Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

A Few Words on Advice

on July 19, 2013

I’ve finally figured out the deal with advice, and I figured I’d fill you in on the secret… you know, as a little free advice from me to you.

Here’s the deal.

  1. When people give advice, they’re not really giving YOU advice, they’re giving themselves advice.  When they tell you that the only way to get a baby to sleep is by putting the kid in a sling facing left while bopping right, they’re really telling themselves how to get their kid to sleep.  When they tell you the best time to study is in the morning before breakfast, they’re talking about when the best time for them to study is.  They are NOT taking into consideration that you’re not a morning person, or that your baby is allergic to bopping.
  2. Be wary of the people who give the most advice.  They’re usually the worst at what they’re advising about.  That teacher who knows how to control kids’ behavior?  Her class operates an underground drug cartel during 5th period.  That mom who has the best secrets for toddler tantrums?  Her 17 year old is still throwing fits because he can’t get another juice box.
  3. The best way to seek advice is the internet.  That way you can see ALL KINDS of advice (from carrying your baby around by the scruff of his neck to bathing cats in saltwater and vinegar), choose the ones that sound best to you, and avoid the irritating looks that come with in-person advice.
  4. Good advice is usually in the form of solicited advice.  In general, you should just throw out advice that you haven’t asked for.  When your baby is crying and someone says, “Oh, it’s reflux!” act like you didn’t hear them.  However, if you say, “My baby cries every time I set him down in the crib but has no problem in the car seat.  What do you think the problem is?” listen to the person who says, “Have you tried putting the mattress on an incline?  It sounds like reflux.”
  5. When you ask for advice, don’t half-heartedly try it and then complain it doesn’t work.  A few years ago a teacher asked me for advice on a problem he was having.  I observed the problem and immediately saw a way to fix it.  He took ¼ of my advice for about 2 minutes and then went around complaining, “I even tried what she said, and it didn’t work.”  Uh, no, you didn’t try what I said.
  6. Just because someone once asked you for advice doesn’t mean they were asking for the 5-year discount plan.  If I asked you which brand of potato chips to buy in 1995, it doesn’t mean I’m interested in your current thoughts on why I should switch out my Tampax Pearls for OB applicator-free ones (do they still make those?!).

And one final word of advice –

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
Oscar Wilde

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