Taking Childcare Opinions with a Grain of Salt
I find it interesting that we use the word “salty” as an adjective to describe someone who is upset over something small. Why? Because as a society we also say “take [that] with a grain of salt.” And that means not paying much attention to whatever the subject in question is.
As a parent, one receives countless bits of advice from family members, doctors, friends, other women in the doctor’s office, influencers, catalogues, mommy groups, etc. Some of the advice is great! I learned some very valuable pieces of information about babies and toddlers from many people I know. An older woman from a church group I am in gave me some of the best advice about night feedings I ever received. I was thankful.
…And then some advice is not so great. Some advice is silly. Some advice hurts. Sometimes, advice may even be aggressive and attacks one’s parenting skills or ability.
I recently had this happen to me. I won’t go into detail here because it is a private matter, but I received some advice (and comments about my child) that were not only unfounded, but rude. Guess what? I was salty. I stewed for a while. I was so angry that someone would have the audacity to criticize my parenting in such a hurtful way. I felt my anger rising and felt myself becoming enraged.
I wrote about this topic briefly in my blog post, The Truth About Postpartum Depression, and will reiterate it here: Moms face criticism all the time. Most of the time it is unfair, uncalled for, and hurtful. In between laundry, feedings, bath time, playing “Baby Shark” for the 36th time, making doctor appointments, making dinner, packing lunches, etc… Sometimes we keep our hair in a messy bun all day. Sometimes we did not have the time to fold the fourth laundry load before bedtime. Sometimes we let our children have an extra hour of screen time in a day so that we can finish the to-do list. We are trying our best.
But then I thought about why I was upset, and realized that this individual’s advice was to be taken with a grain of salt.
Here’s the thing: we all parent how we want to, or how we can. One can read all the parenting books and articles that they want, and at the end of the day the final decisions are up to the mommy and daddy of the child — not the grandparents, mommy’s friends, daddy’s coworkers, the other women in the pediatrician’s office, etc.
Take advice with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own experiences and difficulties that they deal with, but those may not be your difficulties or experiences. You’ll find a way that works for you, your children, and your family.
And while we are on the topic of advice, curb your own advice! Unless a mom or dad specifically asks for your two cents, don’t give it. Indirectly, your challenging their authority as a parent and no one ever wants to be on the receiving end of that.
Take everything with a grain of salt in order to avoid being salty.