Warning- this post contains large quantities of sarcasm delivered in a ranting format!
Nothing gives people the false right to dispense advice and opinion than becoming a parent. When I first started showing with my twins, I thought these opinions would be limited to my pregnancy….how wrong I was. Since the birth of my twins I encounter “helpful” strangers every time I venture out. The following is just a synopsis of the crazy world of being a new mum drowning in unsolicited wisdom or as I like to think of it…bullsh*t.
1) Are you breast feeding (often asked while I am bottle feeding)? You know breast is best for the babies. Really…? Never…? Well thank you for bringing this to my attention. Obviously I am unwittingly choosing to bottle feed having given it no thought whatsoever, I hadn’t even considered breast-feeding. NEWSFLASH…Lets assume that mothers are well informed these days and consider their options and choose to do what is best for them. How about keeping this absolute gem of advice to yourself before you inadvertently dispense it to someone you shouldn’t and cause immense offence (what about the mother whom adopted, or those of us unable to breast feed and those who choose not to because it just isn’t right for them). Breastfeeding is awesome but not for everyone. It’s a choice and if it’s not your baby then it’s not your choice. End of.
2) Two days ago I was sat in a coffee shop with my babies. I was refuelling with the nectar of life that is espresso only to be disturbed by a lady. She helpfully told me that my daughter was too cold under the air vent. I was obviously too tired to argue because I sheepishly pulled out a cardigan (simultaneously mentally patting myself on the back for being so prepared and demonstrating to this stranger that I was a good mother) and proceeded to wrap my daughter up warm…albeit against my better judgement. Amazingly this isn’t the first encounter I have had like this. It has happened a few times, people often comment on how warm or cold the babies must be…the reality is, I’m their mum and I am pretty good at spotting when my baby is warm or cold and act accordingly. So with respect to all those walking thermostats, I too can sense warm and cold and given that I dressed the babies, I know how many layers they are wearing and therefore I am best placed to decide if they are hot or cold and I’m sensible enough to act accordingly!
3) Bottle fed babies need water as well. Really, ok good to know. How much should I give them?…Oh I don’t know enough about it to actually help you, just enough to feel I can interfere.
4) Never give a baby water, breast milk/formula contains everything they need. Please see point 3 to appreciate how helpful this advice is.
5) Try and get them into a routine. Oh, you think? I was hoping to live the rest of my life in utter chaos , you mean to tell me that eat, sleep, cry, poop, burp repeat isn’t what you had in mind?
6) Let them cry it out! This is my personal favourite, probably because I have twins…that means two babies and one set of hands I have this covered even if I didn’t want too.
7) finally, less advice and more a forecast of our future. I like to think of these people as “the predictors”. They feel the need to “reassure” me how long the sleepless nights will last (estimates range from 8 weeks to 2 years). The reality is that nobody knows and every child is different. I would prefer ignorant bliss and take each day as it comes hoping it happens sooner rather than later. Quite simply, these meaningless predictions are just a waste of everyone’s time.
In summary, to all mums and dads out there struggling with this, you are not alone. Smile sweetly to these people, let go of the rage you want to serve them and think to yourself thanks for your pearls of wisdom but I prefer diamonds anyway.