When you're having a baby, the whole world is excited about it. Friends, family, work colleagues, the bus driver, the lady in the pharmacy, the person selling you a dozen eggs. This does not abate once you have had your baby. The world loves a pregnant lady, but they love a new mum and her darling baby even more. Unfortunately, with this excitement comes advice. Advice you haven't asked for; advice you don't want; advice that leaves you staring in shock at your baby as your recently-filled Confidence Tank drains: you're suddenly anxious that you're doing everything wrong, and your child's certain future of petty crime and soft drug addiction flashes before your eyes. Don't get me wrong: all of this advice comes from a place of genuine caring and concern. Even the stuff from the bus driver. But you are already navigating a minefield of new information and experiences as a first-time mum, and people offering unsolicited advice really doesn't help. So if you are feeling like a particularly cranky mamma bear one day, here are a few rebuttals to the little nuggets on offer:
- Have you had children? And are they perfect? Hmm. Thought so.
- Is that advice you're giving, or are you just telling me what I'm doing wrong without offering me a practical solution?
- If you earned your medical or nursing degree at a real university, and not Ma Kettle's School of Hokum and Old Wives Tales, by all means, tell me how to feed my child.
- Just remember that I spend 24 hours a day with this person, 7 days a week: I don't run around like a headless chook all day yelling, "Oh my God, what do I do? What do I DO?"
- If "all you have to do is (insert sanity-saving tip here!!!)", then why do so many mums have trouble getting their kids to sleep, and why don't you have a best selling book and a national lecture tour?
- You know what I need more than advice? I need a clean bathroom. It's that way. The Ajax is under the sink.
- I tell you what, why don't you spend 24 hours in my house and put your magical solutions in place and we'll see who's still standing at the end of it.
- White with one. And a piece of cake would be great, thanks.
- If I need advice, I'll ask for it. Until then, tell me how beautiful my son is, and what a fantastic mother I am. I may even make you a cuppa.
And now for some unsolicited advice of my own (yes, I do enjoy living in my glass house, thank you very much): no-one knows your baby like you do. Listen to your gut, and when you don't know what to do, go to someone you trust and ask for help. No-one says that when you get up and dust yourself off, you can't be given a helping hand up.