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Who Asked You?

“Words are so cheap, they have been declared free,” author unknown.

Strategies for Dealing With Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Walmart Grocery Checkout Line in Gladstone, Mi...

Image by Walmart Stores via Flickr

From my first pregnancy to my one with my tenth child, I have received unsolicited advice from every well-meaning soul who crossed my path. Whether they had a houseful or would not dream of having one, it was their moral obligation to tell me how to raise my child.

So what do you do when these do-gooders trap you in the grocery line? Here are my favorite comebacks and best advice:

Feign complete ignorance.

Act as though you have no knowledge of children, conception, birth or child rearing and nod as though you were hanging on every word. You will be amazed. They will prove the adage: “Better to be considered a fool, than open your mouth and prove it.”

Plead insanity.

“You know, my psychiatrist told me that I may not be up to raising children, but I think with the proper drug cocktail everything will turn out peachy.” Enjoy watching the blood drain from their faces.

Agree wholeheartedly.

“Just yesterday, my birthing coach told me the same thing!” Once it is not news, they will pass on volunteering more advice to you.

Be thoroughly shocked.

“But in that Dr. Spock book, it said I could damage my child if I do that!” Confusion will lead the do-gooder away trying to figure out what Star Trek has to do with children.

Ask for credentials.

“May I see your qualifications for dispensing advice? Give me one of your cards. What is your fee? I would like to refer some of my more ignorant friends to you.” The stammering after the first question is really funny.

Ask when their show
is going into reruns.

“I was watching your show about 6 months before I got pregnant. Why did they cancel it?” Then, the subject changes to which celebrity they think looks most like them.

Tell them they are right. (?!)

“That is what my social worker has been telling me about the three of my kids that she has.” Stunned silence is very reassuring.

Be afraid.

“I am not supposed to talk to strangers.” Ask the cashier where the nearest police station is since you believe you have narrowly escaped being kidnapped.

You get what you pay for.

Most of all, take it for what it is worth…nothing. One do-gooder in a thousand will tell you something you either don’t already know or won’t learn on your own. Most of the advice is given with the admirable intention of saving you some heartache, rather than in condescension.

Laughter is the best medicine and the cure for the do-gooder with the unsolicited parenting advice. Remember that when you walk away, you have a fabulous story to share a Mom’s Day Out!

~~~~~~~~~~

(c) Red Dwyer 2011
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog
is expressly forbidden.

Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office. 



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  1. I wish I could “like” this post 10,000 times.

    Reply
  2. Momma, you got it. I laughed all the way through. Keep on trucking.

    Reply
  3. James Parsons

     /  November 14, 2011

    Most people with children have some answers, but nobody has them all. Most is learned by being there.

    Reply
  4. I always find people’s unsolicited comments interesting. Sometimes they make me a little upset. Usually, people want you to affirm their choices in life. The stay at home mom will tell you to quit your job and get pregnant. The working mom will recommend day-care. The person who had a baby at 21 will think your “too old” to have a baby when your 29. I try to let it roll off my back and remind myself NOT to comment on other people’s life-situations unless specifically asked to!

    Reply
    • I am reticent to give advice when solicited, as it is normally not what the poser wants to hear. So, when I have someone give me parenting advice, especially during pregnancy, I ask the same question I asked my (male) OB: Exactly how many children have you *birthed*? *Evil grin*

      Reply
  5. You cope so much better than I ever could. You are writing a book, right?

    Reply
  6. LOL! Again!
    I agree about the book ala, 2011 “Please don’t eat the Daisies” version. Some of you won’t know what I’m talking about ;-): Google it.

    Reply
    • ROFL! No need to Google 😛 I am trying to finish at least one before the end of the year…that will only leave three on my desk for next spring!
      Red.

      Reply
  7. This is hilarious. Bookmarked, to share with everyone who comes to our house the next two weeks!

    Reply
    • Taking the hint, you have company coming who is a wealth of free advice (pun intended). I hope they can laugh at themselves! Glad to see you and come again!
      Red.
      PS Love your unshampoo!

      Reply
  8. Red, you are right. I laughed on this one. Your good.

    Reply
  9. There is always someone that thinks that their personal opinion offers a real insight into whatever subject they are endorsing and how rude they are, mind you after a few of your excellent retorts I feel sure that they creep away feeling rather insignificant…

    I like this posting Red, and your
    replies to those annoying little hectors
    are truly wicked 🙂

    I hope that you are enjoying
    a fine afternoon my friend 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    Reply
    • Night has fallen, and it promises to be a grand one. Momma Bear has both claws and teeth…and a wickedly sharp tongue.

      Good to see you, my dark friend!
      Red.

      Reply
      • You know everyone is on different time zones and as your page doesn’t offer me the time when I post I have to guess, but now that I know it is already night time, I will assume that it is around 6 or 7pm where you are? I am probably wrong but I do like to try and remember what zone everyone is in 🙂 Yes I am a tad crackers Red 🙂 lol

        I will be calling back again on the morrow / today I mean 🙂
        And so, have a wickedly excellent rest of evening my friend 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

        Reply
        • Yes, I am on the US east coast (GMT -5). I will give you a hint to the time here…I post at 0800, 1200 and 2000 everyday. And I happen to like crackers 😉
          Red. xxx

          Reply
  10. marilyn

     /  November 18, 2011

    I loved it

    Reply

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