• Being a parent is hard enough.

    From the moment you announce that you are pregnant until goodness knows when, people give you their advice on how to be a good parent. Sometimes it’s your parents with the opinion, or your spouse’s, it even comes from well meaning strangers. My favorite is when it comes from people who are clearly dropping the ball on their parenting skills, or have no kids of their own. It seems everyone knows how to be a parent but you. It is frustrating, and usually the advice is useless.

    Each child is different, and each set of parents is different. You would think that would equate to people that what works for them won’t necessarily work for you. I cannot tell you how many times I have told my mother in law, “I know that when you were raising your kids that they slept on their stomach.” Or, “I understand that car seats used to be optional after age two, but my son is not sitting on your lap, even if we are just running to the store.”

    As you can imagine I have a fair amount of practice dealing with unwanted advice, so I am going to give you some of my own unsolicited advice. When appropriate, ignore it. This applies mostly to strangers, but occasionally to those we love too. Respond with things like, “My doctor says…..” People seem to hush up a bit when doctors are involved. Smile, say thanks, then ignore it. If they question you about it later, just say it didn’t work for you. Someone once told me to eat nothing but papaya for two days to combat morning sickness. Strangest thing, that didn’t work for me. I didn’t mention that it didn’t work because I didn’t try it. Try to remember that these people mean well and are trying to be helpful.

    My biggest advice is to not take anyone’s advice. Do what works for you and your family. It’s a funny thing, but being a parent is sort of natural.