Unsolicited parenting advice

Over at Bad Mommy Moments there is a dumping ground for all your parenting advice, to enable who want to ignore another batch of well meaning parents a place to peruse and ignore.

I wanted, though, to put my two  cents here, because I can get my readers to add to Bad Mommy’s list of “lose your expectations,” “laugh at  yourself,”  “always apologize,” and the ever popular “don’t go to the indoor playground hungover” advice. And because if my readers don’t hit her comment section my invaluable and genius advice will go to waste. So I offer these points for your complete disregard:

1. Find the parenting book that agrees with you, and only read that one. The others are all full of crap. Clearly, since they don’t agree with you.

2. While you’re pregnant, you can get used to having a child by having a timer set in your house to go off every 10 minutes; and every time it rings, do the opposite of what you’re doing. while holding a gallon of milk under your arm. (Not by the handle. That’s too bloody easy.) You may not continue ANYTHING for more than 10 minutes.

3. Practice the following lines for advice that makes you want to smash your fist into something soft and tooth-filled:
“That’s an interesting way to look at it.”
“Well, we’re going to try it this way for a while.”
“That’s what our pediatrician told us to do.”
That’s all you need. Any more polite than that and the idiots will think they’re right. I use “Well, you had your chance with yours, and now it’s my turn.” Be careful. This is only for advanced curmudgeons who enjoy putting people off.

4. You will find the most unusual advocates, and those who you expect to support you will turn on you. So test everybody out, and run screaming from the people who make you question yourself.

5. Breastfeeding is not easy but almost any problem can be solved, so get help. Really.

6. People will tell you to make sure you take time for yourself. You will nod, and think, “of course I will.” Yeah, well, schedule it now. Put an hour right around bathtime and dinner on the calendar for five nights a week. LEAVE THE HOUSE for that hour. If you’re single, get someone to come over and help. If you work outside the home, your time by yourself is the ride to work and the times you get to pee and eat alone. If you don’t get to pee by yourself at work, consider changing careers.*

*And if you have to pump while you pee at work, call the state office of employment, because that’s probably illegal.

7. Let go of the little stuff. For two reasons: one, you can’t do it  all, and two, if you don’t pick your battles, you will lose your mind. In our house we don’t care about bibs or stains or matching clothes or eating with forks. We don’t limit the number of band-aids we put on the outside of our clothes or the number of chores we willing hand over to someone who does them significantly less well but does them because he wants to be part of the family.Boy in pink sandals and toenail polish? Okay. Tricycle in the house? Okay. We hold the line firmly on the important things. Seat belts. Sunscreen. Hats outside. Hold hands in the street. Helmet. Only gentle touches. Thank you notes. That’s about it as far as rules go.  (Hush, all you fans of chocolate day who found out there’s a limit on the quantity that day.)

8. Nobody else has to raise your kid, so nobody else gets to tell you how to do it. The ONLY thing to listen to is your gut. They’re your children. You’ll know, if you’re really honest with yourself, what they need.

9. Invent milestones that they will always remember. There are a few major holidays, but do camping in the living room (and the backyard), and half birthdays with half cakes, and breakfast for dinner nights, and board game nights.

10. And the most important: Do not, do not, do not think that breastfeeding is birth control. Seriously, that’s playing Russian Roulette with the easy-bake baby oven, friends.

4 thoughts on “Unsolicited parenting advice

  1. Great list! Well said! You’re a great mother. And might I add to number 10 that there is now a birth control pill that is safe to take while breast feeding.

  2. I loved the post at BMM too! And I constantly use that pediatrician line. What kills me is people still balk. Then I’m like: uh, hello she’s one of the leading doctors in the friggin’ country, as in her parenting advice has landed her on Oprah. Lately I’ve just been balking at any advice b/c I’m pregnant, hormonal and pissy but like seriously: why do people try to tell you how to parent all the freaking time?? And stop touching my damn stomach!!!

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