Anyone else just HATE it when they are given advice, however well meaning - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It really makes me IRATE! Now, I know that I have issues with not being heard and feeling invisible, but it's getting to the point where I am snapping off heads that try and give me advice! This is making me a bit sad, as I do not want to isolate people, but I really have had it with people telling me that what I am doing is not right and their way is better (in connection to childrearing)... sometimes subtly, sometimes not!

It's gotten to the point where if people ask me if I want advise I just say no, and if they don't ask I or email them information pointing out the error in their advice (the advice usually in the strain CIO, scheduling, basically every conceivable way to separate me and my LO and get him doing things on schedule!!! So, I know that I should not be rampaging on this issue, but I'm struggling to stop myself...

DH suggests I stop getting into debates and just say that we are happy with how things are going, even if it's tough sometimes and leave it at that! (he is a much more mellow person than I am, I really wish it did not hurt me so much!!!)

Anyway, just wondering if there are any other mama's out there with rage issues when it comes to not being understood and trusted with your choices!

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#2 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 10:17 AM
 
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I think being given advice feels so bad when it is not asked for, it is almost like breaking through a personal boundary. When I have feedback for someone , I always ask "I have a thought, would you like to hear?" I am ok if they say "I am not in a space to hear right now" Most people don't do that though and it is best to just say something like " thank you for your opinion" and then change the subject.

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#3 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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It would be nice if there was gentleness in listening to a mother vent. When I need to blow off steam, I always hear "Well you just need to control them." It sucks. (Or even the other way around if its an AP'er who says "Well you aren't loving them enough.")
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#4 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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I had a coworker bawk at the concept of co-sleeping, I didn't really care, I htought she was the one who was missing out....then a couple weeks later I was lamenting about how DS has started to push my arm away when I'm holding him, and the coworker told me that he obviously was looking for space. I felt like she was throwing things back at me, that I should have never mentioned that we cosleep.

And I went to a workplace babyshower with my then 12-month-old who doesn't walk yet. I was holding him most of the time, and weeks later was getting comments like "Chhhhyuuuuh, your like him pretty close, that's obvious!" : What was my other option, putting him on the floor so everyone could step all over him??? Some people!

So yeah, I'm like you, I don't welcome unsolicited advice or comments on the relationship between me and DS.
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#5 of 17 Old 07-20-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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I think that as your LO's gets older it becomes easier to defend you decisions or your actions. When it was just me, dh and our eldest, I would get huge amounts of unsolicited advice from others about co-sleeping, or exclusively breast feeding for a whole year, or whatever, and I would feel so defensive and be completely irked when I didn't have a snappy comeback. But now we've been doing all these things for years and looking back on those times, even though I knew I was doing the right things for my lo's, I wasn't all that confident just yet. Especially when the older mother hens would try to push their parenting styles on me. It's hard to be polite when someone is second guessing your parenting decisions. My MIL still offers her opinion every time we are together longer than 15 minutes. She feels that if she does a favor for my dc's than she is completely entitled to give me advice, not offer it, but give it to me. So I guess my best advice for you would be take a deep breath, smile, offer statistics if you know them and then thank them kindly for their advice!

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#6 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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I'm with you. I have plenty of relatives who constantly yap at me: "DS needs shoes. He needs his shoes off. He's tired. He's cold. Don't use that cup, give him the other one. He's hungry. He doesn't want that, he wants this." And on and on.

If he's cranky and I'm tired, I can't let them know or I hear: "You shouldn't be up so late working on ____. He's a GOOD boy, Mama. Mama's tired, she needs a nap." They always make it clear that if he's cranky it's because I am a bad mother... and if I make a comment about him smashing a vase or something, they also make it clear that he is THE PERFECT BABY and I should thank my lucky stars for EVERY BLESSED SECOND. In other words, I'm not allowed to feel any stress, exhaustion, etc.

FWIW, I adore my child and I think he's a gift from angels. I just hate that these relatives think I feel otherwise... and want to make me see the error of my ways...

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#7 of 17 Old 07-26-2008, 03:53 AM
 
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I do hate what you describe...but it's not actually getting advice. It's being disrespected. I learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut when it came to relatives and others who don't share my parenting perspective (like, since we co-sleep, I just can't ever complain to a CIO-type about sleep issues!)

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#8 of 17 Old 07-26-2008, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally agree on the disrespect thing... I am slowly establishing boundaries with all the family around us and friends are also learning that their advice and comments about how manipualtive my son is and how he needs to learn to be indepedent are falling on deaf and angry ears!
I am also telling people that if I am having a rough day and we are talking about it, I am not asking for advice on how to control my son, I am asking for the space to say that I am having a tough time - no solutions needed

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#9 of 17 Old 07-26-2008, 07:07 AM
 
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Someone wise once told me that your life is like a theater and you can choose who gets to come inside the building and where they get seated in it. Sometimes a good measure to take with certain people is to keep them out of your private life as much as possible.

If they see certain things that aren't avoidable (BFing per example), then limit the time you and your family spend around that person—especially alone time. This gets difficult sometimes with parents and ILs, and it works best went your partner is on board with it, too, but it still can happen when handled with a lot of thought.

It also helps a lot to find ways to distract an opinionated person into changing the subject. This takes a lot of concentration, and you have to think of subjects that the other person likes or is flattered by ahead of time. But when used regularly, the power of diffusing or changing a conversation can do wonders.

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#10 of 17 Old 07-28-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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That's one of my pet peeves. I had a "friend" who when I would show her something (a pair of capris for DD, for example) she would be like "Oh. You shouldn't have gotten *that* size, they won't fit right." Funny, when the time came for DD to wear the capris, they fit *perfectly*. Or when I said I try to make as many of our meals from scratch/organic when we can, she's like "Oh, you should buy canned food, it's so much cheaper and easier. I just buy canned meat with gravy, and boxed mashed potatoes, and that's what they get when I feel nice." Um, canned meat and gravy? I've never heard of that, but to me it sounds kind of like dog food. :Puke (Granted, there might actually be such a thing, but it still doesn't sound appetizing and it isn't something I would feed my family unless we *had* to.) Just stuff like that ALL THE TIME. We no longer keep in contact, but that's not the reason why.

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#11 of 17 Old 07-28-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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Yeah, I hate getting unsolicited advice too. There is a mama at my mother's group who will often give advice - firstly on sleep training, then on weaning, then on toilet training. I know she only means well, and is trying to be helpful and share what she found worked for her, I think I'm the bitch for not being grateful.

But, I think I feel annoyed because by giving me the advice, she thinks that I have a problem that I can't find the solution to under my own steam. For example - HER ds was using the potty reliably after implementing these helpful strategies, so she photocopied them for me and kept persisting in giving them to me. (And it's this pushiness that bugs me mostly.) I just told her that we weren't in that space, so perhaps someone else would like them. When we ARE in that space, I feel capable of dealing with it myself or ASKING for advice.

Same with weaning - I have NEVER complained about wanting to wean to her (and others), but I'm still given advice about how others went about (mother-led) weaning ON THE ASSUMPTION that I am only continuing to bf because silly me can't figure out how to stop.:

That's the point really - I have made a lot of ACTIVE CHOICES that are well-informed. It annoys me that folks assume that I'm just doing what I do because I don't know any different.
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#12 of 17 Old 07-28-2008, 09:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mlec View Post
I do hate what you describe...but it's not actually getting advice. It's being disrespected. I learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut when it came to relatives and others who don't share my parenting perspective (like, since we co-sleep, I just can't ever complain to a CIO-type about sleep issues!)

I sometimes wonder if it has something to do with the age of the children. Having a baby brings with it a wicked learning curve (my first has special needs--as if things weren't hard enough to figure out) and maybe those giving the advice are giving it in the spirit of "hey, I was a new mom once, too, it's hard isn't it? This is what I learned"--but of course it isn't said as politely because in general (I think) people are poor communicators.
But I do have to agree that I really did not appreciate the advice because it made me feel incompetent.

To the OP, I really do like your dh's suggestion as to how to handle it--it's polite (regardless of how rude the person is to you) and that way you don't feel bad about treating others the way that you wish them not to treat you. Clear conscience.
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#13 of 17 Old 07-28-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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Hello dear,

I haven't posted here in over a year so I'm just jumping in here and hoping to have something to offer.
It sounds like you are pretty charged up when it comes to not being seen and heard. And it also sounds like you know what is going on with that. When I began making alternative decisions about my family, such as having a homebirth, not circumcising, co-sleeping, not vaccinating, et al-my spouse and I too, had to hear it from our families and others who needed to be heard. I felt really strongly about these ..."values" and was ready to defend them-in fact, I was pretty defensive. But over time, I realized, with the help of some moms that weren't doing the same things as I, that we all have ideas about what is best for our child. Our intuition counts for so much. For those of you with more than one child, you probably know that some kids in the same family have different needs- so we try to read them as accurately as we can and allow the mistakes that come with being a parent.
It is too bad that you don't have more support from those around you, that does come in handy. And it feels so good to be trusted. You do have this message board, though, full of perfect strangers willing to hear you and allow you to vent your frustrations-and also, I want to just throw this out there-You have nothing to defend.

I'm sure, like all of us if you are here in this forum, you are trying to do a great job raising balanced, wonderful tots. I'd like to send you a wee wave of "I see ya, sister".

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#14 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 08:37 AM
 
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The best way to avoid having to hear advice from people is to not share much about your life with them. I rarely share any private information about my life or my lifestyle with anyone other than really close friends or family members. I don't like getting advice either. But if you are putting your life out there for others to hear then sometimes they will offer advice.

The biggest area for us is homeschooling. It's not like we can hide the fact that we homeschool so everyone seems to think they can comment about it however they would like. It gets on my nerves but I'm learning to let most of what I hear go in one ear and out the other ear.

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#15 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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The biggest area for us is homeschooling. It's not like we can hide the fact that we homeschool so everyone seems to think they can comment about it however they would like.
OMG, I just posted on another message board asking if anyone else was a homeschooler or, better yet, an unschooler like me - the first response was some lady saying she doesn't think homeschooling is "right" (um, whatever right is I guess!). She said how school 'socializes' children, etc. I was so mad b/c I wasn't asking what anyone *thought* of homeschooling, I was inquiring after like-minded mamas who might be present and like to compare notes, stories, etc.

And to the OP, I think most new mommies have been in your shoes - some of us just remember what that felt like to be treated as an incompetent boob and the rest... well, they either forget what it was like or honestly think somehow they are helping. I actually go through this with my own DH - if I complain about being sore from a night of DS nursing all night and me laying at weird angles, he'll REMIND me that I'm the one who has chosen child-led weaning. Um, I wasn't questioning my decision to co-sleep and long-term nurse! When DH comes home from work and complains of sore feet and scratched up hands/arms, I never, ever say, "Well, remember, you're the one who chose not to go to college and that's why you have a crappy job as a mechanic instead of working behind a desk." Hmmm... maybe I *should*... lol Nah, cause then I'd be as bad as him (and all those like him).

I guess people are people and people often suck. All we can do is try our best not to be a sucky person ourselves and hope our children learn from us. Sorry to hear you're struggling with that, but I definitely understand!!

Wife to one amazing man, unschooly mama to 2 boys daily (8/99 and 6/06), mom to 4 boys (6/94 and 2/00) and countless exchange students, praying to someday homebirth a daughter...
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#16 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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And I went to a workplace babyshower with my then 12-month-old who doesn't walk yet. I was holding him most of the time, and weeks later was getting comments like "Chhhhyuuuuh, your like him pretty close, that's obvious!" :
Umm, were they a bunch of Vancome Ladies?
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#17 of 17 Old 07-30-2008, 09:30 PM
 
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