List 10 things you wish you could say to strangers who share unsolicited advice about your parenting skills.
1) No, my son is not cold because he's not wearing a hat/sweater/socks. If you saw the heat rash he had in the first few months of his life when he was constantly bundled up, then you'd be taking him out dressed like this, too.
2) Yes, he is fully capable of eating the food in the sizes I cut for him. I have fed him three meals a day for nearly an entire year and I am pretty confident in my ability to nourish him appropriately.
3) I appreciate that you waited the perfect amount of time between having your kids, but no, I do not know when I plan to give my son a sibling. I would also need a crystal ball to tell you the exact number of kids we are going to have.
4) Sometimes my son wears shoes, sometimes he doesn't. I know you think it's better for him to learn to walk with/without shoes. I'm not worried that he will remain sitting for the rest of his life based on my choice of footwear for him.
5) My son does not like soothers. I can put it in his mouth and he can prove it to you by spitting it across the room if you'd like. I can tell by the look on your face that you think I should plug his noisy mouth because we're in public, but it's just not going to happen.
6) If you're asking about my son's milestones because you're genuinely interested or want to swap mommy stories, I am happy to share. If you are only inquiring because you want to compare your kid to mine in a purely competitive fashion, it's none of your beeswax.
7) We will teach our son to sleep in a way that is comfortable for our family. We aren't going to let him cry his little heart out for an excrutiating amount of time because eventually he'll fall asleep from sheer exhaustion. We will tend to him and love him in a way that feels good for us and in the best way we know how, while also helping him to learn and maintain positive sleep habits.
8) I understand that you think it would be "easier" to just give my son formula now that I'm back to work, but I am choosing to continue to breastfeed. Not only is it a healthy choice for him since he is only nine months old, but I also cherish the time we spend together while he nurses.
9) If I'm standing right there, please do not put food in my baby's mouth without asking me first. It's nice of you to share, but preservatives/high-fructose corn syrup/sodium-enriched goodies are not on his menu for the time being.
10) Thanks for pointing out that because Jacob is such a good baby, our next one is probably going to be a holy terror. If you want a positive answer to the question you asked in #3, you probably shouldn't preface it with this warning.
Thanks to Mama Kat for the writer's workshop prompt.