Are You Looking For Advice or Encouragement? (How to Know What You Need.)

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Are you the kind of mom that appreciates parenting advice from others?

Or, does that stuff annoy you every time?

Maybe it depends on the situation, the question, the messenger.

Every mom I know feels vulnerable and questions themselves at least once in a while.  (There’s nothing quite like motherhood to make even the most confident, competent woman question herself.)


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With time, of course, we learn a whole new level of confidence, not sweating the small stuff or comparing ourselves to how others are doing it. But it doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

So, I think, whether the advice we get is welcomed or unsolicited, what do we do with that info?  How does it make us feel? And what do we do with those feelings? Do we react? Or do we self-reflect and respond in a way that feels right?

That’s what I’m talking about in this week’s video.  


Continue on for the video, transcript and my 3 tips for determining what you need and how to respond.


This video previously aired as a Facebook Live. You can follow Happy With Baby on Facebook to catch all their live videos here.




Hey there.

So I was supposed to be recording this video last week and I ended up with some crazy virus. Apparently my kids are in school for like not even two full weeks and I ended up getting sick. According to the doctor, she thought it was something that they probably brought home, so I really appreciated that, but definitely feeling on the mend now and actually have energy and got back to my morning walk this morning, so that feels good.

But anyways, for those that don't know me, I'm Catherine O'Brien at Happy With Baby and today we're going to talk about advice. And sometimes it comes in the form of unsolicited advice. I don't know if you've received that, but if you're a parent, I'm gonna bet on the fact that you have. Because we get unsolicited advice from lots of people from, you know, our family members, from elders, from strangers in the grocery store, or even on the street.

I once was--my husband and I were once stopped on the street and were given advice, so that's always lovely.

And, you know, it does not feel helpful all the time, right. And sometimes it can feel really annoying and condescending, passive-aggressive, frustrating, you fill in whatever feeling you have when you get unsolicited advice, because I know there are many.

But sometimes, we generally want to know things, right. We want to know that we're doing the right things for our children, like people want sleep advice, they want feeding advice, they want, you know, you name it. I know we want it because we want to make sure that we're not doing the wrong thing, right.

So when we're in those moments of doubt or overwhelm, what is it that we really need? Because let's be honest, I know that motherhood--parenthood--definitely brings out all sorts of vulnerability.

No one wants to be doing things wrong and causing harm. And I know we've read stories of the things that we do now for our children affect them in the long term, right, and we don't want them to end up with mommy or daddy issues, right. And this kind of vulnerability I'm talking about--it's not always rational, but when we're a new parent and a new parent, we can definitely feel it.

We want to be confident and oftentimes we come from doing things that we're really confident and competent in doing, but being a parent makes us feel, often makes us feel less than our competent selves.

So I had a mom--this is a good friend of mine. She told me I could use this story. She told me that when she's feeling uncertain or unsure of something, she will post a question in a mom's Facebook group. And so, if you've ever been in Mom's Facebook group, you've probably seen the vast array of questions people will post. And she said what happens for her is that she finds when she starts getting advice, that she has a rebuttal for everything. So I think that then begs the question, like what is it that she's really looking for?

When we're swimming in self-doubt, what is it that we really need? Do we really want advice? Or do we want encouragement and reinforcement that we're doing the right stuff?

And then how do we know that? How do we, you know, question ourselves? How can we determine what kind of support it is that we need, right? So I have a couple of tips to help you figure that out.

Pause & Breathe.

So the first one is when you--say you do ask for advice. Just pause and take a deep breath when you get advice. Even if you don't get--even if you don't ask the question, pause and take a deep breath.

And this will go well for in a lot of aspects of your life, not just in parenting, but--and I promise you, you definitely aren't going to regret taking a moment to take a deep breath and just breathe in for a second. Because you don't need to react right now.

We don't have to respond to all the advice we get. We can just take a deep breath and pause. It's a good number one tip, right.

Self-Reflect & Be Curious.

And the second tip is self-reflect and be curious. Like what are you feeling or what's what's this advice triggering in you? And ask yourself a couple questions.

So for example, if someone offers you unsolicited advice and you find yourself feeling irritated by it, ask yourself what is irritating about it right now?

Is this suggestion just totally philosophically against the things that you and your partner want to do and raise your family?

Is it inappropriate, or totally ineffective, or you know, you've tried it and you're tired of people telling you the same thing that you've already tried to do?

Or is it the messenger? Is this person that's telling you it, no matter--even if it was great advice, you just couldn't hear it from this person because of maybe the way they say it, maybe your history with them, whatever it is, you just can't hear it right now?

Or is it that you really don't need advice at all? You just want that validation.


Maybe you need someone to give you a hug or high-five or whatever, but just let you know that you've got this, you're doing fine, like these are concerns and issues that all parents have and not to worry about it.

But if you did ask for advice, maybe from a relative or a good friend or even on social media, you can apply these same techniques, right. One of the things especially like I'll see on social media is people come back at each other all the time, and again, it's all in text so you have to read--people read tone into things that aren't always necessarily there. So I think it's always like to take a pause and breathe, and then ask yourself, what are you feeling? Does this response feel helpful or not? And if yes, great. And if not, just get curious of why it's not helpful and what is frustrating about it.

And maybe you didn't really, actually need advice. Or did you just need someone to witness that you're struggling and kind of be with you in that moment and let you know that everything's gonna be okay? Because I think that a lot of times, that's what we really need.

Remember That There Is Not One Right Way to Parent.

So the last tip I'd like to leave you with regardless of whether you really need advice or regardless of whether any of the advice is actually helpful to you or not is, let all those different suggestions remind you that there's a lot of ways to do things. There's not one right way to be a parent. There's many right ways. And with each child you have and each situation, there's many different ways to do things. And so remember that, okay.

So your baby is so lucky. Your child is so lucky to have you making all those tough decisions and you're doing the absolute best that you can for them every single day. And so I want you to remember that.

So I would love to know what you do when you're doubting yourself as a parent. When you have questions, do you ask for advice? What is it that you need? When you ask, do you really need encouragement or do you really want them to give you advice? And then, who is it that you typically turn to when you are doubting yourself? Who do you ask for support? I'm curious.

But anyways, until next time, I hope you have a great day and take care of yourself.



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