It all started when I found out I was pregnant. People started coming out of the woodwork, stopping me in the grocery store, well-meaning family calling me on the phone, all to give me advice on how to take care of my baby, both before and after birth. And I’m not going to lie; it was a bit overwhelming. I’m a planner by nature so I was already stocking up on all the information I could get my hands on and often times, those well-meaning people and strangers had conflicting advice to give. One of my favorite stranger advice was this though: “The best advice I can give you is to not listen to anyone’s advice and just do what feels right and works for your family” and I have found that that was truly the best advice any mama could have given me.
Here’s my list of the 5 most annoying things I have encountered from other moms since becoming a mom myself:
1) Know-It-All Mamas
You know the type: Moms who think they know everything to know about parenting because they have been a parent longer or to more children or are older or read more or, well, you get the drift. Whether it’s a mom in your playgroup, your mother-in-law, your own mother, or maybe your kid’s teacher, when they think that they know more than you about parenting your children because X, Y, or Z worked for their child/children, it’s ANNOYING. I’m the first to admit that like Julie said in her parenting post here, I have no clue what I’m doing and I probably never will and I WILL make mistakes. I try and learn from those mistakes, doing the best I can and making decisions that are in the best interest of my children. Sharing things you learned from your mistakes is great and important, but remember to share when asked. Offering unsolicited advice as gospel or global truth is annoying and increases the likelihood your advice will be disregarded. Many moms I know welcome advice when they are searching for a solution to a specific issue they are dealing with. It is when advice is offered unsolicited or is constantly thrown at them, that problems and possibly resentments develop. If possible when giving advice, make sure to emphasize that that is what worked for you and that there are likely other methods that would work as well and maybe better. Recognize that their children and circumstances are not identical to yours and don’t get frustrated if your advice isn’t taken.
2) Mommy Club Elitists
Rachel touched on this a bit in her post here, and I think I’ll just expand on it a bit. When moms start to think that they are better than other moms because they breastfed, they formula fed, they cloth diaper, they follow Attachment Parenting, they are anti-Attachment Parenting, they circumcised, they chose not to circumcise, etc and they start expressing these opinions outwardly, it’s ANNOYING. My good friend, fellow mom, and high school science teacher, Christie Westenkirchner told me that sometimes it seems like “moms feel like they have to get people on “their team” and I think a lot if that stems from the fact that it reinforces their own parenting decision. If you are making the best choice for you and your family don’t look to others to validate you. The only validation you need is a happy baby.” She also wondered “Where are they giving out trophies for particular parenting choices? The way some moms talk you would think you must win a prize or something for some parenting choices”. Seriously, all any mom can ever do is try to make the best choices for her family at any given point in her life and cloth diapering with pockets over wool fitteds or vice versa doesn’t mean I love my child any less.
3) Woe-is-me Moms
Sometimes moms can start to think they have/had it harder than anybody else and that emotion can bleed in to conversations with them and guess what? It’s ANNOYING. To moms who’ve had it hard, I’m sorry, I truly am. Everyone has bad days and need to vent sometimes. We don’t need to have a pissing contest over who’s had it tougher; we just need support and a helping hand once in a while. A very wise momma once told me that someone else’s trial and tribulations doesn’t negate your own. Basically just because an awesome mama parented through cancer, deployments, miscarriages, etc… doesn’t make you any less awesome for parenting through whatever difficulties life has placed in YOUR path. Every mom has a story; don’t assume you know it.
4) “It’s Okay” Moms
So this is one I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of myself, but when moms, like in Liz’s series (read about it here and here) about parenting her daughter, try to smooth over an issue and interfere with family rules or discipline by saying “Oh, it’s okay” when it really isn’t, it’s counterproductive and can be annoying. Give room for parents to correct their children’s behavior and don’t say “It’s okay” when it isn’t really your place to say.
5) The Judgy Mom
This is the mom that no matter what you do, always has to criticize, from “You are feeding him too much/too little”, “You are spoiling him by holding him too much/going to him every time he cries” to “He/She should be doing X, Y, and Z by now” and “Oh, my kid was never allowed to do that”. Behavior like this is frustrating and…Wait for it…ANNOYING! Every child is different and achieves milestones at different points, and if there is a delay there, do you really want to be the person rubbing it in? Data and information on parenting choices like vaccinating, circumcision, co-sleeping, etc… are constantly changing and often even the “experts” can’t agree on the “right” or “wrong” way. Gone are the days (for the most part) where pediatricians gave strict guidelines regarding feeding ounces and schedules or telling moms to let their infants cry unnecessarily to “toughen them up”. AAP guidelines alone, change almost daily so what might have been recommended only a year ago might have changed and regardless, a mom has to parent as she sees fit.
So that’s my list. What annoying mom traits have you encountered and how did you deal? Are you maybe guilty of being an annoying mom? Share with us in the comments!