A lot of the mothers I know complain about being approached by strangers who can’t resist offering unsolicited advice. Somehow, this person thinks he or she knows better than the child’s mom as to whether or not the little one needs a nap, a bottle, a diaper change, a jacket, or maybe even a timeout. These people may mean well, but it can be seen as intrusive and rude to call someone’s parenting skills into question.
Since this a popular topic, I wanted to share this humorous essay from McSweeney’s, “Hello Stranger On The Street, Could You Please Tell Me How To Take Care Of My Baby?” Here’s one of writer Wendy Molyneux’s best passages:
“Yes, he IS crying, isn’t he? You are right. He’s probably hungry. Should I feed him? And if so, where do I put the food? His eyeball? His butt? What kinds of cuts of meat do babies like? Should I not give him hot peppers? How much salt is too much, and when can I expect him to use a knife? If he spits up, should I have him put to sleep? There are just so many things I need to know, and that is why I rely on total strangers like you who happen to be experts on child care.”
This is obvious satire, but Molyneux has a point. Take a beat before you pester someone with your unsolicited advice and have faith that Mom and Dad know best.