Unsolicited parenting advice can really get on your last frayed nerve, but sometimes that butting in can be the single important suggestion that saves your parenting sanity.
From doing what’s best for your family to using the word ‘no’ sparingly, check out these stories from real moms on good parenting advice they didn’t ask for.
Take advice with a grain of salt
There are plenty of parenting ‘rules’ out there, but giving yourself permission to do what works for you and your family will save you a ton of frustration. “The best unsolicited parenting advice ever given to me was to supplement my baby with formula,” shares Amy Bonaccorso, of Laurel, Maryland. “I was under a lot of pressure to exclusively breastfeed. But, it turned out that my baby and I had so many health issues so it really was important to supplement.”
A little motherly advice
But, before you can take care of your kids, you have to take care of yourself. “You are the most important part of this whole newly configured family,” Kathy Cardille was advised. “Without you nothing else works. So put yourself to bed when you need it, fix yourself good meals, exercise and get some alone time. If you feel like crying, do it. If you feel like reading, do it. You are number one.”
Part of taking care of you is giving yourself a break, like Stacey Glaesmann, of Pearland, Texas was told. “The best parenting advice I have ever gotten that was not asked for was to ‘strive to be good enough, not perfect.’ For some reason, that allowed me to give myself permission not to pursue being a ‘Super Mom.’ I think it saved me a lot of unnecessary stress!”
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Parenting is a journey
However, no parent is going to make it through the childhood years without these words from those who’ve been there before you. “I feel like it’s one big secret just how hard those first few weeks and months can be — no one really talks about it,” points out Lauren Holmes. “But the best piece of advice is to hang in there as it just gets better and better. And then you get to a point where you think, it can’t possibly get any better than this. And it does.”
And Anita Lavine agrees. “When I was feeling particularly beleaguered with two toddlers, someone said to me, ‘try and remember, the days are long, but the years are short.’ Now that my kids are 7 and 8 years old, I realize it’s so true, and it helps me (sometimes) to not sweat the small stuff.”
Love your little one
Regardless of who is offering unsolicited parenting advice, never forget to love your kids — now! “Take time to read to them or play with them, the rest can wait,” a wise person once told Raquel Scharf-Anderson, mom of two. “There’s never been a mom who regretted reading with their child.”
Especially when you’re stressed to the brink and your kids are on your last nerve, remember to “love the child you have, not the one you wished you had,” Janet Lehman, co-creator of the Total Transformation program was told. And Bola Ajumobi of healthgist.com was giving similar guidance. “Never to compare your children but to love them as they are.” It’s tough, but worth the effort!
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Best kids on the block
It may be a little easier to keep your cool when you’re following the advice Liz Cooper of Newton, Massachusetts was given. “The best unsolicited parenting advice I’ve received is if you want your child to know how to behave well at restaurants or on planes, etc. then make sure you take them out and expose them to those situations to learn how to behave in restaurants, planes, etc.” Experience always trumps lecturing until you’re blue in the face in most cases.
And, speaking of blue in the face, you may want to rethink the word ‘no.’ “Best advice? Use ‘no’ sparingly — for situations of danger primarily — and when you do use it, go to the wall with it,” someone once shared with Patricia Butler of Phoenix, Arizona.
Regardless of your parenting style or the type of kiddo your youngster is, some good parenting advice you didn’t ask for is worth its weight in gold. So before you tune out unsolicited parenting advice every average Jane throws your way, give it a chance — it may just become your parenting mantra from that point on.