Can we all agree that parenting is already hard enough on its own without the unsavory addition of the unsolicited advice it seems to attract? What is with people feeling so free to share their opinions as to how we're performing our jobs as moms and dads? The way I see it, these so-called "words of wisdom" are -- like a bad mood or a bad recipe -- better left unshared. To wit: what follows are some of the choicest pieces of advice I've accumulated during the eight years I've been a parent. I like to consider it "unadvice" of sorts, and invite you to make up your own mind as to its merit.
· Just tell him to behave! Now, why didn't I think of that? Jeesh, if only I'd had that idea. I could kick myself. Oh, and I could've had a V8, too.
· Honey, she needs a coat in this weather. Yes, maybe she does. You're right. But when she was throwing herself on the floor of the local SuperSaver, screaming and knocking down the entire pyramid of creamed corn cans on display at the end of the vegetable aisle, she worked up quite a sweat, and at the time, the coat seemed like overkill.
· She'll never get into a good college unless you nurse for[insert random amount of time here]. Did you nurse? Eww, how could you nurse? Did you nurse long enough? Eww, how could you nurse for that long? If there is a correct answer to these questions, I would like to hear it one definitive time, so we can all put this issue to sleep, along with the inadequately-fed baby.
· Oh, you're not going to let him speak like that to you, are you? Um, yes. Actually I was. Only now, I just feel worse about it.
· What he needs is a good spanking. Is there anyone alive who can still be unaware of the controversial and highly personal nature of the decision about how to discipline kids today? So, what's with everyone making so free with their suggestions as to how I can improve upon the process? My eighteen-month-old toddler fell into the same bottom step so often that he now has a permanent scar across his forehead (and so often that I had to postpone his Sears Portrait session five times), and that didn't teach him not to climb the stairs. If anything, it fueled his little-kid determination. So, what if spanking were to have the same effect?
· Enjoy every minute of it; it goes by so fast. Why? Why do I have to enjoy every minute of it, when some of those minutes contain (but are not limited to): whining; begging for candy, toys, firearms, and/or puppies; stripping in public; swearing at me; and, of course, the above-mentioned tipping over of any and all canned goods? And, by the way, these minutes don't seem to go by so fast at all. In fact, they pass like a slow-mo replay of the entirety of my middle school years. Not good.
So, what say we all agree that our own parenting methods are the best and that everybody else is certainly doing a worse job than we are or would or will? Let's agree that, while we are ensuring our children's happy deliverance into a secure and successful future, everybody else is certainly inflicting untold damage on their poor offspring's psychological well-being that could, alas, so easily, have been avoided. If only they'd just listened to that advice.
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