This weekend was our bi-monthly grocery shopping trip. While in the store I was observing other mothers and noticed a trend of “helpful” advice that other people like to give. Here are some of the “best” that I personally have experienced:
1. “If my kids acted like that, they would have been spanked.”
Thank you for that wonderful insight, if I wanted to have CPS called on me, I would have left them alone in the car outside, it’s much quicker.
2. “When my kids did that I always…”
While I appreciate advice, it is not a good idea to offer it in the middle of a meltdown. I am stressed and my kids are stressed. Try offering this to me when I have a calm child, and I don’t want to sit down and start crying with my toddler.
3. “Listen to your mother.”
I had a lady GRAB my three year old in the middle of a meltdown and yell this in her face. NEVER grab someone else’s child and try to calm them or lecture them. Being grabbed by a complete stranger is not going to help with an emotional child, it will just make them emotional AND scared. Plus, you get the added bonus of almost getting the cops called on you.
4. “Just let them get it.”
I know my child’s whining is annoying to you, but I am in the middle of teaching them to listen when mommy says “No”. You are not helping, you are making the whining go on a lot longer. I am doing you a favor by raising a child who won’t throw a fit when they are 10 when I say “no” about something (I see this a lot in stores and I want to cry for those children who were never taught any better).
5. “It gets better.”
Thank you, but that doesn’t help me today while my toddler is kicking and screaming. My goal right now is just getting out of the store without crying along with my child (which doesn’t always happen).
6. “Your children are so well behaved, how do you do it?”
Don’t be surprised if you say this to me and you get an awkward ‘deer-in-the-headlight’ look in response. I am just waiting for something to set off a meltdown and now I feel like when it happens it will be a huge letdown to everyone who says they are so good.
7. “How are you?/I haven’t seen you in forever.”
I love talking to people, but if you stop me to talk while I am trying to get in and out of a supermarket with a very active and distracted toddler, I am not going to be friendly. Just give a wave, say “Hi”, and keep moving. If you want to talk, call me later, please.
8. “I’ll never do that when I have kids/My kids will never act like that.”
I was bad about judging parents before I had kids. Now I understand that every parent has their own story. My daughter rarely acts up at home, but in public has started to be rebellious. Don’t judge people based on that tiny part of their lives that you see.
9. “They are just tired.”
I woke up at 5 am with them, made breakfast, and got them to the store before 7am so we could miss the crowd. My kids aren’t tired, they just know that I can’t put them in ‘time-out’ here. I appreciate that you are forgiving them for acting like little monsters, but there is no excuse for their behavior right now.
10. “They are little for only so long.”
Yes, they are, and I just had to use a public restroom with a three year old who was trying to have a conversation with the person in the next stall. All while balancing a one year old on my lap. I am looking forward to the day when they aren’t so little and I can go potty by myself.
Every mother is their own worst critic, but when someone says something to me about my parenting I spiral into a shame cycle.
And to any mom who has had advice like this given to you, don’t give up. You are doing a great job, your children are going to have off days too, it’s allowed. Don’t forget to be gracious towards yourself though, it’s a tough job being a mom and you are doing great!
What is some of the worst advice or “help” that you have received while shopping with your kids?