Parenting Advice Sucks

Since the onslaught of reproduction, I get so much advice from people on parenting and motherhood that it’s like I have a personal Kanye West stealing my mic telling me Beyoncé deserves the glory, like multiple times a day. It’s great really. I mean who wouldn’t want their own personal Kanye West? Welcome to another installment of Finish the Sentence Friday where a bunch of us finish the sentence in our own unique way. Links below to more fabulous posts on the subject.

Finish the Sentence Friday

I didn’t listen to anybody’s advice when I was confident.

I know. Some people believe listening to the advice of others is a good thing, but to me, it’s always been a bad thing. I beat my own drum while humming a completely different tune I made up out of key.

My elementary school teacher describes me best when she’d tell my parents, “There is no telling that girl.”

No. There isn’t any telling me. I don’t like being told what to do. Never have.

Most of my life, when it comes to advice, and not a command, but a pleasant idea to try, I considered the source. My father, my friend Frank, my father’s boss… I loved their advice and their advice made me grow and changed my life for the better.

“Michelle, you have GOT to start accepting people for who they are.” Randy J

“Things are how you make them.” My father

“The key to life is wisdom, knowledge and understanding. You need all three.” Kenneth Dunn (an old pastor)

Some people the best advice comes only from their forte, like my BFF could tell me something about social skills and I’d follow her advice, but when it comes to investments, I probably won’t follow her advice.

“Stop assuming crackheads deserve a bad life. Addiction is a disease, not a choice, and these are real people with real feelings…” Jamie Barber and my girl Kamrat (Facebook nickname… may she rest in peace).

“Every time you visit a town you have never been to before, find a book of poetry written by a local author to get a feel for the area’s culture.” Gayle McCormick

“Try not to push so hard,” Two OBGYN’s while I was giving birth

As a single woman with no real ambition, the wrong way down a one way street was worth the thrill. Success wasn’t important enough to follow advice. I don’t do things for the same reason as others, so of course, others’ advice would seem rather irrelevant to my situation. Most of the time, their best advice wasn’t intentionally given.

But then the biological clock started ticking like a time bomb to its impending doom. I caught a gnarly case of The Motherhood.

All the sudden, my confidence plummeted. Before children, I was going to be the best mother. I knew what I was doing with kids. That was, until I had kids, then it’s like, “Unholy Fucks of all fucks, why the hell is this thing crying and how the hell do you get it to stop?”

And because I love that thing, that baby, more than I have ever loved anything in my life, I don’t want to fuck it up. I second guess EVERYTHING. I still do.

“I should have taken her to the store with me. She feels so abandoned like her mother doesn’t want her, but I know if I take her to the store, she will want a toy and will throw a fit I don’t have time for.”

So I was vulnerable. Motherhood made me vulnerable to criticism and advice, and often criticism in the form of advice.

On top of it all, motherhood attracts advice like the police force attracts guys with small penises in search to abuse power. Everyone wants to tell a mother what to do. Everyone does it in the form of, “If you don’t follow my advice, you are a bad mother and don’t deserve kids and probably should do us all a favor and die, with fire.”

Unsolicited parenting advice sucks. Don't listen to it.

Most advice about parenting pretends to be in the best interest of the children, but the reality is, that advice usually has nothing to do with the children.

Most Common Types of Parenting Advice

  • Ego feeding. Belittle the other parent to feel superior.
  • Hate. To make someone feel awful or help them fail.
  • Tribal. Meme cliché advice in order to strengthen belongingness to a tribe (because you have to believe what they believe to be accepted).
  • Straw Man. Advice based on an untrue assumption making the advice irrelevant, and the debate usually ensues where someone is trying to convince you of what your problem is, or what you are doing.
  • Paper Trail. Most common in the schools, advice designed to create a future argument against you.
  • Ignorance. Advice based on myth, like don’t vaccinate so your kid won’t catch the autism.
  • Blame. Advice that only points the finger. You are the problem. Figure that shit out.
  • Criticism. Like a back handed compliment, this advice hints you are doing something wrong.
  • NonAdvice. Where the problem is restated over and over again without any hint of a solution, and the person is headstrong in getting you to follow their advice they refuse to actually give.

Least common components in parenting advice:

  • Research
  • Empathy
  • Sympathy
  • What’s best for the kid
  • The mother’s needs
  • Reassurance
  • Help

So, you live and learn and get Luv’s diapers.

I have learned the best advice I can receive, especially as a mother, is from within. We women are equipped with intuition that knows all.

Your situation is not the same as any one else’s. Your needs, your style, and your personality is different, and if you don’t go with it, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Example: I hate saying no to the kids. The husband loves it. Just like my parents, I’m a will see mommy and the dad is a “no” daddy. When I try to say no to the kids, I end up with a Xanax.

Your child’s needs and personality are different. Lumping the children as the same like schools do is against empirical evidence. Children are best dealt with on a customized, individual level.

Example: All 3 of my kids are so different, I can’t always do the same thing for all of them. One is behind on language development and one is too advanced for her age to handle. Considering most of what I do as a parent requires communicating to my child, I even talk to my kids differently between each other.

For a long time, I followed bad advice from others because of reasons like,

  • You are not medically qualified to know better than a doctor or nurse
  • I have 3 kids, I know what I’m talking about
  • How do you know my advice won’t work unless you try it?

The things I regret most are following other people’s advice. The things I regret least are following my heart. It has nothing to do with things working out. My ideas worked better than others, but not all my ideas were right for us. But the thing is, we naturally regret going against our own instinct. We naturally accept failure as long as we followed our hearts.

I also discovered when I seek advice, I’m looking for reassurance. Not advice. When you are confident, you don’t need that reassurance. Trust me when I say it’s easier to find confidence than it is reassurance.

So now when I hear, “You are not medically qualified to know better than a doctor,” I respond, “But the following research written by more prestigious doctors is.”

“I have 3 kids, I know what I’m talking about.” I love your kids, but by looking at them, no you don’t.

“How do you know my advice won’t work unless you try it?” For the same reasons I wouldn’t jump off a tall building to prove to you I can’t fly.

I follow my instinct. Not advice. I can research about vaccinations and their dangers all I want, but in the end, I’m going with what feels right for us. I normally am all against feelings trumping logic, but there’s a fine line between emotion feelings and intuition feelings. Intuition trumps logic.

I don’t listen to anyone’s advice because I’m listening to my own. But to all my friends and family, I do factor in your advice when formulating my own.


4 Comments

  1. Michelle, I agree. In the end, we have to parent based on our best judgement. We can listen to others, and try to learn and understand what might work well for our children. But we need to make the best decision for our kids with our own hearts and minds, not the hearts and minds of another.

  2. Great post! I could not agree more! Following your heart with each child in the best way that works for them, is the way to go. I once took my oldest to the doctor, because he was having some allergy problems. When I told the doctor what he was experiencing was the very same things that I experience with my own allergies, and she surprised me by saying, “Well you know him better than anyone.” I also had a teacher once tell me that my lil man should be kept out of Kindergarten for one more year, and I refused, and he was one of the smarter kids in school, and still is. Have a great week!

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