6 Types Of People Who Give Unsolicited Parenting Advice (Ranked In Order of Annoyance) - (4 minute read)

Unsolicited advice is one of my biggest pet peeves. Oh great, you have the number of a good housecleaner and you're texting that to me as you stand in my "filthy" living room. Did I ask? No! I enjoy basking in my family's dead skin cells. So mind your own damn business.   

We all get little tips from people now and then but it wasn't until I became a mom that it became ridiculous. Everyone's got an opinion on how to parent because everyone's either a parent or has a parent.

Breastfeed or bottle? Disposable or cloth? Co-sleep or crib? 
"Oh you look so tired! Being a mom is tiring huh? You should stop working because money grows on trees!" 
"There was this news article that talked about kids and screen time and how it's basically turned these kids into demons. Here's a picture!"

Just STFU.

Here is my list of the types of people who like to give unsolicited advice, ranked in order of annoyance.

Ground Zero:

These are the only 2 people who can actually give me unsolicited advice and I'm mostly neutral about it.

My Husband

We give each other unsolicited advice all the freaking time. We annoy each other. But at the end of the day, we are a team and we respect each other opinions in the matter because we have an equal share in contributing to how this little human develops.

Neither mine or his opinion is "better"; it's discussion, not a debate. If you haven't read how I stopped resenting my husband after our daughter was born, this will give you more context.

My Doctor/Someone Teaching My Kid

OK, so they're not exactly giving me unsolicited advice since I'm seeking it. Maybe that doesn't count.

Level 1 Annoyance: Strangers

I remember when my daughter was around 4 months old, I went grocery shopping with her. She started crying in the meat aisle.

This random lady comes up to me, put her hand on my shoulder and tells me, "She's hungry. It's always because they're hungry. You should go home and feed her. You're breastfeeding right?"

Or maybe she's crying because she senses a stranger coming up to her mom about to give unsolicited advice? 

This gives me only Level 1 Annoyance because at least I can give them a scowl and GTFO.

Level 2 Annoyance: Close Family Members Who Have Kids

Your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your mother in law, your father in law, your sister-in-law, your brother-in-law...basically anyone close to you who have kids.

For instance, my parents have been nagging me about cutting my daughter's hair since she was a day old. I'll cut it when I damn well feel like it. I'll roll my eyes until I can propel my head back to the Stone Age. 

These people give me Level 2 Annoyance because although I can't avoid them, at least I expect it. And expecting it helps me manage how I deal with it, becoming more desensitized and developing that IDGAF attitude.

Level 3 Annoyance: A Non-Family Person Who Has Grown Kids

Maybe a co-worker (like freaking Linda from HR)? 

Your friend's mom? 

That older person who volunteers at the library/daycare/some community program because they've recently become an empty nester and have all this time on their hands.

It's like because "they've gone through it all," they want to smack you in the face with their "lessons learned" and provide their unsolicited opinion about how easy/difficult it is now for my generation.
"My daughter never threw a tantrum like that at her age. Parents nowadays don't know how to discipline their kids.
"You Millenials have it so easy now. Back in my day, there wasn't such a thing as Maternity Leave, disposable diapers blah blah blah."
"You guys are going to have a tough time. I can't imagine being able to afford anything in this economy. Plus the Internet is going to rot your child's brain."
These people give me Level 3 Annoyance because I'll give them credit for having raised grown children (and didn't kill them in the process). 

But at the same time, they need to stop comparing how they did it with how we're doing this. I mean, do they really remember how it was? I don't even remember what I ate for dinner last night.

Share your stories but don't assume you know how it is for parents nowadays.

Level 4 Annoyance: A Fellow Parent (with a kid around the same age as yours) Who You Have To See Regularly

Maybe you guys go to the same park or maybe you always see each other at the library/pool/whatever? 

You see each other regularly and both your kids are developing at the same time. 
"You should start potty training now. I heard so and so started late and then the sun collided with the moon and the world ended!" 
This gives me Level 5 Annoyance because when they offer advice that I did not ask for, it's like they're secretly comparing their kid to mine. And you know how I feel about people who like to compare.  

Level 5 Annoyance: New Parents 

New parents...the overly eager, super "informed" noobs who have a small bundle of flesh they call a child. 

Yes, you have a newborn and yes, you have read Dr. Child Expert Of The Month's latest and greatest book. 

Good for you! Don't tell me what I coulda, shoulda, woulda done. 

Feel free to ask me what I did but don't underestimate my power of having never slept for over 2 years.

Level 6 Annoyance: Someone Who Does Not Have Kids

What's my biggest pet peeve is? Those who give unsolicited advice but do not follow it and/or do not have any experience on the matter. 

You know like a smoker giving you unsolicited advice to quit as they light another up. Right, because I'm going to listen to you. 

Last Thoughts

Despite all this annoyance that I have towards these people, I do recognize that unsolicited advice usually comes from a place of good intentions. They mean no harm. 

They may be judging me but as long as I have the confidence in myself to be a good mother, I shouldn't let their judgments reflect how I view myself.  

It is up to me to manage my reaction to these unsolicited advice givers. I can't control who says what to me but I can remind myself that I am doing the best I can as a parent. 

Ultimately, these words will roll off me like the crumbs that get stuck on my pajama pants after getting up from sitting on my living room floor. (No, I still don't want the number of your house cleaner)

So Readers, how would you rank your unsolicited advice givers? What's the most annoying piece of advice you've ever heard?

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