Non parents: eliminate those three words from your vocabulary. Remove. Don’t use. RED LIGHT!!!!!
Parents: this is a yellow light for you. What works for your little poo factory has probably already failed with your audience, or your audience is navigating other circumstances on top of whatever you think they should be trying. It’s a yellow light for parents because there are times when it’s ok to offer suggestions, but if you’re always the one suggesting things it might be time to hit the brakes more often.
I’ll use our situation with digestion as an example. We have been to more than a few specialists at this point trying to solve a problem that does not have a clear solution because there is a lack of formal diagnosis to work with. This results in treatments that are sometimes obvious and other times pretty intense (like having to manually extract feces from her rectum). Now, this may be obvious to you or it may not be obvious to you but having a problem with
digestion can and in our case does affect sleep. From birth her sleep has been more or less tied to her tummy. In the beginning she was too hungry to sleep, now she’s got painful gas and either diarrhea or
constipation keeping her up at night. I feel like you’re pretty caught up on the particulars at this point. You had to read this whole paragraph (and maybe even a few earlier posts) to get this point that my kid has a tummy problem
that has become a sleep problem.
So now, a common question: How is she sleeping? I am asked this daily by actually probably everyone. The barista, the trainer, my parents, friends, friends of friends and our neighbors (who can friggin hear how well we’re sleeping, let me tell you) all ask this question as like the normal follow up to “How old is he” or “What’s his name”. They always think she’s a he. I like to consider my audience whenever I am given the mic, so the answers range from a blatant lie to a version of the truth. This is because the answer is so complicated as to why she’s not sleeping that I can’t just say the answer the person wants to hear – some version of how much she sleeps through the night – without being assaulted with “Have you tried”.
For one, we probably did try it. I can assure you that if you know about it I have definitely tried or decided NOT to try it. And, for two, there is probably an underlying reason for whatever I’m telling you, that is directly tied to her discomfort. So no, on the record, for the last time, letting her cry it out is NOT an option when we have to decipher and decode her screams at night to gauge her pain and see if we need to intervene. Stop with that crying it out advice. You truly do not have any idea what you are talking about.
Now, if you’re up to speed on your friend’s particular situation and have a pretty accurate grasp of their struggles and treatments, it IS acceptable to make a suggestion. I would still recommend not using “have you tried” and instead repositioning the advice as something you sought out and researched and put thought into on their
behalf. I think this way the message is received better and not heard as “I know more about parenting than you” … which is how a lot of advice is ignored as: judgment wrapped in hero language.
Cool Mom this sounds so angry why are you so angry you Bitter Bessy!
This is advice, not a rant! I’m trying to help a Mother out here! All moms are having some struggle they’re navigating and as they navigate those situations they become experts in those subjects. Your well-intentioned comment is actually annoying. If you mean well, let her vent and just listen. As you listen, you can slide into the zone
where you’re close to the problem and can offer genuine help OR you can just do the sympathetic nod if you’re the barista in the above example. Also if you’re the barista in the example are you really trying to help or just be judgy and right? If you’re really trying to help, do something nice for the mom and keep it moving.
Cool Mom, I’m scared to talk to you and other moms in public now!
This is probably a good thing, if your name is Steve. People not named Steve: safe topics and safe zones to head towards are always COMPLIMENTS. Look at the new mom and her baby and come up with something nice to say. New moms are so overwhelmed and insecure that compliments and encouragement are needed. They’re legit needed. Make the mom feel good and you will be her favorite person.
Cool Mom, I need to reschedule our playdate today …
– Totally cool Fun Mom, it’s raining and we’re still in our pj’s