequences are for breaking these guidelines. Furthermore, the kids read everyday and even though it is summer they are still doing school work, per me! I print out huge worksheet binders and they work through the summer in order to retain what they learned and prepare them for what is coming next. I personally would love to see a very honest poll on how many parents actually allow their children to watch TV and how much they watch, HONESTLY!! Parents lie all the time due to condescending people and it’s not right! Lay off people it’s rude.
“You’re Spoiling the baby” This one could go either way. Some will criticize you for picking up or tending to the baby’s needs to much or for too long, on the other hand some may tell you that you are neglecting the baby. Personally I think you should do what works for you and what makes you feel comfortable. I think we have a happy medium. I like to give Brody a bit to try work it out for himself, but I sure don’t let him cry forever. Nevertheless I think it is a touchy subject that should be left to the parents to figure out.
“Your baby has diaper rash, what did you do?” Um nothing? Diaper rash happens for several reasons. The biggest culprit for our children is teething! All my kids broke out with a horrible diaper rash when teething was under way. Of course once our baby starts teething than he gets an ear infection and fever, that by the time the diaper rash kicks in my poor baby is miserable. It’s not because I choose to use disposable diapers, I certainly don’t leave my baby in a dirty diaper if thats what they think. It happens and it happens to all baby’s so lay off!
   OK lets wrap this up. Sometimes its best to try keep unsolicited advice to yourself. The worst thing you can do to a stressed out, over worked, sleep deprived Mother is judge her and come off with a holier than thou attitude, it will only get you on her shit list and may possibly hurt her feelings. If you really want to help, offer to make the family dinner while she naps, offer to sit with baby while she runs errands, it seems lame, but really any time out and to yourself is refreshing and much needed. It’s the little things that count, not the spoken words!

* This post was inspired by Mama Kats Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. List 10 things you wish you could say to strangers who share unsolicited advice about your parenting skills.

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Constructive Criticism or Just Rude?

About Miranda Sherman

Miranda Sherman is a stay at home Mom of four & full time student majoring in Business Management & Marketing from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. She blogs about her crazy family of six & two dogs on her blog Minnesota Miranda, featuring book and product reviews, giveaways, news, parenting tips and advice, shopping, recipes, fashion, travel, deals and so much more.” Find me on Google+

Comments

  1. Great List I totally agree!

  2. I know some folks are trying to be helpful, but most are just busybodies who want you to raise your child the same neurotic way they raised theirs (you know, the kids sitting in the therapists office right now).
    Great list!

  3. Great post. I also get infuriated at other people thinking they’re the expert. It is often very intimidating for new parents (mums in particular) to ask for help because everyone who has ever had a child knows best.
    I remember when my daughter was about 8 months old and I took her to a party. She was very chubby (and beautiful) and one lady who I’d known for a while came over and rudely said “wow, look at the cheeks on that…” I was furious and ended up walking out. How dare anyone say anything about my daughter’s appearance, or indeed anyone’s daughter or son.
    CJ xx

  4. I totally agree! I can’t stand the unsolicited parenting advice – especially from NON-PARENTS! My two sisters do not have any of their own children, but they are really good at pointing out my parenting flaws. I invite them to walk in my shoes for a week. I bet they don’t make it past day 2…

  5. EXACTLY! I wrote a post titled, “My Kids Will Never”, which sums up the expertise of someone who is not a mother http://melonbelly.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-kids-will-never.html and also &#8220

  6. I so agree! Especially the “Youre spoiling the baby” part. That drives me crazy! I dont think you can spoil a newborn. And so what if you can and do?? They are only babies for such a short time. I’ll spoil if I wanna!! lol

  7. Oy Vey! This is what I have to look forward to from people? Sheesh. Is it ok for me to say out loud some of these sarcastic rebuttals? LOL.
    Loved the post! Visiting from MamaKats!

  8. All that baby advice is unnecessary. Some people just don’t know when to shut up.

  9. Love this! The milestone point and the TV point are the two that irk me to no end. Mind you business, whatever-your-name-is! I did the same prompt over at my blog and really got nasty with it lol. I hope you can stop over and check it out.

  10. You’re so right!!! The thing I’ve heard the most with both babies is ‘You’re spoiling the baby’. Very, very upsetting. AND I was breastfeeding…

  11. Amen! I must admit, though, I was probably my worst critic. I read every damn book written, and obsessed when my kid didn’t do as the book claimed. With baby #2, I threw the books in the trash!

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