The most peculiar phenomenon occurs when you are pregnant. People pop out of the wood work to tell you their opinion on absolutely everything. This can stretch from well meaning best friends offering sage breastfeeding wisdom to down right rude interjections from strangers in the super market. This is for sure one of those things that doesn’t happen to every person, but if it’s you (and it certainly was me) I feel for you.
I had such a lovely experience polling other moms for my What Does a Suburban Mom Look Like? piece that I wanted to incorporate not just my own experience, but that of other moms into this post as well. So special thanks to my blogging friends that contributed their experiences to this post.
You Can’t Do That.
When I was pregnant with my son, I did zero exercise. Well, I did sit eating pancakes watching a prenatal yoga DVD once, but I am not sure that counts. And let me tell you, come labor time man, did my lack of activity (since about high school) show! But, with my daughter, I worked out throughout most of my pregnancy. I was also a SAHM by this point so making time during the work week was a non-issue. I was SHOCKED however, in 2017 how many people thought pregnancy rendered you incapable of exercise (save a doctors order.) The more I talked to other women, the more I heard story after story of “You can’t do that!”
“Don’t lift your arms over your head or you will strangle the baby with the cord.” -Caitlin Cancellieri Patoka of Real Mom Recs
“Don’t take naps, it will mess up the baby’s sleep schedule.” -Bibiana Ramos Baez
That one I for sure did not follow. I was definitely (sometimes still am) of the philosophy nap when the toddler naps.
“So my students were really sweet during my pregnancy! My boys were probably the funniest and most caring. One boy (a senior) said that if pregnant women stood too long the baby weighs down their stomachs and that’s why mom’s have saggy stomachs after babies.” -Justine Hiett of Love Every Aspect
Hmmm. Maybe, If I’d just sat down more I’d have a chiseled abs.
You Can’t Eat That.
Ok, so this one is a hotly debated topic amongst those in the family way. Certainly, I’m not advocating for washing down gas station sushi with a six pack. I do remember when I was pregnant with my daughter one mom talking about how she couldn’t eat queso. And I was thinking ahhh well I get nauseous with just about everything so that makes sense to me. And she said no, you know we can’t have soft cheeses. Face. Palm.
“You can’t eat sushi. My daughter ate it when she was pregnant and now she’s allergic to strawberries.” -Breanna Park of Mommies to Be
I mean, what??
Standing in line to get coffee “Don’t you know that is BAD for the baby?!?” -Sarah Elizabeth Crispell of Stitchly Creations
Well, once I had a toddler who liked to rise at the glorious time of 4:30 am, you could have nicknamed my fetal daughter “latte”. Baristas count as mom friends right?
The List Goes On.
From inappropriate belly grabs by refrigerator repair men (yep, this was me) to people disliking the baby name you chose, people continue to voice their opinion on your size “You’re so big.” “You’re so small” right up until the time your baby is born. And then they magically stop and let you do your own thing. No one judges how you decide to raise your baby or give you unsolicited, outdated parenting advice that is potentially harmful and downright disrespectful, PSYCH!
Baby Is Here!
“If the baby has his or her days and nights mixed up just flip them upside down.” -Caitlin Cancellieri Patoka
“Breastfeeding advice from 60 year old bachelor male…” enough said -Audrey Tipps
“Add cereal to the bottle to make them fuller when they are tiny.” -Elizabeth Aguedamartinez of Fit Lizz
This one is a toughy because most of us grew up with parents doing this or knowing someone who did this, but now sources say it’s a big choking hazard. Which brings us to a super fun topic of “Well, when you (or your husband) were a baby then… which get a bit tricky.” Tread carefully, sweet darlings, and check those hormones. But, remember it’s 2019 and your baby, your choice with matters of safety.
“Don’t hold your baby too much, they will get spoiled and you will never be able to put them down.” -Julie Siewert of Diaper Dabbler
Yes, I know a lot of moms walking their second graders into school nursing them in a Tula wrap. Eye roll. Take care of yourself by all means too. Mama matters. And it can be hard to ask for help, which certainly contributed to some of my personal anxiety after the births of my babies ( To The New Mama With Anxiety, You Are Not Alone), but no mother ever looked back on her life and thought, “Wow, I cuddled my newborn too much.”
Learning to Take It In Stride
I am still on the first metaphorical lap of my parenting journey. Just ask my own mother whom I still call daily at the ripe young age of thirty-two. Yikes! I have a long road ahead. I can safely say that from the moment it was public knowledge I was going to be a mother someone had an opinion about how I should be doing things. More often than not it was not how I felt I should be doing things or was not what the organizations I put my faith in agree is best practice. The truth is most people really do mean well. Even if they are incredibly misguided. I have yet to learn how to fully let it roll off my back. Instead of letting it unhinge me completely, like I used to (like as of yesterday, lol) I am working on accepting that it is often with good intentions that people offer their opinions. Even if they are downright ridiculous.
How do you handle unsolicited advice on your pregnancy or parenting?