Now that most of our friends and family members know that I am pregnant, I am suddenly surrounded by pregnancy and parenthood "experts" who are bombarding me with advice. I know that they mean well, but their unsolicited suggestions are driving me nuts! How can I get them to keep these "pearls of wisdom" to themselves? |
First, while your situation is frustrating, you should take comfort in knowing that you are not a solo member of the "Stop telling me how to make, grow, feed, burp, diaper, dress and raise my baby" club. Unfortunately, most pregnant women at one time or another have found themselves in this situation and as charter members, can commiserate with you as the advice continues to pour in. While you hit the nail on the head by stating that most advice givers mean well, that does not make their unsolicited expertise any less bothersome. Here are a few tips to help you handle the unavoidable advice that may come your way as your pregnancy and parenthood journey progresses:
- Examine the Expert. Some friends or family members may be sharing information with you because they really do know what they are talking about. A friend may want to tell you about a difficult pregnancy situation that she experienced because she is hoping that you will be able to learn through her hardship and avoid complications similar to hers. Another may want to share helpful hints that aided her through morning sickness, heartburn, or pregnancy anxiety. If the person sharing the advice with you is someone that you know and respect, keep an open mind and listen to what they have to say. Who knows, their advice may just come in handy! If, on the other hand, a close family member insists that there is no need to purchase a brand new crib for your little one because she has one that you can borrow and it worked wonderfully for her kids back in 1952, don't feel pressured into believing it! Many well-meaning loved ones feel that anything that worked 50 years ago should still work for kids today. In reality, several beliefs throughout the medical community have changed greatly over the years, so just because Grandma says its okay doesn't mean that it necessarily is. Anytime that you are given advice and are unsure of its validity or safety remember this saying, "When in doubt, check it out." Don't ever hesitate to contact the real expert, your doctor, when you have questions about your pregnancy or your little one's care.
- Do they "walk the walk" or just "talk the talk?" If a friend of yours with five unruly children begins doling out all sorts of parenting advice, remember that actions speak louder than words. Take her suggestions with a grain of salt and if at all possible, change the subject! If, on the other hand, you notice a friend or neighbor with really well behaved children and positive family dynamics, that mom might just be one worth listening too. Consider inviting her over for coffee (decaf, of course!) and ask her your pregnancy and baby questions. Even early on in your pregnancy, it is never too soon to begin preparing yourself for parenthood by stocking your idea shelf full of great mommy-tricks. Remember, anyone can claim to be a parenting expert. We can all read the same discipline books and watch the same self-help shows. It takes a true expert, and wonderful parent, to do the day to day work required to raise great children. These parents not only "walk the walk" but they do it well! These are the parents worth listening to.
- Let them down lightly. Because most advice-givers really do mean well, try to politely let them know when their advice is not wanted. There is no reason to let an overly ambitious, advice giving friend or neighbor ruin your day. So rather than becoming overly frustrated when faced with another round of, "You should really try this" why not respond to their suggestions with a wink, a smile and one of these retorts:
- Thanks, but I don't think that would work for me.
- I appreciate your concern, but my doctor and I have this pregnancy all under control.
- It's true that babies haven't changed in the last fifty years, but all that we know about them sure has!
- That's an interesting idea, but I'm going to have to check out that idea with edHelperbaby first!
- Oh shucks, I just received my last allotted piece of advice today. Better luck next week!
If these polite responses don't get the point across, simply smile and honestly explain to them that you and your partner are enjoying figuring out this pregnancy on your own. Then tell them that if you do have any questions you'll be sure to call. You might not call them...but you'll call someone.