Dealing With Strangers’ Parenting “Advice”

Monday February 2, 2015

Other parents, how do you deal with total strangers’ unsolicited and unwanted random advice? Well, other than a swift kick to the shins?

I’m now fairly sure that I walk around with a perma-scowl on my face, because I rarely had strangers offer me advice on my pregnancy or mothering. Or, it was so silly that my response was to laugh (loudly) in the person’s face (like when an elderly woman ranted at me that I shouldn’t be eating ice cream while pregnant — I mean, come on. HYSTERICAL. Bean is two parts Ben & Jerry’s, one part hot chocolate, judging from my pregnancy diet.)

But, I watched some random guy come up to a new mom fussing over her newborn last week and say, “hey, HEY, you need to put cream on his hands, his hands are itching, just like my son.” Then, looking at me, “yeah, you tell her, she needs to put cream on the baby’s hands. My son was just like that.” And then he walked away.

What. The. Hell? I wished I had some quick retort, but my jaw was on the ground. How could he think that was remotely helpful? Diagnosing eczema? The baby wasn’t even visible.

So, people who have been through this before, how do you tell people to mind their own business? Other than cursing them out and the aforementioned shin kicks? Or is that the most appropriate response? (I think it might be.)


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