Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Do I Know When to Offer Parenting Advice?

The title of this post is "How Do I Know When to Offer Parenting Advice?" I did not fully realize how much some of us struggle with this question until a Facebook interaction brought it to my attention. A friend posted one of those meme thingies and it made me giggle. I scrolled down to click “Like,” noticed the comment thread, got a upset and…well, why don’t you read it all for yourself.

TakeSelfTooSeriouslyLady: Hate to be contrary, but I work with a lot of older ladies who suffer from gastro-intestinal problems now after years of drinking coffee and tea. The best thing to help you feel more alert, besides more exercise, is more sleep. Try not to run yourself ragged, and find a better work-life balance.
FriendofThirdOption: ok, i'll try to explain that to the new baby
TakeSelfTooSeriouslyLady: lol, ok, admittedly, I have no experience w/ babies, but I see the long-term effects of caffeine dependency.
ThereMustBeAThirdOption: And this is why I stopped taking advice from people without kids! LOL! :)
FriendofThirdOption: See u later, FriendofThirdOption, say hey to RandomOtherFriend for me.
First off, CALM DOWN! It’s a meme shared on Facebook. It isn’t meant to be a mission statement. Secondly, I typed LOL AND added a smiley face. You can’t get all upset if I add a smiley emoticon. Plus, let's be honest with each other here. You told a new mom to "find a better work-life balance," are you really surprised someone took issue with that? Third, and most importantly, I was trying to save you from making an even bigger douche canoe out of yourself in the future. TakeSelfTooSeriouslyLady, you have got to know your audience. If you try spewing that crazy to me, I might just leave my three little angels with you. Trust me, you are not prepared for that. And god help you if you just happened to catch me after a night involving any sort of fluid (urine, vomit, repeated requests for a drink of water, etc.). I might not come back for them for a week.
I feel responsible for helping TakeSelfTooSeriouslyLady, and the myriad others like her, avoid this mistake in the future. Because I am such a giver, I have created a quick way for anyone to determine whether or not they should offer parenting advice. Please, take this quiz and share it with someone in need. The life you save may be your own.
Should you offer parenting advice?
A short quiz to help you determine whether to share or shut up.
Circle the answer that best describes you.
1. How many times in the past week have you gone to the bathroom alone?
     a) I don't understand the question.

     b) A couple of times, while the kids did a puzzle together.

     c) Zero. Zip. Nada. It's a convention in there every time.
2. Have you ever had to perform a Merry Maid at 2:00am because someone projectile vomited across his/her bedroom?
     a) Does the time we all got wasted on peach schnapps and Ashley's boyfriend puked in the back of my mom's minivan count?

     b) Goodness no, we have people who do that.

     c) Hells yeah. Those crib slats are a biotch to tidy up. (Bonus points if your child puked because he/she was throwing a tantrum over not wanting to go to sleep.)

3. What happens when people talk to you before your second cup of coffee?

     a) I greet them with a friendly smile and a warm "good morning."

     b) I don't drink coffee, but I do get a little saucy if you try to talk to me before I've had my herbal tea!

     c) Bad, bad things.

4. I love my dogs/cats/hermit crabs/etc. as if they were my own children.

     a) True! They are are my sweet, precious babies and I will never lock them in a room because they refuse to stop licking/scratching/trying to burrow into an ear to use as a new shell/etc. my human baby.

     b) I have no pets.

     c) Ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA! False.

5. How often do you shop for groceries while simultaniously "encouraging" a screaming infant to take a pacifier, clutching a child's shirt in order to keep him from hurling himself into the path of an oncoming shopping cart, and screaming at a child seated in the cart under a replica of the Terminal Tower he has built with canned good and produce to stop calling his brother a poopy head?

     a) Never.

     b) Only if the childcare room is full, and even then I usually just come back later when someone else can watch the kids.

     c) At least once a week, usually twice, and most often while desperately needing to use the restroom.


If you answered mostly a's: Do not offer parenting advice! When it comes to parenting, you don't know your Baby Bjorn from your Bumbo. Until you have walked in the shoes of a new mom, you need to back off, because you are going to step on some toes...and probably end up with a face full of lukewarm coffee that the aforementioned new mom has been trying to find the time to drink.

If you answered mostly b's: Be very careful! Most likely anything useful you would be able to offer came from that one episode of Super Nanny you watched. We all watched it too. But thanks for thinking of us! :)

If you answered mostly c's: Bring it on! Meet up for some coffee or wine (depending on when you can ditch the kids with the hubs) and have a gab fest. As a matter of fact, give ME a call and we will hang out. We might be soul mates.