When you're a new parent, people constantly want to talk to you to give you their two cents about parenthood. Some of this conversation may be useful, but the rest of it is not. And however well-meaning the comments may be, some of them are just plain getting on our nerves. Unsolicited advice is almost always unneeded and unhelpful because it sounds like repeated platitudes that don't come with any actual help. Here are 10 (of the many) things we new parents hear all the time but wish people would stop telling us.
"Enjoy every moment."
Not every moment is enjoyable for a new parent (or any parent for that matter). We understand you're trying to tell us we should be happy and enjoy these moments with a baby because they won't last. But we're exhausted, and all we really want is to complain and take a nap. All you're doing is making us feel guilty we aren't enjoying every second of it.
Not only is this not true but it's also an incredibly unhelpful thing to say to a new parent. Do you mean we're going to be getting up every couple hours for the rest of our lives? Then we might as well just throw in the towel now.
"When are you going to have another one?"
Every new parent gets asked this a few times. Although some new parents may be thinking about when they are going to have another child, most of us are too overwhelmed with the child or children we have at the moment to even be thinking about more. And besides, how many children a couple has or when a couple is going to have them is nobody's business anyway.
"Are you breastfeeding?"
This issue is a hot topic around new moms and is often the first question people ask when they see moms out with babies. What we new mothers can't figure out is why it's anyone's concern. Everyone's circumstance is different, and each mom will do what works best for her baby and her family. Even if you are trying "to make conversation," the only reason you would be asking this question is if you want to respond with how you think we should be feeding our baby. So just don't.
"Are you going back to work?"
This can be a pretty touchy subject. Some moms who would like to stay home with their new baby can't, some moms have no desire to be a stay-at-home mom and some may be planning on staying home. But we are all fearing your judgment no matter what we answer. We've already weighed all the pros and cons before the baby was even born, and if we want more advice or to hear experiences on this topic, we'll ask.
New parents start getting this question when the baby is only a few weeks old. This question is more appropriate for parents of a much older child. We know you mean well, but after we've heard this question so many times, you're only going to get a snarky answer in return. ("Oh, I don't know...like a newborn!")
"He must be hungry/cold/tired."
Apparently if your baby is crying, it's an invitation for family, friends or even random strangers to tell you exactly what he needs. Parents are usually pretty aware of what their child needs, so the need here is for everyone else to stop talking and let us parents take care of our baby's needs.
"The laundry can wait."
This advice along with its sister tip, "The dishes can wait," are meant to remind us we should be enjoying our new baby instead of cleaning. And while it's true these responsibilities don't have to be done right that instant, they have to be done eventually. So unless you're offering to come do them, telling us this is absolutely useless (unless you're suggesting we stop eating and start our own nudist colony).
"It doesn't get any easier."
Well, if it's not going to get any easier, maybe we should give up now. How is this information helpful? Having a baby is stinking hard and if this is the best it's going to be, we're going to hate our lives. The truth is that some things get easier and some things get harder, so why do people keep telling new parents it will never get any better?
"Just wait until..."
In addition to telling us it doesn't get better, it seems to be the favorite pastime of more experienced parents to tell new parents about what atrocities are in their futures. "You think a newborn is hard? Just wait until he's a screaming toddler," or, "Just wait until she does...." This phrase is then followed by some sort of horror story about another child. And although we listen and sometimes laugh, we're inwardly hoping our newborn gives us time to eat something today.
We don't sleep, our house is a mess and we're exhausted. Does it look like it feels real? And all this time we thought we were living in a dream!
All of this isn't to say you can't talk to new parents. But if you say these worn out phrases, know we will roll our eyes at you (either physically or mentally). New parents are, after all, human beings who enjoy a wide variety of non-baby-related topics as well. Try talking about something else the next time you interact with new parents. It will be a breath of fresh air for them.