Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Post: The Best Advice I was Ever Given

This guest post is brought to you by Shari from The Knit Wit

As soon as I started showing that I was pregnant with my oldest son, I started getting all kinds of advice.  Some was funny, some was useful, some was just out-of-date, and some was just plain rude or not useful (like telling me I should've had a girl when I mentioned I was pregnant with a boy).

On the way to my shower, which was a 1 hr drive, with my friend, I was going on about how people kept giving me advice.  Everyone from family, to strangers in Walmart. My friend hadn't given me any advice up until that point.  She says to me, can I give you a piece of advice?  I look at her with a glare, and said "Have you been listening at all???? Ok go ahead".

She told me this is the advice a friend had given to her, and it really helped.  Here is the nugget:

Whenever someone gets you unsolicited advice, look at them, let them talk, smile, and nod politely.  When they are finished talking, turn around, walk away, and then go about your business like you normally would.

The idea is, some advice is good, some is not.  People are going to give it whether you want it or not.  I have had 3 boys since then, and I have my own ideas of how I want to raise my boys.

I always told myself and others that I would never let my boys sleep with me, and planned on it. I had others telling me, never, ever let them sleep with you.  Ever.  Or they will be 10 still sleeping with you.  Then I had others tell me, let them sleep with you, they must or they won't be properly developed, and our kids are 10 and 12, and still crawl in our bed at night.  I would smile and nod, and they all went away thinking they had convinced me of their way of thinking.  Well I had my oldest, and that kid didn't sleep.  After about 2 weeks, of not sleeping, I laid down with him on my chest for 1 minute, and I woke up 6 hours later!  That kid hadn't slept more than 2 hours at a time at that point, trust me that kid slept with us until about 6 months when it stopped working for us. 

Over the years that piece of advice is the only one that has worked in all circumstances.  LOL The thing is, some people forget that every child is different.  What has worked 100% on my oldest didn't work at all, or only partially on the other 2.   So when you are mentioning a particular situation, they tell you "Do this, it will work".  Well maybe yes, and maybe no. 

I have learned over the years to take the advice (if it is not just flat out bad, or impossible), and file it away.  Do what I think I should, and if that fails then pull up a tip I heard/read somewhere else. 

I have also learned when giving advice (people ask me a lot since I have 3 boys: 5, 3, and 1 and that somehow seems to make me an expert in their minds, however I don't feel like I am at all!!), just to say here is what I tried, maybe it will work.  Sometimes the look on their face falls, and they say, oh I tried that and it didn't work, and I say ok, well here are some other tips that worked with the others.  That usually helps make them feel better.  I don't think as a Mom we can be a 1 trick pony, but we also don't have to accept everyone else's advice either.

When we got to my baby shower, I used that advice over and over, and it really worked for me.  That's when I realized it's real beauty.  I went up to her, and said "Thanks so much!!! That advice is gold!!!"  I have shared with everyone over the years, and everyone always laughs and says that is the best advice I ever heard.  Even ladies who are more confrontational, have realized, sometimes it isn't worth arguing with the crazy lady at the Walmart who is sure you are crippling your child forever because they slept hunched over in their car seat for a few minutes. 

So try this advice, and see if it works for you, if not just smile, nod, and disregard, I'm ok with that!

If you would like to read more from Shari you can find her on her Blog, Facebook Page, or Twitter.


Shairbearg said...

Than you so much for allowing me to share this advice with your audience!

Gingermommy said...

That is great advise. I think new and old parents know their kids best and should just trust their gut.

Jena said...

I was told this, too, though I didn't get advice from strangers, really. I also didn't get horror birth stories or random people wanting to touch my belly (although, really, I didn't start to obviously show till I was about 8 months).

I got lots of advice about having a kid with a Christmas birthday, though, after she was born Chrismtas morning. I waited and then smiled sweetly and said, "I think we've got this covered. My birthday's December 23. I know all about how to do Christmastime birthdays. We are going to have so much fun."

Multi-Testing Mommy said...

Great advice girl! SO many people give unsolicited advice - but sometimes that advice just happens to come in good use :)

Maple Leaf Mommy said...

I love this post Sheri!! Truly, the best piece of advice I've ever heard.

When I used to attend La Leche Legaue meeting the leader had a spiel about how not everything we would discuss would work for every body, but to keep an open mind, put everything into your "mental grocery cart", and then go home and sort out and use the pieces that work for you and your family.

There is something about having children, from pregnancy forward, that brings out all sorts of unsolicited advice from folks. I'm a private person, so I find total strangers giving me a piece of their mind really uncomfortable. But you are totally right, sometimes it's good advice, and sometimes it's not the right fit for you, shelf it and move on.

Diddlepoyner said...

my mom says this too

Rachel said...

I agree! And even when people ask me for advice (I'm on baby #3), I tell them and then say "but EVERBODY'S different. You need to do whatever works best for your family. Only YOU can decide what that is." :)

jonna brinkley said...

Got love advice you don't want or already know. I am tired of hearing "They grow up so fast." Hello, this is my third child I know they grow fast!

Bodynsoil said...

Fantastic post on all accounts from getting advice to raising each child like the individual they are. People want to share their experiences and try to help, even when their advice isn't so helpful. Every now and again you will get a good one, one that you might not remember until it is 3am the the baby has been up for the umpteenth time and suddenly that little piece of advice will come to you, you will try it, if it works great, if not, try another.
Sharing ideas and giving advice is how we passed information for years, stories of our past are how the next generation can learn about their future.

The Spring Mount 6 Pack said...

I had tons of advice givent o me too, with each pregnancy. And although no one ever gave me that advice, it was my attitude towards it. Just smile, nod and go about my life.

Though I don't think I ever heard I should have had a girl, when I was pregnant with my boys. That is a new one.

Jan said...

This is so smart. I remember a family member (who had no children) giving me advice about raising my son. When she had her own child she found out her advice didn't work. I think what works for one person, may not work for the next. Great post. Thanks!

Mom vs. the boys said...

good point girl, take everything with a grain of salt, but give the person a chance! said...

This is really good advice. I wish my kids would catch on to this.

Nikki said...

Thanks for sharing this story. It can be so intimidating as a mom-to-be and advice can quickly go from helpful to overwhelming. I received some advice similar to this, but even that great advice took a while for me to process :) ngiraldi at gmail dot com

S said...

I had to remember that with the baby books too. I was making myself crazy reading the "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts"! -Sharon M