Nothing in this world can ever replace the feeling of excitement, bliss, and pure happiness one gets from being a mother. However, especially for first-time moms, alongside this feeling of exhilaration comes an unsettling feeling once people you know personally - and sometimes even strangers – give you advice you never knew you needed.
Different women react differently to unsolicited advice. Some welcome it openly, some appreciate the thought, yet most are actually bothered by it especially if it starts to make them doubt their own parenting capabilities or if it comes in conflict with their own practice.
"For me, I don't think I should be bothered when people give me "unsolicited advice" when it comes to parenting. These people, especially our parents, are merely sharing their knowledge or experiences." - Blanche Brozas-Donceras, mom to 2-year old Mary Isabelle
"Depending on the advice and the timing, I usually appreciate them the first time they are given, but when said time and time again, and is followed up, I kind of get irritated." – Cathy Alarcon–Valiente, mom to 8-month old Jared
"I’m open to input and guidance on parenting especially from people who have the experience since I’m a first-time mom myself. It only bothers me if it is in conflict with other previous advice." – Sharon Drilon-Abarientos, 36, mom to 3-year old Sophia
According to the article “Unsolicited Advice and Stress: Different Types of Unsolicited Advice” by Elizabeth Scott, there are 3 types of motives for unsolicited advice:
1. To help. People often give advice for the simple reason that they believe they can help and make life easier for you. Some also desire to forge a friendly connection while others probably wanted to share something which actually worked for them. You can actually benefit from this type.
2. To satisfy their need to be needed. Some think that as a new mom you are helpless. There are also those who simply enjoy being the “teacher” which gives them a sense of fulfillment when others learn from them.
3. To position themselves as the “expert”. These people feel they know it all, and sometimes when they see something in you that they don’t like or agree with, they give unsolicited advice as a way to change it.
As most new moms will say, an occasional, helpful tip may be okay, but too much unwanted advice can be frustrating and may add more pressure and stress to a first time mom’s already vulnerable state.