To the Strangers Who Tell Me How to Parent My Child

“How far along are you?”

The woman in line next to me was asking, glancing from my heels to my laptop to the stomach rounding beneath my business casual.

“Eight months.” I smiled.

Another woman turned around. “Girl, you’re about to pop! Don’t you have that baby on this plane!”  But the first woman looked more concerned than amused.

“You don’t look big enough to be eight months pregnant.”

And so it began. Before my daughter was even born strangers counseled me on pregnancy, birth, and child rearing, no two pieces of advice the same. To some I was too big. To others I was too small. I was nuts for choosing a natural birth and selfish when I stopped breastfeeding. I was cruel for sleep training my six-week-old, then envied when she slept through the night. The deluge of input hasn’t stopped since the day I announced my pregnancy.

I’m supposed to be offended. I’m supposed to write an open letter with some “empowering” verbiage, telling people to mind their own {expletive} business. Because that’s what moms do these days – tell people to buzz off, get a life, and quit telling other people how to live theirs.

phylicia 2

“Don’t tell ME how to parent my child!”

They rage with Facebook fury. To offer unsolicited advice is – I’ve learned – the unforgivable sin.

But please, tell me how to parent my child. You see, I’ve never done it before.

I’ve read the books, and I’ll keep reading them. I know what I hope to be for my daughter and every day I do my best to get there. But I don’t have it figured out. I’m a first-timer, a newbie – and I’m learning. So when a seasoned mom comes up to me in the grocery store and tells me, “You should feed her beets! My babies loved beets.” I smile and thank her, because she’s been where I am – and I can learn.

Millennial moms are cheating themselves.  We think because we have access to Google, BabyCenter, and a pediatrician we’ve got it all figured out. We read every review for Bumbo and Boppy but can’t handle advice from a stranger. We can’t filter truth from fiction, can’t listen without taking offense, and can’t have a gracious conversation with someone who might just want to feel needed for a change. 

Phylicia Masonheimer
Phylicia Masonheimer
Phylicia Masonheimer is the founder of Every Woman a Theologian, a ministry teaching Christians how to know what they believe and live gospel truth with grace. Formerly addicted to erotica, she also writes about sexuality and finding freedom from the shame of sexual addiction. She is an author, blogger, and host of the chart-topping podcast Verity with Phylicia Masonheimer. She lives in northern Michigan with her husband and three children.

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