Monday, March 29, 2010

Question of the Week: Advice

Multiples and More hosts Question of the Week and this week, it's all about advice - or assvice, as the case may be :)

I think any mom out there could write a book about all this question encompasses - unsolicited advice, advice from your parents, advice that's good, advice that's not so good, advice you would like to give, etc. Since one blog post could not do them all justice, I will try and stay focused.

This doesn't exactly fall under "worst piece of advice ever given" but for me, it's more of a pet peeve and I think a lot of you reading this will understand. I hate it when people give me advice that is basically: you need help/you can't do this on your own.

It comes in lots of different forms
. Sometimes my mom will say a I need a cleaning lady (thanks, Mom!). My sister will tell me I need to hire a babysitter. Every single person in my husband's home country will tell me taking care of 3 kids under 2 is not possible on one's on. The thing is, it's not that I don't believe in help. My MIL came for 3 weeks when the twins were 6 weeks old and Billy had to go back to work. She will come again for a week when Billy's paternity leave ends for Tater Tot. My sister and my mom both help me out regularly. We have someone to mow the lawn and shovel snow as part of our condo association. And it's not even that I don't ask for advice regarding help and such. I do. It's the unsolicited part that really gets me. Maybe there is an insecure part of me that worries about not doing a good enough job and when someone tells me I need help, it's their polite way of saying I'm failing. Or perhaps its my pride - always a possibility.

Moral of the story: if you know someone like me and they ask for advice, give it (I love asking for advice, in case you haven't noticed) but randomly telling someone like me that they need to bring in reinforcements might be a slap in the face, from their point of view.


  1. When I was pg my mom kept saying "You have NO idea how hard this is going to be. I don't know how you are going to do it. WHY did you put 2 embryos in? What were you thinking??"

    Finally one day I broke down in tears and told her her comments were NOT helping me, and isn't every new mother scared to death, twins or not?

    Now? Ahhh, revenge is sweet. NOW she tells me, after watching the twins for oh, and hour or so "Geese, I don't know HOW you do it!"


  2. I think I am guilty of this for expectant moms. But one reason I stress lining help up is that after the babies are born if no system of help is in place the new mom is likely to feel too overwhelmed to then come up with a system if they realize they do need help. I'm also a big believer in not struggling through solo just because you CAN do it yourself - why not give yourself a break when possible? If you can do it all without feeling like a martyr then power to you - it's just not the way I operate. :)

  3. I can totally understand how you feel. I pretty much have the 3 on my own and have since they were born. I did have a little help for the first week or so then the twins were back in the NICU and I needed a little help with Eva Rose and Michael when it was just Thomas in the NICU. Once they were home, I was on my own and it is totally doable. MY OB's office recommended 6 months of having 2 people in the house 24/7. Totally unrealistic for us. It's nice to have help and for someone to offer help, but to say that you need it can feel like (you said) a slap in the face.

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  5. Once again, this time with English grammar!

    Nail on the head, my dear.

    When I wrote my own response to this post, I had to be really disciplined to stay focused (to the extent that I did stay focused).

    What do you say to a book entitled: "Advice offered to mothers of twins: The good, the bad, and the really really ugly"? ;) Shall we write it!?

  6. I'm in agreement. I will ask for opinions when I need them. Unsolicited advice really rubs me the wrong way. I know it usually good intentioned, but it can still come across the wrong way.

  7. My mom is fond of telling us that she gave birth to 4 children in 5 years and she looked after us on her own. You know the human way is the more you get used to doing, the more you can do. Everything you can organise beforehand should be organised in that way to free up time for the unexpected things. You have already coped with twins so I shouldn't think adding one more to the mix is going to throw you at all. You will make a plan as all moms do. When my kids were newborn, I was fortunate to be staying with my mom at the time and she was a great help with watching the baby while I was napping or else watching the older ones while I was busy with the baby. Just that little bit of help until I got used to the new routine was a great help and enough to start me off on my own road to coping.

  8. @Mommy Esq.: My guess is that you wouldn't give truly unsolicited advice. I know I have asked you for advice on this subject before so it wouldn't really fall into my pet peeve category :)

    @Sadia: I'm not a very good writer but if you can promise me a good book deal, I'm in!

    @Momcat: My mom also had 4 kids in 5 years and she is the one who is often saying, "I don't know how you're going to do it!" But she also thinks I'm crazy for all the places I take my twins - you know, the mall, Target, grocery store. Like you said, people can simply get used to anything and adding 1 to 2 shouldn't be the hugest adjustment.


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