The whole world is an expert at parenting. Everyone has an experience of it so you find wherever you are they will give you an opinion, most of the time an unsolicited one. I try to take advice in the spirit it’s given – as in trying to be helpful. It’s useful to find out what other people have experienced with their children – and good to get a second opinion now and then. Sometimes advice just isn’t helpful – no matter how well intentioned!
These are the things I found the least useful.
1) Leave the housework and just cuddle your baby
Ok I know you have to let your standards slip a bit when you have children. And I am constantly amazed just how much they can slip without everyone catching serious diseases. But all the advice seems to be don’t do any housework for weeks and weeks. For me that just isn’t practical. If it builds up for too long then it gets out of hand and you can never catch up.
I have a tendancy to leave the washing for days once it’s clean. It’s the ironing and putting away I never seem to get round to, mainly because I have to wait until evening to do it because hot irons and toddlers don’t mix. I leave it so long it takes a good 3 hours to get it all done. Ok I’m never going to be so organised that I do a little a night but if I didn’t leave it so long then it wouldn’t be such a huge chore.
So I would say don’t worry about the tasks you can’t achieve but try to keep on top of everything.
2) There is a right way to parent
What works for one person won’t work for everyone. Whenever someone giving me advice I just try to remember this is just what they do with their family. I try it, if I think it will work for me. This time around a lot of people I spoke to were very passionate about baby led weaning. They were adamant their children were not going to eat mush. For me a mix of finger food, family food and home made purees worked best (with a few jars when we were out and about or I hadn’t defrosted anything). I guess I’m a bit of an advocate for the middle ground.
3) Always have help
Now I do think you need to accept help wherever and whenever you can get it. However, sometimes I think you have to learn to do things on your own and this goes for both parents. If you are used to always having help to do everything and then when you do have to do it on your own you completely panic.
I wish I had practiced doing the bedtime routine on my own a few times before my husband went back to work. Then if I got really stuck he would have been there. I would have got a plan. As it was the first night I was on my own putting all three to bed was a complete disaster. They were all crying for hours and hours and so was I by the end of it.
4) Pinch a babies toes when they are crying.
5) Sleep when the baby sleeps
To be fair I did this when I had my daughter. I didn’t need any excuse to go back to bed. She always had a morning nap at around ten in the morning so I would too! It was pretty lovely actually. However this advice is totally useless if you have more than one child. If you have twins they rarely nap at the same time when they are little. If you have an older child then you need to give them some much needed one on one time. That’s not including all the million and one other things you need to be doing. It’s a lovely idea – yes, but please don’t say this to parents of more than one child. In their sleep deprived haze they’ll probably just lamp you.
What was the worst piece of advice you had? How did you react?