Some days it seems like everywhere you turn, there's someone eager to give you advice on how to do your job as a parent better. Sometimes this advice is welcome or even sought out, but often, it's unsolicited and frankly, full of crap!
Here's my officially unofficial list of people who should NOT be giving parenting advice to anyone:
1. Celebrities. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure my life is as unglamorous as possible. Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Gosselin's lives have absolutely nothing in common with my own. I am not raising my children to become celebrities, and I don't have a personal assistant, trainer, stylist, nanny or any of the other employees they have, therefore their advice is pointless. This not only applies to parenting advice, but also all the articles and "news stories" about how they stay in shape, keep their glamorous appearance, appear to be ageless, etc.
2. People who do not have children. I have several childless friends, most of whom are childless by choice, and I applaud them! If you don't want children, then by all means, do not have them. I realize that most of us thought we knew exactly how we would parent before we had children, but the reality is when we're up to our neck in vomit, poop or temper tantrums, we have the prerogative to change our minds. Repeatedly. Do not tell me how to handle my child's behavior issue, how to medicate them when they are ill or how to get them to eat their vegetables. You have no practical experience; therefore, your advice is pointless to me.
3. People who have fewer children. I have two children, and I absolutely love when someone who only has one child tells me how I should juggle schedules, prioritize, handle things, etc. (sarcasm). Each child that you add to your family multiplies, well, frankly everything. Bills, laundry, illness, stress... the only things that decrease with more children is the amount of sleep you will get and the amount of money in your bank account. There are almost five years between my two children, and I guarantee you there are things my second child has done that I let slide that would not have gone unnoticed by my first child. I'd like to say that they were raised identically, but I do try not to lie in writing.
4. Random strangers on the street, in the supermarket, etc. There seems to be some sort of phenomenon in the world where strangers feel completely justified coming up to parents, especially those with small children, to insist you're doing everything wrong and offer advice. "Your baby isn't bundled up enough in the cold," "your child should be sleeping through the night," "if you would just do this, that, and the other thing," "you should hide vegetables inside foods he likes to get him to eat better."
5. In-laws (enough said, right?) I asked my Facebook friends and family members to share their most annoying parenting advice stories and there were numerous in-law (usually mother-in-law) stories, including one MIL who tried to sneak-feed an infant behind the mother's back and against her wishes! We realize that you successfully raised children -- including one we thought was awesome enough to marry -- but unless we specifically ask, "What do you think I should do?", keep your opinions, and your sneaky ways, to yourself.
6. Anyone who hasn't dealt with the exact same family structure. If you haven't been a step-mom, don't tell someone else how to be one. If your child doesn't have ADHD or Autism or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, don't give someone whose child does advice on how to handle it. We don't care if you think we should be more strict, less strict, attempt more therapy sessions, cut back on therapy sessions, medicate more, medicate less, try a holistic approach, consider home school, stop doing home school and enroll in charter schools. We. Don't. Care. What. You. Think.
It's as simple as that.
Look, here is the real deal on this whole parenting situation. Most of us moms know that at any given moment in time, we're screwing up at least half of whatever we are doing as a mom -- so we don't actually need anyone pretending to give us advice when what they're really doing is just making us feel even worse about the crappy job we're doing at that moment.