As a parent, I get unsolicited advice all the time. My favorite advice comes from those who don’t even have children. They are usually very smug, and all-knowing about all things related to children.
Here are a few of the best-of-the-best pieces of advice non-parents dish up, and what I WISH I could say to them in response.
5 Great Pieces Of Advice My Childless Friends Have Given Me
1. Just tell them to mind you. I mean, I tell my dog what to do and he does it right away. Listen genius. A dog is not a child. As much as your dog IS your child, and I get that, your dog is never going to be a child. Your dog poops when you let him outside and tell him to go? Good for you! You tell your dog to eat his dog food, and he does? He minds. Congratulations! Your dog is still not a child. I’ll trade you: My children for your dog, one day. Trust me, just one is all you will need. Dogs are easy. Children, not so easy.
2. Your kids should be asleep by 7pm every night. Really? Well, thank you for your wisdom. I’ll keep that in mind as we are doing homework, doing chores, eating dinner, taking baths, getting ready for tomorrow, and trying to wind down from today. It’s always so peaceful and quiet here. You’re right, the kids should be asleep at 7pm. Thank you for your all-knowing wisdom. I’ll make sure your name is mentioned in the nominations for parent of the year. What is that? You’re not a parent? Oh, damnit! I forgot that for a minute. Your advice was genius. I must dislike my kids, since I didn’t think they needed the sleep. I’ll try to be more responsible in the future.
3. Your kids shouldn’t be allowed to watch more than 30 minutes of television a day. Well, oh brilliant one, do YOU want to watch them in the interim. Sometimes Mommy needs a break. Do I use the TV as a babysitter? No. Do I sometimes put a movie on, so Mommy can have sanity break? Most definitely. I know, I’m horrible. How dare I?
4. You know, you really shouldn’t let your kids have processed, sugary treats. Only give them foods from the periphery of the store, and you should never give them fast food. I can’t. I can’t even deal with you right now. Look, sometimes crappy food is going to happen. Mommy has a life, a busy one trying to wrangle two kids and maneuver them through life without becoming assholes. There are days that I can barely make it to bedtime, let alone cook a four-star, completely organic and nutritious meal from scratch before dark. There are days when I’m going to pull out the McDonald’s card. There are *gasp* some days when I’m going to let them have cereal for dinner. Yes, they get their fruits and vegetables, but crappy days are going to happen. Thank you for your concern.
5. You shouldn’t vaccinate your kids. You are just poisoning them. You are a brilliant dumbass. You’re right. I’ve done absolutely no research on this subject. I’m just going to fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, and make the decision at the last second. I’m going to flip a coin: Heads vaccinate, Tails don’t vaccinate. I want to play Russian Roulette with my children and deadly diseases like whooping cough and the measles. I haven’t already, painstakingly agonized over this difficult decision. I haven’t outweighed the benefits versus the risks. Whew! Thank god I have you to tell me what I should do with my child’s health.
Your dog is looking a little hungry. Why don’t you take him to his dog food, and tell him to eat it. I’m sure he’ll mind. In the meantime, I’ll sit over here with my two feral children, and just keep messing up all your theories on good parenting.
YES, THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO SAY. Instead, I smile. I thank them for their advice, and let them go on thinking they know all things parenting. I don’t have to worry. In a few years, odds are, they will be eating their words when they have their own children.