Worst Advice Ever

We've talked about the best advice we've gotten on combining work and family. Let's talk about the worst advice: the ridiculous, the intentionally alarmist, the completely impractical.

For me, some of the worst advice has been: to never wear a wedding ring to a job interview, to not have kids if I were truly ambitious, to never breastfeed in public if I wanted people to take me seriously as a professional woman, to never bring my kids to the office, and to plan my pregnancies around my career plans. Fortunately, all this was drowned out by the many moms and dads I met through work who told me that having kids was the best thing they'd ever done in life, and that I should follow my heart.

The worst advice I give is when working moms who are pregnant with their third ask if going from two kids to three is a big change. I always smile sweetly and say, "What difference will one more child make?" Because they can't even imagine how much harder -- and truly, more chaotically wonderful -- life gets each time you add one more child to the juggling act.

What advice have you heard and ignored?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 2, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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First!

Posted by: First Comment | February 2, 2007 7:21 AM

By and large, I think I've gotten much more good advice re: parenting than bad advice. I don't always agree with everything everybody advises, but it is always given in such a well-meaning manner that it would be hard to label it as bad.

The only really "bad" advice I'd ever been given seemed to be coupled with a form of competition - for example, "your 3 month old isn't sleeping through the night yet? Mine started weeks ago. Perhaps you should try letting him cry it out."

Posted by: londonmom | February 2, 2007 7:25 AM

Worst Advice: If you threaten your child, you must follow through.

Best Advice: Never threaten your child.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 7:44 AM

In one of Bill Cosby's humor bits, he talks about what makes real parents. He says:

You are not a real parent until you have 3 kids. If you have one or two kids, you can play man to man, if you have 3 kids, you have to go to the zone (defense)!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 7:48 AM

The worst advice I ever got was from my in laws, who while I was pregnant, told me not my husband, over and over again that children need normal names. My MIL even came to my shower with a card that read a name she liked. Needless to say, I told them that I will name my kid whatever I wanted to. My mom even told her at the shower that I didn't like the name she picked out because two of my cousins already had that name.

Lovely advice, brings back good memories.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 7:52 AM

scarry - funny story. Did your MIL think you were going to name your child "Jermajesty" or "Pilot Inspektor" or something?

I actually wanted a somewhat unique name so my DS wouldn't just be one of thousands (actually, millions with my last name).

Posted by: londonmom | February 2, 2007 8:05 AM

I think she was afraid I was going to name her some Irish name that no one could say. But I named my daughter a name that was easy and she still said it wrong!

Her kids are named, Tom, Steve, and David. Nice names, but very common, I wanted something a little more unique like you did.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 8:15 AM

Worst advice I ever got was that breastfeeding is easy. For me, it wasn't and the fact that it was so hard made my life a misery for a while. It was worth it for me, though, to keep going, but it definitely brought me to an understanding of why people quit. Before I gave birth, I felt kind of secretly superior to moms who bottlefed. Well, that got knocked out of me but good.

Best two pieces of advice: Read, read, read to your child. And be consistent.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 8:16 AM

Right now I can't think of any really bad advise, or maybe I am conveniently forgetting, but I have gotten a lot of mediocre/silly advice. My SIL and my doctor insisted you only had to bathe a baby every couple days - which grossed me out. I bathed both babies every day and it did not dry their skin out. My daughter hates dresses and my mother told me to make her wear one so that she would get used to it - I ignored her and she still hates dresses, but who cares?

I do remember my other SIL telling me to use Dr. Brazelton's method for potty training. I read the book and thought the idea of letting your child decide when to go on the potty was stupid and threw the book away. By the way, my nephew was not potty trained till he was about 5, my kids were 2 and 3. I think Brazelton is a nut.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 8:17 AM

Cmac, we agree all kids are different right? Brazelton calms parents down by making the kid own the problem. It worked for me and mine. They potty trained themselves before 2. Honest. Boys.

Worst and best advice: hide your pregnancy. Worst because it made me feel like it was my 'fault' or something. My colleagues were all men. I was the first woman. Best because, like it or not, it was true. Hiding it until they returned from their summer breaks meant they couldn't do anything but support me. Those were the days....not.

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 8:28 AM

Missicat, I never answered you question yesterday. Ironically, I worked from home the rest of the day, was a lot more productive, and never checked the blog!

I live in Apex, NC. You may have also seen us on the news when the chemical plant exploded.

In terms of advice, I got some yesterday. I don't know if it's good or bad because we don't have kids and don't plan on it. A father of 5 told me to stick to 2 kids because then you can afford to do the stuff you want to do for them (lessons, trips). He also said to try to steer them away from swimming and baseball because you have to get up at 3 AM on weekends to make it to swim practice and because some baseball games could last 6 hours and eat up your entire day. Seems like sound advice.

Posted by: Meesh | February 2, 2007 8:38 AM

swimming doesn't require waking up at 3am...6:30 am tops. I hate that part.

Tennis, however, requires waking up at 5am to drive a couple hours to a tournament beginning at 8am. But that is my choice to save on hotel bills.

The things we parents do for our kids.

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 8:43 AM

dotted - Yes, all children are different. You were lucky your kids got potty trained so early because Brazelton would have you wait till they are 6 if they don't give you a "sign." Most kids are ready to be potty-trained somewhere after 18 months, but there is no guidance according to Brazelton - the child is your guide. And "owning" peeing and pooping is silly - it is a body function, kids don't have to own it or disown it - it just is.

I am not a fan of parenting books - so there are few I would agree with anyways.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 8:47 AM

Opinions are like a-holes. Everybody has one.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 8:48 AM

hey cmac,
I just used the word 'own' to say it was the kid who has to want to use the bathroom. The parent wanting them to use the bathroom isn't good enough. 'own' refers to the decision, not the poop/pee itself. sometimes it is the advice to parents to just calm down that helps the most. You seem pretty calm so of course that advice seems silly to you!

quite a game for nc lawyer and kb last night. UVA in OT over duke.

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 8:53 AM

Worst Advice:
"Let the baby cry", i.e.if you constantly respond to the crying, you encourage the behavior.

IMHO if you dont respond or acknowledge the childs attempt to communicate you only push them to go to DEFCON 6. Ignoring the advice above, especially when the kids were infants, young toddlers has really worked for us. Acknolwledge the call at a minumum. Let the kid know they are heard, maybe not pick up - maybe do. Every kid is different after all.

I love the fact that youngest daughter will answer "yeah?!" of "Whaaat?!" from wherever she is in the house when you call her name. I give credit to ignoring the let them cry advice for teaching my kids to respond to our calls.

Posted by: Fo3 | February 2, 2007 8:56 AM

Best advice: acknowledge all the books out there but realize you'll make the best decision for your child AND sleep when the baby sleeps.
Worst advice: from MIL... put the newborn baby down as much as possible, they need to learn to be by themselves. Bull, you can't hold a newborn baby too much. And you never get that part back.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | February 2, 2007 8:56 AM

Good advice stroller mama. I also heard "don't rock the baby to sleep."

I rocked my girl to sleep everynight until she was one, she loved it and it gave me a chance to spend time with her.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 9:00 AM

Scarry: My old boss decided that they were NOT going to share the names they picked for their daughters with anyone before the birth. (They did share the gender). He felt that was the one small thing about the pregnancy that could be a couple thing. I know you are thinking of another one...

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 2, 2007 9:06 AM

Hey, that is what middle names are for! To pacify mom, dad, mil, sil and whomever else.

But then again, Madison Edith doesn't sound too good. :)

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 9:09 AM

I got so tired of the "let her cry" advice... routine, routine, routine for bedtime was the best advice I ever received - from someone else who thought letting them cry was cruel (at least cruel to the mom :)...)

now my daughter points to her crib when the credits of her lullaby video roll (started that at 15 months)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:10 AM

Good idea working mother. I should have thought of that the first time.

Fred my daughter has two middle names for that reason. My BIL said she sounds like a princess or something.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 9:14 AM

I have to agree that the worst advice was to "let them cry it out".

I have a pretty high spirited child and most of the "traditional" advice just doesn't seem to work. Time outs,crying it out etc. She just started sleeping well about 4-5 months ago (she's 3 now) but we still have nap problems and have since she was 2.

So I have to agree to let kids "own" decisions on some things, like potty training. my daughter has showed all of the "signs" since she was 2- except the fact that she flat out refused to go on the potty. I had to let her do it in her own time with gentle encouragement or it would have turned into WWIII. She is now potty trained, but still a little scared to do #2 (she has a wild imagination/fantasy life and some fears attached to that)

The best advice- all kids are different and you have to do what works for your child and family. I started to feel awful about my job as a parent because none of the advice ever worked that worked for all the other kids!

Once i stepped back and starting giving her choices and decisions to make, our lives got much easier.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 2, 2007 9:14 AM

dotted: To each their own, I think Brazelton is a disaster for kids that are strong willed and easy for kids that are easy going. But whose method doesn't work for the easy going child? Some kids need to be told what to do and when, not relied on to make a decision. I've seen the results of letting a kid "own" decisions their whole life - and when they get to be teenagers they think they make all the decisions. At this point guiding a kid is very difficult (particularly a strong-willed child) because you have conditioned them to be the decision maker.

Beating a dead horse though.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 9:16 AM

:) about the 2 middle names.

I always though that people having two middle names were to balance out those who had no middle name. Most famous one that I can think of is Harry S. Truman. You know, a yin and yang thing for the world!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 9:18 AM

So funny that some people's best advice may be others' worst. Case in point: I loved the advice to let my kids cry. Someone told me, "Crying is good for their lungs...if they are crying, they're breathing!" This advice allowed me to take a shower, finish washing the dishes, drive safely with a screaming child in the backseat, read one more paragraph of a book...all the things my friends' who couldn't bear to let their kids cry couldn't do.

Bottom line is that some of this stuff makes no difference at all. You just do what seems right for you and your family.

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 9:22 AM

"At this point guiding a kid is very difficult (particularly a strong-willed child) because you have conditioned them to be the decision maker."

cmac- I really have to disagree with that. I just posted above about my daughter and what works for us as far as letting her make choices and decisions. THere is quite a difference in letting them do what they want, when they want it and letting them pick the color shirt, vegetable, using the potty at 3 instead of 2, etc..
If I told my 3 yr old what to do and when to do it- it would be a disaster. And if you tell a teenager what to do and when to do it- it's almost guaranteed that they will do the opposite. People need to feel some sort of control over their lives- including adults. My very strong willed little girl is independent and a lot of fun- she just needs to have some say in HER life. i don't think that's so bad. I would honestly be worried if she didn't test the boundaries because that's a healthy part of growing up.
Again, I think every child is different, but I am not raising a monster because I let her have some control over her life. When it comes to health and safety- that's my call, but what's the harm in letting her decide when she goes to the potty or what veggie or lunch she eats that day? I certianly wouldn't want someone making those decisions for me.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 2, 2007 9:28 AM

So funny that some people's best advice may be others' worst. Case in point: I loved the advice to let my kids cry. Someone told me, "Crying is good for their lungs...if they are crying, they're breathing!" This advice allowed me to take a shower, finish washing the dishes, drive safely with a screaming child in the backseat, read one more paragraph of a book...all the things my friends' who couldn't bear to let their kids cry couldn't do.

Bottom line is that some of this stuff makes no difference at all. You just do what seems right for you and your family.


Leslie- are you kidding??? If they're crying they're breathing??? What century is this?

We better not let those cats in the crib- might take their breath!!!!

Geez

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:31 AM

Meesh,

That is some POOR advice on the baseball thing.

First, no kids' game is going to last more than 3 hours until they are at least 13 years old (when they start playing 9 inning games). In fact, most 6-7 inning Little League games are at most 2 hours.

Second, I would hesitate to "steer" my kids away from anything because it inconvenienced me. Hockey inconvenienced the hell out of my parents, but they put up with it because I loved it, I learned from it, and it kept me off the street.

Third, of all the sports I played, baseball had by far the most impact in terms of learning life lessons (teamwork, leadership, patience) and actually as an upper middle class white kid in private school was the one opportunity I really had to bond with boys from other backgrounds - invaluable. There are few other sports as democratic as baseball.

Anyway, that's some biased counter-advice from a former college bb player and current Little League coach. Let 'em play, Meesh...

Posted by: Let them play! | February 2, 2007 9:33 AM

Worst: Supplementing with formula ruins breastfeeding. Um, not for me! Letting DH give the midnight bottle lets me sleep 10PM-6AM and is the reason I haven't given it up!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | February 2, 2007 9:34 AM

Worse advice my ex husband received and accepted... "Oh come one out for entire weekends and play civil war re-enactor. weekend after weekend.. It is ok your wife is home with two small children after working full time all week. Other wives handle it just fine..."

Posted by: C.W | February 2, 2007 9:35 AM

CW- I see why it's your EX husband :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:36 AM

Worst advice I've gotten is that you have to have more than one kid, that an only will be "weird" or unhappy. Not! I ignored that, thank goodness.

Posted by: Olney | February 2, 2007 9:39 AM

Oh, i just love the guilt trips we get when we say we're sticking with an only child! Maybe they'll offer free childcare, college educations, a bigger place to live, and more food on our table if they're so interested in our reproductive lives!! ;)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 9:43 AM

to PTJobFTMom: I couldn't agree with you more. The best advice I ever received was to give my baby a bottle with formula by around 2-3 weeks old so that he'd get used to the taste. I have friends who didn't do this and then tried to get the baby to drink from a bottle at 3-4 months. Didn't happen. My DS was able to interchange bottle and breast and never had a problem. And daddy was able to help feed, so that was good for him as well...

Posted by: londonmom | February 2, 2007 9:44 AM

Best advice: power through the hard, hard, hard first few weeks of breastfeeding, because once it gets easy (and it does, I promise), it stays easy for as long as you continue, and is by far the fastest and cheapest way to feed and calm your baby.

Worst advice: my OB/GYN actually told me that my husband, whom she had never met, would not do a good enough job as a stay-at-home parent. Men, she claimed, just don't have that special loving, patient touch. Poppycock. He did a fantastic job and he was so supportive of my f/t job and the hard time I had with nursing and pumping. (Now we've switched and I'm staying at home part-time with our second.)

Posted by: DC | February 2, 2007 9:46 AM

Best advice I ever got: breastfeed. Good for the baby, good for you.

Worst advice I ever got: don't let the baby cry. It took me 12 months with my first when, sleep deprived to the point of nausea, I read Dr. Ferber's book and sleep trained my son. I read all the other warm and fuzzy "get them to sleep without crying" and I tried so, so hard to make it work, but until I followed Ferber's method, I was SOL. Within 3 days, my son was going to sleep and sleeping through the night. A Godsend. I was a different person after a good 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

Posted by: Righto | February 2, 2007 9:47 AM

The only time someone used this statement was after our infant son got his first shots. The doctor admitted he HATES to give kids shots because no other time do you actively hurt the kids.

He also said that by giving the shots and not having the nurse do it, it keeps him honest.

My pediatrician is great.

Posted by: breathing not crying | February 2, 2007 9:48 AM

2nd Worst Advice: The Elementary Years

"Dont interfere with our new method of teaching math." Unfortunatley we took the advice of the eductaion professionals.

"New Math" is a negligent shallow application of concepts that doesnt teach students to calculate quickly. Now we have the kids in Kumon to supplement this "Math Investigations" BS.

BE involved in your kids education, dont DO their homework but check it, teach it go over it with them after they have done it, since the teachers usually wont/dont have time. The idea that you should let shoddy homework go back to school so "the teacher can see where your child needs help" is another horrible idea.

Posted by: Fo3 | February 2, 2007 9:53 AM

"Again, I think every child is different, but I am not raising a monster because I let her have some control over her life. When it comes to health and safety- that's my call, but what's the harm in letting her decide when she goes to the potty or what veggie or lunch she eats that day? I certianly wouldn't want someone making those decisions for me."

There's no harm - and much good - in allowing children to make some decisions. The key, though, is that the parent is "letting" them do it - and making the decision to deligate choice conciously and deliberately.

Micro-managing a teenager is counterproductive, and creates resentment. More importantly, it doesn't give them the opportunity to learn how to make decisions - and live with the consequences of bad decisions.

For kids to learn, you can't save them from the results of boneheaded choices. That should guide you as you decide what decisions to allow them to make. If the consequence of the wrong choice is something you can't let them live with, then don't give them the choice. Of course, choice in the little things that don't really matter - red shirt/blue shirt, pizza/hamburger, Barney/Blue's Clues - is a simple gift we can give to even our youngest children.


If, on the other hand, children do not understand that their parents are in fact setting the boundaries, and that the boundaries are very real, then you have a real problem. That's what creates the out-of-control monsters. We do this to our children when we simply don't want to deal with the stress of saying "no" and making it stick - or when we don't have confidence in our own authority. Teenagers will challenge you. If you haven't already established in them genuine respect for your authority, and for it being used wisely, fairly, and in their best interests, then you have no hope of controlling them for their own good.

Posted by: Older Dad | February 2, 2007 9:54 AM

I'm in the "terrible teens" stage.. The "terrible twos" were incredibly physically exhausting, but nothing compared to the emotional exhaustion of teens.

My advise I give to parents is to make sure the kids know that you are the parent (the figure of authority and guidance in their lives) and they are the child (respect and obey this figure of authority). Set your behavior rules and enforce them. What gets us in trouble is these cute little kids.. sometimes we let them get away with too much.. and then when they are a teen and really need the rules then all heck breaks lose. Get control early and retain it as they are teens - giving them their rope to grow and mature as teens appropriately without having to worry they don't have their core value of respect for the parent and their rules.

As far as the advise related to "threats". I don't think it was intended as a true "threat", but instead if you tell your kid You will lose TV for a week if you don't do homework.. then if they don't do homework.. make sure they lose TV for the week. My Ex dinged me on my bad parenting with "idle" threats.. well, where the heck was he? But it is right - you have to follow thru with what you say the punishment will be. That is why it is wise to think ahead to possible punishment and not blurt out something random in "the heat of the moment".

Posted by: C.W. | February 2, 2007 9:55 AM

This isn't necessarily bad advice... When I went back to work after my first child, other more experienced working mothers said that it was hard but never would get easier. I was dumbfounded. I thought for sure it would get a little easier once we had a routine down, got used to being back at work. After having had my second, while I would love to be with my kids a lot more than I am now, it is easier than it was those first couple of months. I think their pearls of wisdom made me a lot more anxious than I needed to be at that time!

Posted by: gdc | February 2, 2007 9:58 AM

Advice from Fredia, if you are having BF difficulties, no matter how small it may seem, contact a BF consultant or a La Leche League Leader. You may think that everything should be natural and spring from instinct but this is not true.

Second and more important piece of advice, prepare yourself for the feeding and caring of your child. Go the hospital's childbirth classes, parenting classes, or speak to a L & D nurse, take some action to prepare.

Of the many individuals Fredia has helped, the ones who do the best in the first few months are the ones who have prepared in some way. You may think that this is very obvious but Fredia has seen too many patients whose first contact with any health care professional is on the day of birth! We know a couple who in their 3 month and still has not seen a OB/GYN.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:01 AM

Worst advice was from the family doctor we had when my first was an infant, he said start giving mixing cows milk in the formula really early - I forget now, definitely under 4 mos. I breast fed her for the first couple of months and tapered off after that and he wanted to get her on 2% cows milk right away as well as adding solids really early. Gave her diarrhea. He was an old guy, we moved soon after and got a decent pediatrician - although with my son I thought she overtreated his "ear infections" (that I never saw any evidence of), had him on amoxycillin for like 6 - 8 months.

Best advice, I don't know, probably I would say the overall message I got from Benajamin Spock's book, which I took to kind of be, trust yourself. Such as, in disciplining your child, if you force yourself to allow such and such just because some book said so, but you really don't go along with it, eventually you will end up blowing up at the kid and make things worse. I think the people who tagged him as so permissive had it wrong and probably didn't really read him, remember he wrote his book back when people thought you fed on a strict schedule etc. I thought it had a lot of common sense advice, in tone as much as specifics.

But a lot of my parenting of my kids was hands-on learning, really, I think all kids are different and what works for one won't with another. For example if my daughter woke in the night, I could rock her and comfort her and she would go back to sleep. But for my son, holding him seemed to just stimulate him and wake him up, I found that the best thing was to pick him up briefly, then put him back in bed and lay down in the bed next to his crib where he could see me, then he would calm down and get back to sleep. And they were totally different as far as potty training went, too. Anyway I think I learned mostly from people's general principles more than specific "tricks", and worked it out my own way, that worked best for me.

Posted by: Catherine | February 2, 2007 10:04 AM

I came into the game late (I have a 4-year-old stepdaughter, no biological kids), and the worst advice I got was, "don't get involved in discipline at all." Yeah, I understand I shouldn't make unilateral big decisions (in future years, groundings should be up to Dad, and Mom at her house) and I shouldn't spank (not that I'd spank a biological child either, but that goes doubly for steps). But if I'd followed that "no discipline ever" edict to the letter, I'd have less authority than her teenage baby-sitter. I'm occasionally home alone with my SD...what am I supposed to do if, say, she throws a toy at me because she doesn't want to get dressed? Wait until her dad gets home to "tattle" then have him correct her behavior? That sounds like a good way to let her know she can walk all over me, at least in the immediate. Her dad has "deputized" me to enforce the rules around here, which in this case would involve confiscating the toy she threw and sending her into a time-out until she calms down and gets dressed. Yes, if there was some major infraction involving a betrayal of trust (which, as she's 4, will likely be some time off), her dad (and mom) would handle it, but for the little, day-to-day stuff...

Posted by: Tara | February 2, 2007 10:04 AM

I second the poor advice I received about breastfeeding being easy. It was frustrating and PAINFUL for three months. I should have gone to a lactitian (is that the right word Fred?) for advice earlier. My son just wouldn't open his mouth wide enough for a good latch.

Other bad advice-- going back to work will be so difficult so be prepared. It wasn't. I was fine-- no tears. On-site daycare probably had a lot to do with it.

Posted by: Cal Girl | February 2, 2007 10:06 AM

We had a horrible time convincing our 3rd child to use the toilet. His opinion was that he had been there/done that & wasn't going to go again. Didn't care about accidents, wet pants, smells, etc. Would hold it for days. Worst advice: thousands of well-meaning suggestions along the line of "have you tried rewarding him"
Best advice: Making him own the process - "You are the boss of the poop" and understand the punishment "I am the boss of the television & you can't watch television unless you show me that you are the boss of the poop".

Posted by: DataDiva | February 2, 2007 10:06 AM

My MIL gave me "Raising Boys" by James Dobson. It was well intentioned and I fully realize that no one is born knowing how to parent. I did read the book and tried to be open and honest and not let my personal prejudices about Dobson color why impressions of his ideas. But when he wrote that by 9 months, little boys are deciding their gender identity, I had to stop. I was not going to actively engage in exposing my infant son to examples of "manliness" just to make sure he wouldn't be gay. What I want for my son is to learn how to be a kind, loving, respectful and responsible person. He can learn that from me AND his dad. I consider myself lucky that our son has such fine examples in his father and grandfathers.

Also, potty training advice. I didn't push it and my MIL didn't think it was good for my son to take three years to become potty trained. Turns out she changed her mind when my SIL took the same tactic I did (wait for the kid, he knows when he is ready). She called me and said she now realized that although her own children were trained by 18mos, is was she who, as a stay at home mom, was trained to get the kids to the toilet on time for their regularly scheduled BMs.

Posted by: LM in WI | February 2, 2007 10:06 AM

Worst advice: hire someone to be the mom (nanny) to your kid because the job is more important than they are. The kids will remember that, and they should.

Posted by: 321 | February 2, 2007 10:11 AM

Hmm...bad advice. People are fonts of it.
The worst was not to plan your pregnancies at all. Just to jump in with your eyes closed and start popping 'em out as soon as possible. Because, as they said, if you plan them you won't get pregnant. I planned mine and I'm glad I did. We were kind of settled in and everything is finally going like we wanted. Less stress at an already stressful time.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 10:11 AM

"My son just wouldn't open his mouth wide enough for a good latch."

Cal Girl, Fredia is busy doing her monthly reports so we can go on our anniversary trip. So I am yelling to her in the next room! She says that it great that you tried and hoped you were able to resolve this problem. She says that there are techniques to solve this problem, she has seen this problem before--not uncommon!

Her state job title is Lactation Specialist, the hospital calls her a Lactation Consultant. I am not even going to tell you what I call her!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:14 AM

I just have to say that I am so glad Fred is on the blog. Really, you give such good advice from you and Fredia.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 10:15 AM

Hey! James Dobson is posting as 321 (at 10:11 am)! Maybe we can get more free advice while he's on here.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:19 AM

How many of us had moms at home while we were little? Say from birth through age 4 or 5?

Posted by: TAKE THIS POLL | February 2, 2007 10:24 AM

The worst advice I heard & ignored was not to make up my mind about whether to return to work until after the baby was born. "You may fall in love with it." (I think that meant I should stay home.) Guess what? I DID fall in love with him, returned to work happily after a brief maternity leave, and now, seventeen years later, have a great kid who is independent, reliable, bright--and close to his mom and dad! It hasn't been easy, but we have no financial worries, and he and his younger sister know that work is a part of life.

Posted by: Arlington | February 2, 2007 10:26 AM

Not me, at the time my mother was emlpoyed as an attorney in the big city.

Not really a fair poll IMHO as dual income families really werent prevalent in the 70's - I was the only kid with an employed mom that I knew.

Posted by: Fo3 | February 2, 2007 10:26 AM

Why does it matter?

Posted by: to take this poll | February 2, 2007 10:26 AM

Well, thank you Scarry. But you better be careful or you will be associated with KLB SS MD, NC Lawyer and myself and will have your fingers slapped for our little lovefest!

Besides, Fredia yelled at me, "Are you writing on that dumb blog again?" As I say, she is a luddite

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:27 AM

Worst advice I've received about parenting in general--"they'll eat when they're hungry" (regarding getting kids to try new foods) and "just wait and see" (regarding concerns about developmental delays). Guess what? Always better to get possible developmental delays checked earlier (and treated earlier) rather than later, and it's not unusual for kids with developmental delays to let themselves go hungry (to the point when they are losing weight quickly) rather than eat something unfamiliar.

Worst advice about combining working and parenting was to hire a nanny rather than take sick days to care for a sick child.

Posted by: Sarah | February 2, 2007 10:27 AM

Test...why can't I can get through to post??

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 2, 2007 10:27 AM

TAKE THIS POLL-

my mom was home with my brother and I until we both hit kindergarten- she then went back to work full time.

I stayed home with my daughter until she was 3 and in preschool.

Interesting- I was just thinking about the effect of parents working from birth on- it seems to me that it's a relatively new phenomena (past 10 yrs or so) to have both parents work full time from the get go. I'm not saying it's bad or good, but I am curious as to the development of the relationship in the formative years. I'm not bashing anyone's choices- so please don't flame me, k?

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 2, 2007 10:30 AM

haha, Fred I'll take my chances.

My mother did not work until she had to, which is why I choose to work now.

I was born in 74 in case you want to know years.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 10:30 AM

"Worst advice: hire someone to be the mom (nanny) to your kid because the job is more important than they are. The kids will remember that, and they should."

Hmmm...that little story from an obviously illiterate SAHM. Just keep the working mother criticism up and it'll just reinforce the image of the angry jealous self-rightous woman staying at home.

Posted by: To 321 | February 2, 2007 10:30 AM

Worst advice I see and hear over and over again: Breast is Best.
Gotta love the word "BEST," meaning that since I chose to formuala feed, I am not doing the BEST as a mom. C'mon.
Even in a baby basics class, one of the instructors handed out diaper bags filled with formula samples. She told us to throw away the formula, but to keep the bag since it was a good bag. Then she had us repeat after her "Breast is best." My husband and I were stunned. In retrospect, we should have just collected everyone's formula samples - would have saved us a few dollars. But we were too stunned to think that quickly.
I had solid reasons why I chose not to nurse and it pains me that I am put in a position where I even have to say that.
"Best" is making good big picture decisions for your child. Not Breast.

Posted by: Bethesda | February 2, 2007 10:31 AM

wholly support going to b-feeding consultant if you have any problems so they can be fixed early on. b-feeding was one of the hardest, but ultimately most rewarding, things I've ever done.

but the la leche league can go a bit too far and make moms feel like failures if they can't or don't b-feed. so be careful who you go to for advice in that regard.

Posted by: londonmom | February 2, 2007 10:32 AM

My mother stayed home thru my teenage years. But my aunt, who lived down the street, worked at least part time for most of her child's childhood. My SIL has always worked at least part time and frankly, it was better for her two kids.

Fredia stayed home for the first 3 but took to younger son to her LC job as a live demonstration tool!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:32 AM

SAHM: Having a say in your decisions is much different then what Brazelton preaches. Brazelton is reactive to the child, there is very little proactive parenting. If your kid is having a meltdown in the store you are supposed to calmly sit with them in your lap and sooth them until the tantrum is over. According to Brazelton the parent should wait, even if it takes 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes for the child to calm themselves down. Do you know how long kids can scream and cry? Should you wait till a child is 6 till you step in on potty-training because they decided they didn't want to go on the potty? Size 6 diapers were endorsed and marketed by Dr. Brazelton.

Kids need to make decisions and feel good about them, but the whims of the child are not decisions, sometimes parents need to correct and guide.

As for teeenagers - they will listen to some extent, but if you have allowed your child to make every decision so they "feel good" and "own" it they will make the wrong decisions. Dr. Brazelton sees no consequences from infancy on - bad behavior is rewarded - like getting attention for throwing a tantrum. Read his book with an open mind and you will see the difference.

Catherine - I agree with the Dr. Spock analysis. He was all about trusting yourself not coddling. I have seen Brazelton and Spock lumped together and it is not a good comparison. I got Spock's bible from my mother - who used it with her kids - because it taught little things with straightforward instruction. It was aimed at the novice mother. I know I read it in the middle of the night for temperatures and vomiting kids - and it was very useful.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 10:32 AM

POLL-
My mom was home with all eight of us - guess they couldn't pay anyone enough to take us all! :-) Though I, of course, was a perfect angel.

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 10:32 AM

I second Fo3's comment, "2nd Worst Advice: The Elementary Years: Don't interfere with our new method of teaching."

Unless a parent is utterly inept academically (can't be said of anyone typing at this blog), go ahead and start teaching -- especially if your child asks to be taught -- with the caveat that it's better if you can make it fun, not to mention the fact that you're also giving the child more of that vaunted "quality" parenting time.

When I was 4, I started begging, pleading, nagging, cajoling my mother to teach me to read; I felt disenfranchised (not that I knew that word yet -- LOL!) because all our other family members could read but I still couldn't. Education professionals back then were telling parents not to teach their children reading, because they had a better way than old-fashioned phonetics, and they also claimed that 4-year-olds weren't ready to learn to read yet.

Bosh! (keepin' it clean here).

My mother went ahead and started teaching me my ABCs and the rudiments of reading phonetically, because she intuited that, despite professional advice to the contrary, if I wanted so desperately to learn to read, that was the surest sign of my readiness. And she was right.

However, when I started school, she warned me never to mention to anyone that she'd been teaching me, because she didn't want to get on the teacher's bad side.

And, of course, when I proved to be the ablest, fastest-learning reader in my 1st grade class, the teacher used me as her shining example of how well the new method worked!

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 10:32 AM

TAKE THIS POLL

I was born in 1971. My mom worked full time throughout my childhood. No adverse impact that I can see :)

Posted by: TCY | February 2, 2007 10:33 AM

Worst advice in my household comes from both sets of parents regarding money:

My FIL, who after being approached by my husband for advice on how to propose, told him that no woman was worth the cost of an engagement ring and that my husband would be better off buying a treasury bond. Thankfully, my husband didn't take that advice!

My father, who when my husband and I were newlyweds and shopping for our first car told us that we should buy a BMW to better reflect our new status.

Fortunately, my husband and I have found our own balance - with a nice engagement ring and a normal, fuel-efficient sedan!


Posted by: Tessa | February 2, 2007 10:33 AM

Nicely said

Posted by: To Arlington | February 2, 2007 10:34 AM

I went to workshop to help women succeed in my profession, where we are under-represented particularly at the more senior levels. A senior woman advised me not to display my children's art in my office. I said I didn't want to pretend that I didn't have children and even if I did, it was too late-- my colleagues already knew.

Posted by: green mtns | February 2, 2007 10:35 AM

My mom was a SAHM for a very long time. Long, long time. Far longer than till I was 5.

But things aren't the same. Because of all the dual-income families, dual-income is the norm and so dual-income is needed to keep that middle-class lifestyle. Just think of how much housing is these days...it's ridiculous.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 10:35 AM

Worst advice I ever received was from one of those parenting magazines. The article was about children disrupting their parents while the parents were on the phone. The advice was to plan all calls in advance, prepare an activity for the child and to never be on the phone for more than 15 minutes.

I cannot imagine living my life this way. And I wondered about all the new moms struggling at home with an infant who were now being made to feel guily about phone calls. I really think these parenting magazines go too far too often.

Posted by: Raising one of Each | February 2, 2007 10:36 AM

I've now tried to post something four times. Can't figure out if I've got some hidden characters in it that's messing it up, or does the WaPo post mechanism scan for tings? There aren't bad words or anything. I wonder what's up? This ever happen to anyone else?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 2, 2007 10:37 AM

The above comments could have been written by me! I too have put my child in Kumon because the school's math program sucks. My child's teacher told me that it "teaches a lot of concepts" and I said but you don't teach any calculation skills. The kids are expected to be drilled on their times tables at home. The particular program is called "Everyday Math" and is highly criticized in the literature but schools persist in using this stupid math program.

Does anyone know what type of math program the public schools in the DC suburbs use?

Posted by: regarding elem math programs | February 2, 2007 10:38 AM

Worst advice was "Get that child out of your bed. You'll never get a good night's sleep again." Co-sleeping has been the best thing ever. My husband and I worked opposite shifts for the first two years of our son's life and co-sleeping was a great time for family bonding (nothing like that little hand on your face in the morning). It also made bedtime easier and actually helped me sleep better because I'm not worried about whether he's breathing or safe.

Posted by: MJ | February 2, 2007 10:38 AM

"The worst advice I heard & ignored was not to make up my mind about whether to return to work until after the baby was born. "You may fall in love with it."

Why is this bad advice? Waiting until you have more information before making a decision is never bad. I know women who quit their jobs because they knew they wanted to stay home, and then regretted it by the time the baby was 3 months old.

Posted by: huh? | February 2, 2007 10:38 AM

Worst advice: from one of the pediatricians in the office when dd was a newborn. Don't like to gender stereotype, but he was a male pediatrician.

His advice: to let her learn days from nights by keeping her and take her outside to stay awake in the light. Nonetheless, it didn't work.

When I told an NP at the office what he said she kind of laughed it off and said nope, that doesn't work. And he was a parent too!

Posted by: librarianmom | February 2, 2007 10:39 AM

Re: poll- My mother worked part-time through most of my childhood, then full-time starting sometime in my pre-teen/ teen years. Even this is a bit of an oversimplification, though- she switched between part- and full-time more frequently, and had a couple of periods of a year or less each where she wasn't in the paid workforce (eg. after we had just moved when my father got a different job). My brother once asked my father if they had ever thought it might have been a good idea for her to spend more time as a SAHM. He said it would have been "out of the question". I'm pretty sure this wasn't just for economic reasons. I think I inherited her "would get really squirrely if I had to stay at home with a small child all day" gene (can't say for sure as a non-parent).

Posted by: SheGeek | February 2, 2007 10:39 AM

I remember the good advice. A few people told me to have kids while you're still young. They may get in the way of a career but they're going to get in the way anyway and you might as well get it over with. Unfortunately, by the time I listened I was getting up there in age.

Best advice -- after just a few days, you will know your child better than anyone else. Trust your instincts.

On crying it out. I would say that you always check on the kid. I sometimes found mine covered in puke or a leg stuck in the crib. Once you've established that the kid is fine and you've shown your child that you are there, it is OK to let them cry, if you really think that's what is best.

Posted by: soccermom | February 2, 2007 10:39 AM

POLL - not me, my mom worked (high school teacher) from when I was 3 months.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:40 AM

POLL

My mother stayed home with 6 kids for 19 years.

Posted by: DZ | February 2, 2007 10:40 AM

How many of us had dads at home while we were little? Say from birth through age 4 or 5?

Posted by: TAKE THIS POLL | February 2, 2007 10:42 AM

I give up trying to post my longer item.

Scarry, on the Irish name thing. We named our kids Shannon and Ryan. Not sure what my German and Polish in-laws thought of that, but I didn't care much.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 2, 2007 10:42 AM

Advice that you don't agree with may be different than what you believe, but that doesn't automatically make it bad.

Scarry, I graduated high school the year you were born. My mom was home until I was 14.

My MIL mentioned something she did with her oldest grandchild. She never 'advised' me to try it, but she didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with putting beer in the baby's bottle when you wanted him to sleep.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:43 AM

"But things aren't the same. Because of all the dual-income families, dual-income is the norm and so dual-income is needed to keep that middle-class lifestyle. Just think of how much housing is these days...it's ridiculous."

Yep, got to keep up with the rest of the pack. Heaven forbid my house/car/clothes aren't as nice as my friends/co-workers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:43 AM

"but the la leche league can go a bit too far and make moms feel like failures if they can't or don't b-feed."

Fredia's comments (after yelling at me, I need to get my reports done!) Yes, there are some LLL leaders who are like that. Some are not. Fredia was a LLL leader before taking the paid job. Fredia would perfer to see a child BF but also believes as long as a child is growing and happy, the mother should not feel guilt.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:43 AM

UPDATED POLL

My dad worked nights so he was our primary caregiver until we reached 5th grade or so.

Posted by: TCY | February 2, 2007 10:44 AM

Worst advice I dealt with was always wrapped up with the best advice. Like, I always heard "be consistent." Well, that's great, but what does it mean?. Like my daughter's daycare had a jungle gym outside; sometimes we had time to play, and others we didn't. So to "be consistent," did that mean that I had to NEVER let her play, since I couldn't do it all the time? I finally figured out that consistency is less "never be flexible" and more "mean what you say" and "be an example" -- i.e., if you want your kid not to talk with her mouth full, then don't do it yourself, and don't ignore it when she does. (Of course, that goes hand-in-hand with "pick your battles")

Same thing with "ignore a tantrum." My daughter had a rip-roaring "terrible twos" from @ 13 mos. to 3.5 yrs old (exacerbated by a cross-country move in the middle). I absolutely refused to raise one of those brats who didn't know how to behave, and would ignore her whenever she pitched a fit, or take her out of the store or restaurant, with my mother's words and parenting style ringing loudly in my head. But life was miserable; every little thing was a power struggle, with neither of us able to give in.

She was about 4 when I finally read "Raising Your Spirited Child," and realized that her tantrums sprang from feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable and out of control. She always seemed so strong, so I was stunned to realize that she was incredibly over-sensitive to some things (noise, personal space, broken promises); so when she felt threatened, she would act dominant to feel in control of something. And when I ratcheted it up, she felt more insecure, so she'd just try even harder to control. What she really needed was me to teach her how to calm herself down and cope with those overwhelming feelings when they hit.

So I changed my approach, and wow, what a difference. I focused very hard on letting her do as much for herself as I could stand, to give her that sense of control over her own life. I tried humor rather than anger whenever possible. And when she started raising her voice, I lowered mine, focusing on speaking calmly and not reacting to her freaking out. And all of a sudden, the tantrums went away, and we had this bright, sunny, wonderful child back.

I'm still a huge fan of ignoring tantrums in general; I expect good behavior, and my daughter knows that pitching a fit is the shortest route to not getting what she wants. But I also learned the value of distraction and avoidance instead of forcing a power struggle, and of targeting your response to what your individual child needs and not to some parenting theory. For us, that means addressing her directly when she acts up instead of ignoring her -- we treat her like the big girl she so desperately wants to be, and 95% of the time, she lives up to those expectations.

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 10:44 AM

I second Fred's advice about contacting La Leche League if you are having trouble breastfeeding. I was so thankful I did that and continued to go to meetings for about 2 years. The moms there ran the gamut from what I'd call "granola" (extreme attachment parenting, vegan organic diet, family bed, homeschooling, thinking that women who bottlefeed should be jailed for child abuse) to very laid back, basically taking it as it comes and trying not to judge. I took what I wanted from the meeting and listened with fascination (and occasionally repulsion) to the rest.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 10:45 AM

My mom had her first in 69, worked 5 years, went back to law school, had me in 75, worked 9 years, had the last one in 84 and then dropped out of the work force - but hardly "stayed at home". She essentially became a permanent full time volunteer after that.

She's basically a rock star.

Posted by: Let them play | February 2, 2007 10:45 AM

Speaking of "cry it out" I have an aunt who retired from years of pediatrics. Now, when there's a baby in the family who has colic or something, and no one else wants anything to do with it, she'll hold the squalling infant with a beatific smile on her face. She says it's a sound she loves, because "sick babies don't cry".

Posted by: WDC | February 2, 2007 10:46 AM

POLL - not sure if this counts, but my dad "was home" with my brother & me in the morning to feed, clothe, pack our lunches, and my mom was home for us in the afternoon.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:46 AM

Born in '84, Mom was a SAHM and still is a housewife to this day.

Posted by: Poll | February 2, 2007 10:47 AM

"Yep, got to keep up with the rest of the pack. Heaven forbid my house/car/clothes aren't as nice as my friends/co-workers."

Which is why all men should stay home and be a full time parent to their children. This is the most important job a father can do. If he doesn't, his children will remember it.

Posted by: eyeroll | February 2, 2007 10:48 AM

I have to echo the family co-sleeping comment. When my first had that GI whatever you call it, he would cry and cry sleeping on his back. Even elevated on a pillow (gasp!), which helped some, his tummy hurt so much. To get some rest, I finally just started putting him on my tummy and he'd go right to sleep. So the advice to not let him in the bed went out the window. That made it much easier to just bring the second one in practically from the beginning, and I was so much more rested -- surprisingly rested, with a 2 year old and a newborn. So he was sleeping thru the night from the start, except for nursing in the bed. Now my kids start out in their own beds, but one or both ends up in ours in the morning. I have to say it is a nice quiet time for snuggling and telling them how wonderful they are -- maybe the fact that I do work means this time is all the more important to me.

Posted by: ashpash | February 2, 2007 10:50 AM

My mom worked outside the home my entire childhood. I credit her and my dad both with being great parents. I hope I can be as a good a parent as they both were.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:50 AM

Love hearing from the only-child parents today. Another unfortunate subset of nasty prejudice in this country. Do any of you want to write a Guest Blog about the ups/downs of being a parent to an only child? Would love it.

Thought of more bad advice: when I was pregnant with my second child my ob-gyn asked if I'd like to have my tubes tied in the hospital after giving birth. I still cannot figure out why this would have been a good idea. Think he was just clueless but part of me worried the message was: You are clearly such a bad mom that you should not have any more kids.

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 10:50 AM

worst advice- holding kids back because of age. If they are advanced and ready to read at age 2 or 3, teach them! I was reading at 3 when other kids were knocking blocks down and eating paste. I had much more fun reading and learning about dinosaurs, animals, the human body, and the solar system- not to mention all the fantasy and science fiction that contributed to not only an appreciation of an honor code, but towards a healthy imagination, creative thinking, and critical thinking skills. Plus, if you are teaching children to read at an early age they may one day be described as articulate. LOL.

Posted by: Chris | February 2, 2007 10:51 AM

"I was born in 74 in case you want to know years."

Scarry, I have warts older than that!

"I think I inherited her "would get really squirrely if I had to stay at home with a small child all day" gene"

Yea that is the gene my SIL has!


TDo2,

Yes the blog mechanics have been messed up for a while. Sometimes, even short posts do not get thru.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 10:52 AM

Fred, I hope you guys have a great anniversary weekend.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 10:52 AM


Texas dad of 2,

I have tried to post stuff before that didn't go through. I wonder what the deal is. I love both the names Shannon and Ryan.

My daughter's name is a form of Aisling, but I really wanted to name her Aiden, Eavan, or Sabina, which was a family name. It was quickly vetoed because it rhymes with something. I sometimes get blinded by my Irishness so it was a good thing my husband said "hell no." Next baby is already picked out if we could just get pregnant

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 10:52 AM

POLL:

Born in 1976, mom stayed home until twin sis and I were in preschool, and then we attended the preschool she taught. Afterwards, she still taught at a church preschool on and off but was always home when we got home from school.

Posted by: TGIF! | February 2, 2007 10:53 AM

poll: born in 1958, mom was home until I was in college (when sister was in high school). Dad was there after work and weekends extensively. He was our coach and head disciplinarian (wait until your father gets home!)

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 10:54 AM

Fred and anon you are killing me today. Look out blog it's a lovefest.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 10:55 AM

Another: those nutty moms who insisted (and got an article in my bible, People Magazine) that you could potty train a newborn infant!!!!!

Laura, my daughter is very similar -- strong and paradoxically very sensitive. Tough to figure out. I liked your example of what has worked in your family.

My son (at age 2) used to have 45 minute tantrums. He had an unusual ability to focus...

RAISING YOUR SPIRITED CHILD was a very helpful book.

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 10:57 AM

Thanks, Chris! Of course, now I feel so inadequate, since I didn't start learning to read till age 4 ;-)

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 10:59 AM

I ignored advice from my MIL to start having kids in my early 20s

"Have them while you're still young, etc." More like "Have them when you're broke, still in grad school, and will have to take a final exam in the maternity ward in between contractions!" Not to mention all-day daycare, my husband wanting to go back to school when I'm done, and my general opinion that 30 is a good age for my situation.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 10:59 AM

"Not really a fair poll IMHO as dual income families really werent prevalent in the 70's - I was the only kid with an employed mom that I knew."

Huh?

I was born in the '50s, had a '60s childhood, and recall distinctly that many of my friends' moms worked fulltime -- as did mine.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:02 AM

I resent that comment I'm trying to keep up with the Jones's.

We live very modestly and far out just to have the basics: a small starter home (that to afford we had to buy a teardown and rebuild by ourselves), a working family car, a pound dog, dinner on the table, and clothes that fit.

We don't do a lot of the extras people out there have like cable, vacations, or designer anything.

If eating with a roof over my head and clothes on my back is "keeping up with the Joneses", I hope everyone out there is doing it.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 11:03 AM

Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters.

Posted by: H | February 2, 2007 11:03 AM

Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters.


why are you here then?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:05 AM

Not quite advice but when I returned to work part time after a six month maternity leave a colleague with young children asked, "Why did they give YOU that (arrangement)?" My answer - well, because I asked/negotiated for it.

Posted by: new to this blog | February 2, 2007 11:05 AM

Technorati Profile

Posted by: Leslie | February 2, 2007 11:05 AM

"You are the boss of the poop"

Taken out of context, this will keep me laughing all day. Thanks. :-)

POLL: My mother stayed at home till I was about three, when my parents divorced. Then she went to work full-time. My biological father worked outside of the home and I never really saw him until I was about sixteen.

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 11:05 AM

"The moms there ran the gamut from what I'd call "granola" (extreme attachment parenting, vegan organic diet, family bed, homeschooling, thinking that women who bottlefeed should be jailed for child abuse)"

Fredia was laughing when I read her this because it is so true! While Fredia has not been a LLL leader for a long time, some of the parents who come to her in her state job have the same ideas.

As I say, there are also lactation consultants affiliated with hospitals, clinics, state and county health department and in private practice. So if you are more comfortable with one on one meetings, you can go this way. LLL leader do individual meeting but also the group meeting where mothers can receive peer support.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 11:06 AM

To "Huh?"

Several people gave me the advice not to make up my mind about work before actually having the kids. You're absolutely right that more information is always better than less. What I noticed, however, was that everyone who gave the advice had decided not to work. It was a thinly veiled way of saying that my love for my child would outweigh my love for work. I still had my maternity leave which allowed me time to make my own decision about working (as you suggest), but being clear on my values regarding work ahead of time made the transition to motherhood easier.

Posted by: Arlington | February 2, 2007 11:06 AM

Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters.

Posted by: H | February 2, 2007 11:03 AM

H, since what's posted here typically covers the known universe of possibilities from one extreme viewpoint to its opposite, please enlighten the board on what alternative advice remains.

What's the opposite of a "regular" poster? A. A blog respondent who needs to ingest additional Metamucil.
B. A blog respondent who changes his posting name to "H" when he gets peeved.
c. Do tell.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:07 AM

Worst Advice:

"You should have kids."

"Why, when I know I'd make a horrible parent?"

"Because it's what people do."

"That's a brilliant reason. Yeah, I'll get right on that."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:07 AM

"Technorati Profile"

What's that mean?

Posted by: new to this blog | February 2, 2007 11:10 AM

Worst advice? A childless woman told me I should let my children find their own values and not nurture what my wife and I believed. Reminds me of a story about a garden. A man said that he had a garden. Another man wanted to see it. They went out and the garden was overrun with weeds. The first man said "I did not want to interfer with the garden's natural development". I would never let society teach my child it's vulgar values.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:11 AM

Agree with 11:02 poster. My paternal grandmother was a school nurse once all of her children were in school and my maternal grandmother's only stay home experience was with her first child during WW II (they lived in Dupont housing in rural Alabama). I'm a year older than scarry and you can tell from my nom de blog what my mom did.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | February 2, 2007 11:11 AM

Worst Advice:

"You should have kids."

"Why, when I know I'd make a horrible parent?"

"Because it's what people do."

"That's a brilliant reason. Yeah, I'll get right on that."

You've obviously met my mother-in-law! I'm pretty sure we've had a fairly similar discussion over a few holiday dinners (minus the terrible parent part, which was more of a "we're not ready and aren't going to have kids until we are, if ever" response).

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 11:12 AM

By the way H, touche!

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:12 AM

Chris, I totally agree. My parents pulled me out of a school district that pressured them to let me skip 4th and 5th grades. I begged them to let me skip ahead, but they weren't having it, not even one year. They said I was too immature and the other kids would pick on me. They were right--I was (and still am) socially inept and extremely immature for my age. But it bugs me to this day that they wouldn't even try to nurture whatever gifts I might have had.

I hope to not become an overbearing kind of mom who makes her three-year-old take language classes and get up at 5 am for kung fu drills (in a figurative sense). But I do think I will push my kids a lot harder than I was pushed. Luckily, my future husband has agreed that he'll be the one to let the kids be kids, and call me out when I'm being too much of a coach and not enough of a mom. I'm so grateful for him; he's going to be a great father someday.

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 11:13 AM

Born in '79. Both of my parents worked full time as soon as they could after my brother and I were born.

But here's the kicker--I had to ask my mom recently because I didn't remember. Not a clue. So you can guess what I think of the poster who wrote "Kids will remember, and they should" or some such garbage.

Posted by: Meesh | February 2, 2007 11:13 AM

Laura- Raising your Spirited Child was a wonderful book! I love the fact that it focused on the parents' personalities as well! It really taught me a lot- mainly that I'm also highly spirited! lol. It's tough when you have 2 bulls locking horns- and my poor husband! Always in the middle of these sensitive strong stubborn women :)

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | February 2, 2007 11:14 AM

Born in 1972. Mom never worked outside the home (but always volunteered at our schools) until my sibs and I were in college. Dad from time I can remember worked out of the home - ran his own business.

Posted by: londonmom | February 2, 2007 11:17 AM

Heh, catmommy, I get the same. I'm 28 and don't plan on kids till I'm about 35. My sisters are the worst--whenareyougoingtohavekidsohmygodyou'regettingtooold!
And I can't say "I'm not ready to have kids," or their response is, "you're never ready!" I can't say "I'm not even married yet!" or they'll think I'm insulting my single-mom stepsister. Ditto with education, career goals, not having a house bought yet, etc. They think "I did all that, why can't you?" Never mind that I want something different for my little ones. I'm not trying to judge them--their decisions are their own--but I want a solid financial future for mine before I have them. So what if a few eggs go to waste in the meantime?

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 11:17 AM

Scarry, thanks. They also seem to like them, and they go well with our last name.

As for your other, well--practice, practice, practice! Which comedian said that the best part about kids "is making 'em..." :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 2, 2007 11:18 AM

With regard to advice:

Any unsolicited advice is almost always "bad". If you ask for advice, then I assume you trust that person's opinion and shouldn't necessarily dismiss it outright. In my personal life, I try not to give unsolicited advice and if I am asked I usually preface it with something like "here's what worked for me".

With regard to "crying it out" for babies. Whether this is good or bad advice depends on age. It is not good advice for a newborn. I would say that any baby under 6 months is incapable of "manipulation" (my word) and is crying because there is a need that is unmet. I do think that after 2 months of age, if parents are interested in helping their baby "sleep through the night" (and I consider 6 hours great at 2 months), then allowing your baby to cry (after checking to see if she is alright) for 1-2 minutes and then longer every few days is ok. Most infants (non-preemies and non-exclusive breastfeeders) can make it 6 hours without feeding at night. The average age for "sleeping through the night" is 2 1/2 months.


With regard to helping a baby learn day from night--I would suggest engaging your baby during the day with playful fun activities (when not naptime) with the lights on. At night, the lights should be off (or greatly diminished), the house quiet. And if the baby gets up in the middle of the night, when checking, avoid speaking to the baby and if you can, don't pick her up, attend to her needs (is she hungry? Does she need a diaper change?). If she wants to play, then speaking very softly and keeping her in the crib is the way to go until she learns playing is for the day.

Potty "training"--Ugh! This gives parents the most angst. Whether to "train" or let the child be the guide. Again it depends. It depends on the kid and the family. In general, positive reinforcement works best for many children. Many kids love rewards (stickers, small cheap toys, etc). Some don't care about rewards. I couldn't find something my son cared enough about until her was 3 (he could do it at 20 months then stopped). When I told him that he couldn't go to camp if he didn't use the potty, the very next day he was using the potty. No training, he was fully done. Sometimes they just need the right motivation.

I'm writing this because some of the "bad" advice above may not have been really bad, but maybe not communicated effectively or misunderstood. Of course people need to do what's best for their family. A word of caution: co-sleeping (baby in bed with [parents) is probably not a safe practice. and I would not recommend it. Babies have suffocated under these conditions. Also, historical note---this was a form of "post-birth abortion" during the medieval times. Familes "slept" with their infants and rolled over on them. Co-sleeping is probably not a good idea. Some recommended "co-sleeping" practices include contraptions that attach a bassinet directly next to the parents bed.

Good luck

Posted by: from a pediatrician | February 2, 2007 11:19 AM

So what if a few eggs go to waste in the meantime?


Mona- watch what you say on that one. you may regret it. you won't be saying so what after years of treatments and thousands of dollars. All good considerations, but it's not a flippant issue.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:20 AM

pATRICK posted,

Worst advice? A childless woman told me I should let my children find their own values and not nurture what my wife and I believed. Reminds me of a story about a garden. A man said that he had a garden. Another man wanted to see it. They went out and the garden was overrun with weeds. The first man said "I did not want to interfer with the garden's natural development". I would never let society teach my child it's vulgar values.

and then:

By the way H, touche!

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:12 AM

pATRICK's first comment is one of the most valuable pieces of inverse advice I've seen here or elsewhere.

I can only imagine that his second comment was intended to suggest that only everyone ELSE's advice here is the worse ever.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 11:20 AM

Advice I give my daughters: Never, ever marry anybody like your Father.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 11:20 AM

Father of 4, and I'm betting that advice won't be taken :>)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:21 AM

Mona, You must be related to my in-laws!!!!

We got constantly badgered to pro-create the whole time we were dating.
We'd only been married for 3 years when we decided it was time for kids. Not an unreasonable amount, I think. Their response to the news was "It's about time. What took you all so long?!?"

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 11:22 AM

Poll: Born in 65, mom stayed home until us 3 were teenagers, then she went back to get her Master's degree in Special Education.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 11:23 AM

Poll: Born in '68, sibs born in '69 and '73, mom stayed home until the youngest was in school full time. Both parents worked in education so someone was almost always home when we got off the bus and on vacations.

Interestingly, my grandmother completely bucked the trend (and was harshly criticized for it) by working full-time starting when my mother was 5 right through until she retired about 25 years ago. I tell her she was ahead of her time and that she'd have been the CEO of a Fortune 500 company if she'd been born in the 60s or 70s. She's an amazing lady.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 11:24 AM

Funny, pAtrick is a regular poster.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:25 AM

NC LAWYER, Just stirring the pot, actually H is wrong and we all know it.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:25 AM

NC Lawyer,
I am hurt that you did not like my Bill Cosby comment. The big B Ball fan that you are! sniff! sniff! About time to go pack!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 11:26 AM

Preggers - be prepared, as soon as you give birth to the first, they will ask when you will have the next!

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 11:26 AM

I was wondering if anyone was going to pickup on the fact that I too regularly post so ergo, I would be included. It apparently went over like a lead ballon.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:28 AM

"So what if a few eggs go to waste in the meantime?"

I feel like if it's meant to be, it will be -- regardless of birth control, in fact -- I know at least two "pill babies." If when we're ready it doesn't happen because we waited, at least I will know I didn't rush into something with such far-reaching effects on myself, my husband, and a child. I don't really see myself taking such drastic measures. I think I would take it as a sign it wasn't meant to be.


Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 11:28 AM

I must be very lucky because neither my family nor my inlaws pressured me to have children. They also told me about how they raised their children without ever implying that it was the only way or the correct way.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:30 AM

Missicat--
We'll have to think of something interesting to tell them then.
I remember back in college my response for "why don't you date more? You never bring home any young men..." was that I was a lesbian (really, I just didn't have time between studies and work). It worked to stop the questions.
Maybe something shocking like that would work to stop baby questions.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM

I just won't turn my body into a science experiment. It just seems wrong somehow.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM

Father of three here. Absolute worst advise ever is: Let the baby cry it out. No way, no how. When our babies cried, we held them, rocked them, sang to them, read to them, whatever, until they felt better. My kids are 8 and twin 6 year olds now. When they tell me something is bothering them, I don't ignore it. That's what that crying baby is telling you. And you're supposed to ignore it? That's just stupid.

Posted by: Rick in Cincy | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM

That's two statements you've made today that show me who you are: "So what if a few eggs go to waste" and the thing about pushing your kids harder than you were pushed.

A little introspection is suggested. Fortunately, at this point, it's only you you're affecting, not a child.

Posted by: to Mona | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM

Laura - A breath of fresh air re: tantrums. Imagine, changing tactics? You don't hear that much from the experts - it is their way or the highway.

Parents do no give themselves enough credit - Dr. Brazelton, Spock, Dobson work for you? Maybe you had an easy child. Or maybe you are a good parent. Talk about bad advice, telling other parents "you have to read Dr. so and so because he worked for me!" If you hear that from someone, please ignore.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 11:31 AM

"Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters. "

Ha, ha! Valid point in many, many cases.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:32 AM

I should have my mom write a guest blog on how she raised all of us while staying (mostly) sane and having all of us turn out pretty darn good. A bonus - we all still like each other and hang out together quite a bit!

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 11:34 AM

"Thought of more bad advice: when I was pregnant with my second child my ob-gyn asked if I'd like to have my tubes tied in the hospital after giving birth. I still cannot figure out why this would have been a good idea."

I think you are reading too much into this. Many women request this after a second child. It was probably just a question, not an indication that the dr thought you should do this.

I questioned my dr about tubal ligation during my 4th month of pregancy with my second child because I knew I didn't want any more considering my age, finances, and lifestyle. doesn't mean I didn't want the second, just didn't want a third.

Posted by: to Leslie | February 2, 2007 11:34 AM

Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters. "

Ha, ha! Valid point in many, many cases.

Ignore them. The worst thing about this blog is the nasty trolls who offer no advice.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:35 AM

"Worst Advice: Everything ever posted on this blog. Especially from regular posters. "

Ha, ha! Valid point in many, many cases.

This comment begs the question. Why would you come here anyway if that is your opinion?

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 11:35 AM

Some advice to chew on. Don't surrender to the "experts", whether they are doctors, PHD's, famous authors etc. YOU are the expert on your child. No other person could possibly have as much insight as you do.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:35 AM

Sometimes babies cry for no reason.

And if you can ignore a crying baby, you must be either a sociopath or just plain deaf.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 11:36 AM

Father of 4

"Advice I give my daughters: Never, ever marry anybody like your Father"

First thing that you have said that had a lick of sense to it!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:36 AM

Fred, I really just hadn't had time to read all the comments :>) I agree entirely with Bill's advice and your posting of it - although we only have 2 kids and I think we play a fair amount of zone and, on occasion, we even(test your old basketball knowledge) employ Dean Smith's four-corners defense for extended periods.

Poll: born in '61. mom was in the house during the daytime if that's all that qualifies one as a SAHM, but never had time to play, nurture, all other things that good SAH parents do, worked the second shift at a nursing home until I was 10. Never had a babysitter in my life because they never want out. Never stayed with relatives because each parent had moved hours away and kicked the dust of their hometowns and families off their feet when they got married.

signed,

A very, very happy Virginia fan (sorry, KB - thanks, dotted)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 11:36 AM

SAHMbacktowork -- You're right, I had forgotten about that part of it (to this day, if the seam of the sock runs underneath my foot it bugs the bejeebers out of me!). I remember reading the book with constant shocks of recognition. It was truly eye-opening to realize that my daughter and I were two sides of the same coin -- I was the "traditional" sensitive child who turned inward and tuned out when things got too much, so I had NO idea that the very same underlying sensitivity was provoking completely opposite behavior in her.

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 11:39 AM

Best advice: Get a bedtime routine. We started within a couple of months, and it has stayed the same. Daughter (11 months) now starts waving night-night to the stereo after "Somewhere over the rainbow" finishes. It changes slightly but the essentials are the same since she was 2 months, and we all look forward to it, since it involves gentle play and lots of cuddles.
Worst advice: You have to feed them rice cereal and spoonfeed them puree. Rubbish. Daughter was breastfed until 6 months and since then has eaten the same food as us, usually not cut up, but in finger-shaped pieces. She tries everything put in front of her, eats 3 good meals a day plus snacks, breastfeeds well and all with practically no effort on our behalf. MIL thought we were crazy and doctor and daycare thought we were MBPs (Mad Bad Parents) but have since kept quiet (can't imagine why).

Posted by: smellytart | February 2, 2007 11:39 AM

Best Advise - Love your kids and trust yourself.

Worst Advise - Anything that has "You just didn't try it long enough". If I tried it and it didn't wok, then it didn't work for me. I guess my kid is not a mirror image of yours!

POLL - Born in 72. Mother worked out of the house starting when I was 5. I loved playing at the daycare in the afternoons. At 11 I started staying home for the 1/2 hour in the PM before my father got home. Huge sense of responsibility from that, and now that I have kids - huge sense of respect for both my parents.

Posted by: Burke Mom | February 2, 2007 11:40 AM

"They also told me about how they raised their children without ever implying that it was the only way or the correct way."

If only that were my situation! Not only does my MIL pressure me about having kids, she tells me in advance how to raise them! I think she was a pretty sorry parent herslef -- my husband came several years earlier than the second two, and he was practically raised by wolves. Her second two are her "golden children," who if you ask me are extremely ordinary in every way. Definitely not shining beacons of good parenting.

Where does she get off when she couldn't even get it together herself? Maybe she's trying to fix past mistakes, but I'm getting sick of it. Just glad she lives out-of-state, where she still manages to interfere.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 11:40 AM

As a young mom, I have to throw it in there that though I don't have a big house (we rent a small apartment), there are a lot of benefits of having them young and I don't think this advice is given in a mean spirited way. I didn't intend to have a child at 24 (yes, pill baby- i started a new type and on the first month on it, got pregnant- maybe I should have used back up for the first month? lol)
If I have friends on the fence about having kids in their 20s and they ask what it's like, why we decided to have the baby, etc...
Yes, my career will suffer for a short period of time, but she will be out of the house when I'm 42! I'll have more than 20 years to work toward a partnership or VP slot.
My husband and I will still be young enough to truly enjoy a 2nd chapter in life before retirement.
We won't have to juggle college, retirement and caring for aging parents all at the same time.
These next 15-20 years will be about our child, it's our time after that.

I think it's all good advice- why to wait, why to have em young. The most important thing is to have a great spouse, partner, whether one is 20 or 40.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:41 AM

Another piece of bad advice my mother received: Because my father had renounced religion in his teens (his First Amendment right), when he and my mother had me, he agreed that she could raise me WRT religion as she saw fit, just so long as he didn't have to participate.

But my dad's parents and siblings kept pressuring my mother to raise me in their religion, and even enlisted neighbors of their faith in the cause (my parents were from the same neighborhood). My mother held firm to her convictions, however, and my dad backed her up -- although I now realize how difficult it must have been for them.

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 11:42 AM

Fred,

Is there any way to crack down on the LLL types you use fear, intimidation, and humiliation tactics to spread their propaganda?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:43 AM

Worst advice: join the Army
Best advice: join the Army

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 11:43 AM

"Telling other parents "you have to read Dr. so and so because he worked for me!" If you hear that from someone, please ignore."

"YOU are the expert on your child. No other person could possibly have as much insight as you do."

I do disagree with both of the statements. If another parent tell you how he resolved the same issue that you are having by advice from another, why would you not investigate the answer? I certainly do not know everything about children (except BF :)) I do not know everything about my job. I regularly consult with the company lawyers, the finance people (but never HR). Subject matter experts have developed techniques and strategy that can help us with all sorts of problems. I do not advocate blind adherence to any one authority but would never discount one without examining what he has to say about a particular problem.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 11:45 AM

"Is there any way to crack down on the LLL types you use fear, intimidation, and humiliation tactics to spread their propaganda?"

Yes. Ignore them.

Posted by: Righto | February 2, 2007 11:45 AM

NCLawyer, care to share some tips on how to run that four corners? Do y'all just station yourselves at opposite ends of the house and say, "go ask your mother," "go ask your father," repeat until the kids get tired of it and find a way to entertain themselves? :-)

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 11:47 AM

Fred, my point is that you can be tossed in the wind with all the advice. I trust my own judgement and my wife's before I would surrender to OPRAH's latest guest and their "expert" opinion.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:48 AM

Catmommy, just like your mil, I think you should get busy making babies as soon as possible. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 11:49 AM

To Poll:
What is your point?

To everyone responding to the poll:
Why must you qualify your responses with things like "but it was different back then" and "She worked and I turned out fine?"

Answer to poll:
Combo - mom worked until I was 3.5, was home after my brothers were born until they were in first grade, then went back to work at a school and her schedule was the same as ours. Dad always worked.

Posted by: poll taker | February 2, 2007 11:50 AM

Career-wise, the worst advice I ever received was not to bother pursuing my PhD after I put it on hold, because in the words of my sister, "Why do you really need it anyway?"

The worst family advice I ever got was to wait to start my family when I would have more time to spend with a baby (this from my graduate advisor). The truth is, there's never enough time, so you should have a family when you want to do so.

My father-in-law gave us great advice in terms of having kids when he told us that we might never feel ready, so you have to jump in and do it. He died a few months later. The following year we had our first child (nearly 20 years ago).

Posted by: Kate | February 2, 2007 11:51 AM

"YOU are the expert on your child. No other person could possibly have as much insight as you do."

I don't get this. I don't know everything. I wasn't an expert on driving when I first got behind the wheel at 15 yrs old. I wasn't an expert on any job I've ever held in the first 3 months on the job. Heck, I wasn't an expert at sex until I'd engaged in it for awhile. Were any of you? Why would giving birth to a child make me an expert on parenting? I may be the expert on my child's personality, but not how to impact or shape it. In each step of my life -- at least with the big, important things like my kids -- I have tried to stay open to hearing the advice of others, examining whether it was good or bad advice for me, gleaning the good, rejecting the bad, laughing at the worst when the speaker's out of earshot.

As George Santayana said, Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

I'd prefer to learn from others' mistakes than repeat them in ignorance or with a misplaced belief in my limitless, superior knowledge.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:52 AM

Fred is right.

Too many indignant posters---the advice may not be bad, but not right for you. It might go against your values or whatever. But it doesn't make the advice wrong or bad.

And telling a parent that he or she is cruel for letting a baby "cry it out" is just wrong. May go against your values, but is right for that other parent.

Too judgemental.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:53 AM

"Is there any way to crack down on the LLL types you use fear, intimidation, and humiliation tactics to spread their propaganda?"

In short, don't know. As the case with many volunteer organizations, zealots seem to drive the agenda. (Think about the PTA president.) Or as Righto says "ignore them." Fredia has not been involved in LLL for years but a LLL leader gave her invaluable help with the first child and this lead to her current job. As I have said, you can also find professional BF help in other ways--see previous post.

pATRICK, I don't watch Oprah but I see your point.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 11:55 AM

Father of 4,

I'm too scared now, after reading some of these advice posts. A lot of them are polar opposite! How does anyone figure out how do to things other than trial and error? I'm a little high-strung and a lot perfectionist. I think if I have kids a very sudden attitude adjustment will be in order...

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 11:56 AM

"Best advice: power through the hard, hard, hard first few weeks of breastfeeding, because once it gets easy (and it does, I promise), it stays easy for as long as you continue, and is by far the fastest and cheapest way to feed and calm your baby"

I powered through and it never got easier for me.

Posted by: shea3t3 | February 2, 2007 11:58 AM

I made the first comment that crying it out was cruel (but my parenthetical tried to make it clear that I meant it was cruel to me, not my daughter)

I just can listen to a baby crying - I'm actually a bit jealous of those who can

I also can't listen to the car radio and have a conversation at the same time; so it's not just about the baby

to each his own, really...

Posted by: cryingitoutcruel | February 2, 2007 11:58 AM

"Catmommy, just like your mil, I think you should get busy making babies as soon as possible. :-)"

Because she's a woman, and that's what she should do, right?

Have you worn out your wife, you're ready to move on to the next fertile woman?

You really are a pig.

Posted by: to Fo4 | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM

oops, "can't listen", not "can"

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM

Perhaps YOU are the person I was referring to. The one who has more confidence in other's judgement, rather than your own. Those experts have never met your child, played with him, talked to him, fed him, nursed him. They are talking in generalities. Their advice should always be filtered through your own judgement based on your experience with your child.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM

11:20 AM--You're absolutely right. I didn't realize how flippantly I was treating the issue until you pointed it out. I certainly should not be acting as if it's such a small issue, because I know for others it must be heartbreaking to not be able to have their own children. I have thought about what would happen if I get to the point where I can't have my own, and BF and I have agreed that we'll adopt (something I wanted to do anyway, regardless of my fertility). But while that works for me, I didn't consider how other women on the blog may feel. I can't say I'd ever be willing to see a fertility specialist, but some women do, and with some luck and good science, I hope it works for them. I guess to me it's a "live and let live" issue--if it happens, great, if not, there are alternatives, and maybe that's why I seemed a bit callous. To those on this blog to whom that may have appeared cruel and flip, I apologize.

And to 11:31, you're right. My comments have demonstrated my immaturity and the fact that I'm not ready to have kids, something I've said many times. Maybe I'll be ready by the time I do have them. Introspective thought is required, and trust me, I juggle these types of issues inside my own head constantly, so that I can be prepared when it comes time to have to deal with them. Often, an inarticulate or downright rude comment spills out onto this blog. You're right. It is lucky that I'm only affecting myself now. But I'm learning. And the great people on this blog are a great help. (I'm just a little slow on the uptake.)

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 11:59 AM

y'all are making me laugh today when I should be packing!

Catmommy, believe me, your attitude will change! It may harden your current attitude, it may morph into a different attitude but it will change! All part of the huge mystery of parenthood that no one can truly and fully explain to you.

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 12:00 PM

"Catmommy, just like your mil, I think you should get busy making babies as soon as possible. :-)"

Because she's a woman, and that's what she should do, right?

Have you worn out your wife, you're ready to move on to the next fertile woman?

You really are a pig.


Ha and catmommy is a cat. It was a joke! Some people take father of 4 way to seriously.. :)

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 12:00 PM

Fred,

It's easy to say ignore the militant LLL types, but some expectant/new and nervous mothers are very insecure and are easily manipulated/intimidated into swallowing this crap.

Are there any freedom fighters who help women resist the Nursing Nazis?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:01 PM

Oh great, the "co-sleeping is dangerous" crowd. Yeah, it is, if you're 300 lbs and smoke in bed. Otherwise moms are aware of their infants just like you are if you're listening to them through a monitor - one sound or wriggle and you're bolt awake. (And ps, most pediatricians I know are too busy to read blogs throughout the day.)

The best advice I ever got was to cosleep. The worst was the "cry-it-out" crap. Why are we so worried about sleep? Kids figure it out just like they learn to dress themselves eventually.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:05 PM

The worst advice I ever got was to not let the baby sleep in my bed. Thankfully, I ignored it. The family bed has been a way for me to spend more time with my little one even though I work. For a short stretch when my son was about 1, I ended up working really long hours because of a major deadline driven project at work. It was really nice to have my son next to me at night, nursing whenever he wanted. I slept, he slept, and we continuted to bond.

Posted by: Emily | February 2, 2007 12:06 PM

"It was a joke! Some people take father of 4 way to seriously.. :)"

He's a sexist jerk! He harbors the very attitude that continues to hold women back.

And the sad part is, he has kids who will most likely continue the behavior. His sons will be just like him, and his daughters will aspire to marry just like their mother and have babies, because that's what they're here to do.

Sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:07 PM

"Best advice: power through the hard, hard, hard first few weeks of breastfeeding, because once it gets easy (and it does, I promise), it stays easy for as long as you continue, and is by far the fastest and cheapest way to feed and calm your baby"

I powered through; it was a disaster, and I had a nervous breakdown. Now what?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:07 PM

Do y'all just station yourselves at opposite ends of the house and say, "go ask your mother," "go ask your father," repeat until the kids get tired of it and find a way to entertain themselves? :-)

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 11:47 AM

Laura, You've got the essentials down. Our version is more along the lines of, "It's okay with me if it's okay with your Dad" and "It's okay with me if it's okay with your Mom". The second parent then says, I have to talk to Parent 1 before I give you an answer. Depending on what Parent 1 is doing and how long it's likely to take for the Parental Confab to occur, our older child gives up on all but the most critical requests (and gets blown out 75 to 43 with no scoring in the last 9 minutes of regulation). Our younger child will unplug the chainsaw if that's what it takes to make the Parental Confab happen. She'll foul out before she gives up.

All I ever needed to know about parenting, including adapting successfully to externally imposed change, I've learned in the ACC.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 12:08 PM

Worst advice: much of the stuff from the "attachment parenting" people (Dr. Sears, "The Continuum Concept")...mostly because of the guilt you try not to feel when you don't follow it.

Then there's the constant input from my South American in-laws, which I can't exactly call "advice" when it's phrased as "He looks like he might have anemia. You need to feed him more chicken soup! Poor Sammy, you never get this at home, do you?" And quinoa and oatmeal and potatoes and rice and meat meat meat, nary a green thing in sight. Gaaaaahh!

Posted by: Jill | February 2, 2007 12:10 PM

Mona, Don't apologize. There's nothing wrong with wanting to plan your life, knowing you aren't ready right now for something like kids, or to have a desire push any hypothetical children your future may hold to excel.

I planned mine and waited till I felt ready (and you can feel ready, no matter what others say).

My parents pushed me and my siblings. I plan to push mine. Not to a psychotic level of course, but if they have gifts they should be encouraged to explore and develop them.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 12:11 PM

Catlady, it is ok. Some of the people I went to college with still could not read, much less speak or write intellegently. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | February 2, 2007 12:12 PM

POLL: My mom went back to work when I was 5 weeks old (in 1977) and still works.

I plan to not work at all for first few years and possible will work part time when kids are in school.

Posted by: mom2b | February 2, 2007 12:12 PM

And the sad part is, he has kids who will most likely continue the behavior. His sons will be just like him, and his daughters will aspire to marry just like their mother and have babies, because that's what they're here to do.

Wow, as opposed to empowering women like yourself who are accepting of all choices. Even the choice to stay home and have children.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:13 PM

Catmommy, when you can stick your tongue out at me and do and extra wet rassberry, you will be able to handle kids.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 12:13 PM

Thanks, preggers. I do still plan to push my kids (but not in a psychopathic pageant-mother type way), and I do still plan to wait to have children, but I have a way of coming off as harsh, and I don't wish to alienate others who may be sensitive to things I say. I won't apologize for being the type of mother I plan to be, but I do apologize for coming off as unsympathetic to the plights of others.

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 12:14 PM

NC Lawyer,

Not a big B Ball fan. I had to Google the four corners offense. I thought it was what Laura said. Now that I know the definition, I have seen videos of this offense. Makes a game boring!

Really have to go pack now before Fredia throws the computer out the window! See y'all next week!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 12:14 PM

"Otherwise moms are aware of their infants just like you are if you're listening to them through a monitor - one sound or wriggle and you're bolt awake."

Dear Little Miss Know-It-All,

Nope, I'm a very heavy sleeper (like a teenager)and it took a lot for my babies to wake me up.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:14 PM

my 1 year old daughter fell between the mattress and the footboard on the bed. I didn't know she did it until she starting really screaming.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 12:17 PM

catmommy- of course there are no sure things- but you'll most likely change.

My hubby, fortunately, is very laid back and brings me down to earth from my perfectionist sensitive high strung ways.

sounds incredibly cheesy- but the minute my daughter was born, all the other crap just didn't matter anymore. I'll still get stressed more easily than my husband because i make mistakes and can't be the "best" mommy (whatever that means- I know it's ridiculous to try and be "perfect" at everything)

But by and large, I just don't care about the small things as much as I used to.

Now, if you DON'T calm down after having a kid they will be neurotic and scary...lol. I know quite a few OCD moms and their poor kids are tortured by fitting into what these women think is perfection.

I am very glad that it was an automatic shift for me- that my feelings for my daughter just carried away that insecurity that fed into my need to perfect things, that she really completed my life and made it ok to let go. It's a true blessing. I would probably have an ulcer by now if it weren't for her.

Warm and fuzzy... :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:17 PM

I can't speak from personal experience since I don't have children yet, but my mom received terrible advice from my well-intentioned grandparents. My mother is from Mexico and my dad is American. My grandparents were HORRIFIED that my parents only spoke to my sister and me in Spanish until we were school-aged. They thought that this would set us back in English and that we would never be able to keep up at school. They were so worried about the damage it would cause and advised my parents to stop speaking in Spanish at once. My parents did not stop and as a result, both my sister and I are fluent in Spanish and both fluent and proficient in several other languages as well. We went on to have no difficulty in school and as an attorney and a business consultant, I don't think we can say that this gift of a second language has been anything but beneficial.

Posted by: lca | February 2, 2007 12:19 PM

Worst advice: "There's no difference between two kids and more than two kids. You won't notice the difference in work load."

Cosby, cited above, was correct - the first thing we noticed was that we were outnumbered!

Best advice: take all the books on parenting and ignore them. Actually, take the parts that might apply to you and ignore the rest. Every child is different; trying to force any doctor's or other expert's system into your life is a waste.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 2, 2007 12:19 PM

"Their advice should always be filtered through your own judgement based on your experience with your child."

pATRICK, this is exactly right. I think there's a happy medium between "only I know my child, so I don't need to listen to anyone else," and "I wouldn't drive a car without taking lessons, so why wouldn't I look to experts for baby advice?"

I know I don't know everything (if I ever thought I did, my kids would disabuse me of that notion before the sun set!). So I do read parenting books (well, more when I was trying to figure out my daughter, but still today when new stages crop up). I figure someone who has scientific/medical training and has worked with thousands of children has a much broader range of experience with kids than me, with my two data points, so they are likely to have some ideas, approaches, and tactics that I haven't thought of.

But I would also never substitute their judgment for my own. My daughter may be very much like a certain type of kid some expert has seen, but she's also going to be different in her own way. No one on earth knows her better than I do, so I am going to take all of that expert advice with a big fat grain of salt, and filter it through what I see and what I think will work best.

Experts are useful providers of knowledge we may not have. But their advice is still just one input into my ultimate decisions.

BTW, Mona, that was an exceedingly charitable response to a snark.

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 12:20 PM

Mona, well done on civily responding to attackers.

I made a flippant remark along the lines of catmommy (science experiment) when I first started commenting on the blog. I was, of course, told to keep my mouth shut because I couldn't understand what it's like not to be able to have kids. In comparison, I think that your remarks were harmless.

Posted by: Meesh | February 2, 2007 12:20 PM

"Are there any freedom fighters who help women resist the Nursing Nazis?"


The twins liberated me, albeit against my will. It just didn't work out the way I'd pictured - just the first of many things, most of which are long forgotten, and, generally speaking, everyone's fine and happy.

Posted by: lindab | February 2, 2007 12:22 PM

http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/the-irrational-voter/#comments

Posted by: Judith Warren Today | February 2, 2007 12:22 PM

Cosby, cited above, was correct - the first thing we noticed was that we were outnumbered!

Yea, but once you get beyond 3, another 1 or 4 does not matter. It just puts off your retirement!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 12:23 PM

POLL: Born in 59 (in an Army hospital in Germany). Dad was, um, in the Army, and Mom was a high school teacher. Generally taught English and/or Latin, but filled in at everything from first grade to History depending on what the dependent schools or the local school system needed.

I don't know whether that would have been Mom's first choice, but Army NCO pay is so "outstanding" that there really wasn't a choice if we wanted to eat.

I will note, though, that the year Dad spent on the DMZ in Korea and the 14 months in Quang Ngai, Vietnam, Mom didn't work. She moved us to Denver, rented a house a block from her parents, and mostly prayed that she wasn't already a widow.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 2, 2007 12:23 PM

Fred- should have qualified my statement and added:

"Telling other (NEW) parents "you have to read Dr. so and so because he worked for me!" If you hear that from someone, please ignore."

New parents only. How will you know a strict upbringing or Coddling will help your child when you don't even know the child yet? Flexibility is a must and if there are real concerns on any given issue everything should be investigated - however muddying the waters and seeking advice from everyone on any one concern is probably not the best.

I do agree though that we all know our child best. Luckily I have not had any really serious issues and I don't go looking for problems to solve by reading tons of parenting material. Some people love the drama of raising children so much they look for more. Common sense goes a long way.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 12:25 PM

"Some people love the drama of raising children so much they look for more."

Best point EVER raised on this blog!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:28 PM

cmac, totally concur with your amplification.

Army brat, I spent my time in Long Binh but I was single and 20. (enlisted all the way, mom was a corporal in the Marines, dad was a Tech 4) Now, having a child in the military, I can feel some of this but I know it is not like having a spouse there.

(Fredia went somewhere for a few minutes!)

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM

I read in some stupid parent magazine that you should wait til your kids are 8 or 9 or older to let them pick out their own clothes. What a stupid thing! If that's one less thing I have to do, then that's GREAT. Who cares if my kid is wearing stripes and plaids (I don't buy plaids, actually, for just such a reason!). But it doesn't matter if what he's wearing matches - he is 'owning' the decisions for what to wear. Many days we'll tell him that he needs to wear something warm cause it's cold out, but most of the time, he does a great job himself.
And if people think I'm a terrible mom when they see my kid, then they are the crazy ones. Who cares, really - if he's warm and well fed, what's the diff?

Posted by: atlmom | February 2, 2007 12:31 PM

to preggers--

"If eating with a roof over my head and clothes on my back is "keeping up with the Joneses", I hope everyone out there is doing it."

I was coming running to your defense until I saw that you did it just fine by yourself. I am absolutely convinced that the folks who sneer at the idea of needing a duel income to maintain a modest lifestyle either have an extremely high paying job of their own or is living off of someone else's money (husband's, parent's, trust fund's).

Posted by: Cate | February 2, 2007 12:33 PM

Some parents think that if they do everything correctly, and best, and perfect, they will avoid the heartbreak of:

a child with a serious medical problem;
a child committing suicide;
a child with a life-ruining addiction;
a child dropping out of high school; or even
a child who tells them he hates them, on into his 30s and up.

Some (not all, of course) are looking for an insurance policy of happiness. If I do X, I'll get Y child. Letting go of the assumption that parents are to blame when kids go south, or that parents get the credit when kids turn out to be wonderful, decent, hardworking, faithful, devoted fathers of 3, is IMHO key to successful parenting and being at peace with your choices. Quelling the tendency to blame the parents for every Paris Hilton or Ted Bundy is a good place to start.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 12:35 PM

preggers and cate; Tell me about it! We're a dual income (about 80K before taxes) and while that seems like a lot- it's not! We rent a 1 bedroom apartment for the 3 of us (my husband and I cornered off the "dining nook" for our bed and dresser), we don't have a car payment, and we're not living it up. We actually spend all of our money, outside of daycare costs and bills and food, on building a large savings account just in case one of us loses our job or gets hurt and can't work. Huge fear of mine because jsut a few months of tough times can break a family!
We learned this first hand a few years back, thankfully, crawled back to life, and have learned from it. I was staying home at the time (which we saved for )and we had a few car repairs that drained our savings, a family crisis that we had to fly back and forth for in 1 year, and there we were- in financial trouble.

It's just not feasible for most families to work on 1 income. If you can and do- that's great. I would love to stay home, but it's not reality in this country.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:41 PM

>The best advice I ever got was to cosleep. The worst was the "cry-it-out" crap.


I have to say the opposite. Cosleeping was a disaster for our family. No body, not even the baby, was getting any real rest. Finally put her in her own room, she sleeps like a top, and is in a great mood in the morning.

I wouldn't let an infant "cry it out", but after 6-9 months of age, it is not harmful or cruel to let them protest for 5-10 minutes before you check on them. As my pediatrician told me, if she wants candy for dinner and you say no and she cries, is that cruel? nope. You're doing what's best for them -- teaching them bedtime is bedtime.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:41 PM

Other parental heartbreak that can't always be avoided:

Child in prison
Denial of all contact with grandchild by angry parent
Ungrateful child who never calls, writes, or visits, except to ask for money

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:42 PM

Although unmarried and childless, today's comments are why i love to read this blog.

Posted by: daddy's girl | February 2, 2007 12:44 PM

Denial of all contact with grandchild by angry parent


Some state have grandparent rights.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:44 PM

To atlmom:

My mother found a great compromise on the clothing issue, because she wanted to teach me to make decisions for myself.

The night before, she'd pick out 3 or 4 outfits she deemed appropriate (chiefly based on the weather forecast for the next day), then let me pick the one I wanted to wear. (Of course, when I got older, I figured out the option "None of the above" -- LOL!)

Likewise, when it came to buying clothes, or selecting fabrics and patterns for clothes she'd sew for me, she'd give me several choices, all of which were acceptable to her and fit within our limited household budget.

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 12:45 PM

Some state have grandparent rights.


Which is ridiculous!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:46 PM

Worst advice I got on parenting as it relates to work?

"Keep your family life completely seperate from your work life"

What a bunch of BS.

Did anybody ever tell a man,
"Hey keep your sports (or insert any other male hobby) life completely seperate from your work life"

I arrive at work after my 4 year old has thrown the tantrum of a life time, I'm trying to clean spit-up from my 1year old off my suit, I had an argument with my husband on my way out the door, and my boss walks into my office a nervous wreck telling me I have to have a suprise assignment done in 30 minutes....excuse me if I need a moment to release some stress! lol

Posted by: Mom In SS | February 2, 2007 12:47 PM

Thanks, Laura and Meesh. I thought my comments were a bit innocuous, but I always think that; other people often disagree. I have a tendency to be callous and insensitive, and I'm learning to be a little more understanding when I'm called out on it. But I really do appreciate your words of support.

Does anyone have any opinions on how far apart two kids should be spaced? I'm thinking 2 years, but I really don't know, and I'd like to know what you guys think.

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 12:49 PM

I can't really think of the worst. I ignore it all too effectively. :)

For me the best advice was a discussion where a few parents were talking about what drove them up the wall and what they were fine with and where the conclusion was... people raise their kids differently because they have different tolerances for different things.

That really freed me to see that it's a relationship between me and my child and not a how-to manual/experience. With some kids you might have to be stricter and with some you might have to help them relax. Some families really want their young kids to behave in public because they want to be out all the time, others are fine with mostly staying home for a few years. Whatever. There is no one true way.

Posted by: Shandra | February 2, 2007 12:49 PM

These smug, self-righteous LLL types seem to travel in packs. They tend to be on the homely side and have disagreeable personalities. Woof!

No wonder some men cheat!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:51 PM

"Some state have grandparent rights.
Which is ridiculous!"

Indeed! Ridiculous is also having a MIL who tells you she wishes you get pregnant even though it's not in your best interest health-wise to carry a child. But, just as she tells all of her friends, "I want my grandbabies!"

When are people going to get it through their skulls that it's the couple's decision to make--not everyone elses!

Posted by: No Grandkids | February 2, 2007 12:51 PM

"(And ps, most pediatricians I know are too busy to read blogs throughout the day.)"

Keyword is "most". Some of us work nights and weekends too so get a weekday off sometimes.

And the "co-sleepers" who tell others to do it are the reason that people shouldn't take advice from a blog or non-experts. I would have loved to have you next to me when I had to tell a father last year that his infant son was dead because he rolled over on him in his sleep (so much for parents waking up with every peep). I've pronounced babies dead several times in my career who were in their parents' bed. And there are enough publications on the numbers of babies who die in their parents bed to counteract this bad advice. And the AAP discourages this practice.

I'm glad it worked out for you. It's a bit irresponsible to advocate for a dangerous practice for others.

Posted by: To co-sleepers | February 2, 2007 12:51 PM

Oh and NC Lawyer - I totally agree. There just aren't guarantees.

Posted by: Shandra | February 2, 2007 12:52 PM

How does co-sleeping not infringe on couple time--in regards to both intimacy and then just simply being alone together?

I'd imagine it's hard, if not impossible to do so when your child is right there in the bed and room with you, no?

Posted by: curious | February 2, 2007 12:54 PM

The answer to your spacing question is "it depends". I think 2 years is reasonable. Two to three. My kids are 5 years apart and it works for us, but it might have been nice to have 2 kids who would be at the same place developmentally. Pros to closely spaced---they are each other's playmates, out of diapers in less years, oldest kid's stuff usable for the next kid. Cons--more fighting, more competition (potentially), I've heard parents of kids spaced closely that their life is a "blur"

Good luck! Whatever happens with spacing usually works out

Posted by: To Mona | February 2, 2007 12:55 PM

"Oh great, the "co-sleeping is dangerous" crowd"

My MIL had a baby who died while co-sleeping. It happens.

Babies can die while co-sleeping. If someone thinks that it is dangerous because death is POSSIBLE, they are entitled to that opinion.

Parents are terrified to let children play outside because of molesters and predators. They protect their children from POSSIBLE harm by not allowing them to play outside for a minute without hovering parent. Do we think they are crazy? DO we think parents against co-sleeping are crazy?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 12:59 PM

worst advice i ever got was from my son's pediatrian - your son is small you need to force feed him. luckily, my husband told the doctor that he had been small as a child and we weren't force feeding anybody.

second worst advice i ever got - you don't need parenting books. you know your child better than anybody. so when i had no clue how to handle my son on certain issues i felt bad. after all, i should know intuitively how to handle my son because i'm the mom.

best advice i ever got was from a parenting book. my son was behaving in an age appropriate manner that happened to drive me up a wall. read in book that it was age appropriate which dropped my annoyance factor down to where i could handle it. sure enough just like the book said it would my son outgrew it. can you imagine that???? a parenting book was right & they didn't even know my son. how do you think they did that??????

Posted by: quark | February 2, 2007 1:00 PM

Technorati Profile

What does this mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:00 PM

I think a key skill for parents is to learn to ignore 90% of the advice you hear from other parents. If co-sleeping worked well for them, then everyone should co-sleep. If they potty trained at 18 months, everyone can and should.

Personally, I am glad I ignored: (1) being told I couldn't breastfeed -- I did it and loved it and felt it gave my dd and I a really special relationship; (2) being told to start dd on solid food at the age of *6 weeks* (good idea, Mom!); (3) being told I shouldn't vaccinate my child because of the alleged autism link; (4) being pressured to stay home instead of working.

You have to have the confidence to do what works best for you and your family. Though I would say it's important to find a good, modern pediatrician that you can trust on health issues.

Posted by: JB | February 2, 2007 1:01 PM

Mona -

My kids are 3 years apart which is a nice split. Close enough to play together, but not be too competitive. However, I was horrified when I counted up exactly how many years I had been buying diapers!

Posted by: DataDiva | February 2, 2007 1:02 PM

If nothing else, today's comments are evidence that nothing is hard and fast and nothing works across the board. Each family and each child may need or respond to different options.

As far as best/worst advice, my experience was that my grandparents supported our choices to breastfeed and co-sleep whereas my parents freaked out about both. Kids survived and are great and they did leave the family bed happily and easily when they were around 2. Worked for us but I can certainly imagine it won't work for everyone. Same with potty training - one boy wasn't reliably trained until 4, the other was done by 2 1/2. Most important thing I learned was the soothing power of routines and how immediate the children's reactions were to disruption in routine.

Posted by: Stacey | February 2, 2007 1:03 PM

curious posted, "How does co-sleeping not infringe on couple time--in regards to both intimacy and then just simply being alone together? I'd imagine it's hard, if not impossible to do so when your child is right there in the bed and room with you, no?"

Co-sleeping should have no impact on time simply being alone together. Simply be alone together in the living room before you retire. In terms of intimacy, be intimate in other rooms in the house, or at times other than 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., which generally is the advice for keeping the homefires burning anyway. Intimacy that occurs at the end of the day between exhausted parents of young children who've already given their all elsewhere, is not the sort of intimacy that keeps a good marriage a good marriage.

Mona,
In terms of spacing, it depends on whether you like the idea of being pregnant while parenting a one-year old. It's the most popular choice because it gets the child-bearing years over and done with -- there's a tremendous amount of societal pressure on the 2 year-spacing. I recall that pressure being relentless. We waited and have a 6 year gap. Read that as, we were done with potty training, et al., and we got into the baby years all over again. Our kids aren't competitive at all. They also are developmentally at entirely different stages so just try to plan common vacation activities - she's too young to snorkel or sight-see for 10 hours; he's too old for the kiddie rides at the NASCAR place.

don't let anyone tell you what gap is right for you, your body, your marriage, and btw, the child you already have -- let's hear it for only children and for parents who are comfortable with that decision. It wasn't right for us, but I applaud those who stick to their guns on this.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:05 PM

Worst advice: don't rock your baby to sleep. And why not? She loved it, I loved it -- everybody sleeps, everybody wins.

Best advice: don't forget to nurture your marriage; else one day your child(ren) will be gone and you'll look at your partner and say, now, who are you?

And NC Lawyer, you are speaking my language. When confounded, I often ask myself WWDD? What would Dean do? ;)

Posted by: tar heel gal | February 2, 2007 1:05 PM

OK, this is a little unrelated, but "you're the boss of the poop" made me think of it and start laughing all over again:

While searching the internet for advice on house training our 3 month old golden retriever (thought I had seen it all potty training two boys, but I was wrong!) I came across one "expert" who actually said that if the dog poops in the house, you should not scold the dog, but let the dog see you scold the poop.....for being in the wrong place. Then you pick it up, put it outside (all within view of the dog) and praise it for being in the right place!! I can barely finish typing this post bc I'm laughing so hard, but maybe this would work with kids???

Posted by: runnermom | February 2, 2007 1:07 PM

Another piece of bad advice my mom received (and why is it so often the mother on the receiving end?):

Don't start your child on music lessons till at least age 8 or 9, on the theory that they won't be mature enough till then.

Fortunately, my mother ignored this advice, and started me at age 5. My piano teacher's policy was that students had to know how to read (some) before she'd accept them. Ironically, brain researchers are now finding that children have more difficulty learning an instrument if they wait till as late as age 8. (Not that I'm advocating music lessons for babies).

Also, I recall reading somewhere that the music-learning and reading-learning areas of the brain are located very nearby one another, so learning to read music aids in acquiring/improving language and reading skills. (Can someone amplify on this for us, please?)

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 1:08 PM

Does anyone have any opinions on how far apart two kids should be spaced? I'm thinking 2 years, but I really don't know, and I'd like to know what you guys think.

I'm in the camp of 4-5 year spacing. Older child, plenty of time with them as an only, older in school, can focus on baby more. No toddler tantrums while feeding the baby, while the baby is sleeping (I'd love a dollar for each time one of my friends told their 2 yr old- "shhhhh, the baby is sleeping"- talk about creating a tense sibling rivalry from the start!)

Everyone says to have them 2 yrs apart because you'll get the baby stuff out of the way all at once and that your kids can be playmates.

1) you will be EXHAUSTED if you do back to back babies. A break of a few years in between may strengthen your sanity.
2)they will not be playmates often at that age. A 6 or 7 yr old helping a 2 yr old is so sweet and they can genuinely play without the sharing issues, hitting, etc.

I would have died if i had a baby when my daughter was 2. She's a handful and it would have been awful. I suppose if you have an easy kid, then it'd be fine.

oh- and you won't have to pay for 2 kids in daycare at the same time and little kids get sick more than older kids- I have a close friend who used all of her sick days (a years worth) in a 2 month period due to infant and toddler illnesses back to back!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:12 PM

Curious, when the child notices what the parents are doing and wants to join in, the parents should consider popping in a Barney tape to entertain their child before they go back to having sex.

That's my advice anyway, take it for what its worth.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 1:13 PM

NC Lawyer,

Ouch, you hit close to home with your six statements. My late parents had to deal with all 6. Fredia and I are dealing with 3 of them plus some more added by other posters.

Life comes with no guantees!

Posted by: Fred | February 2, 2007 1:14 PM

No Grandkids: Re: grandparents rights, it is all depends on the welfare of the child. Some of the laws stem from children that have been taken away from grandparents that have raised them for years. So called "parents" suddenly show up in a child's life and claim they have "rights" merely because they gave birth or fathered a child, but have never even given that child the time of day.

Other circumstances might include children who have lost both parents and the custodian of the child is not allowing visitation from grandparents or family. Which is a reminder to everyone to get their Wills in order.

The laws were not passed for annoying in-laws to get more babytime.

Posted by: cmac | February 2, 2007 1:14 PM

2 worst pieces of advice: 1) from my employers when I was a nanny --- put the baby's carseat in front so you can pay attention to him while driving; 2) from a dear friend who didn't have kids --- time your first baby so that you are on maternity leave while studying for the bar. Needless to say, I ignored both snippets!

Posted by: Liz | February 2, 2007 1:15 PM

Thought I'd post my answers to the questions people have posed.

Poll -
My mom was home with my older brother and I from before he was born, and still stays at home (now, because of health issues). Dad had the normal daytime job. I was born in 1978.

Spacing - my brother is four years older than I am. From the perspective of the kids, that worked out well. We got along a lot better than most of our friends with closer-spaced siblings. Also, we did not overlap in high school, so that cut down on the competition. Mom says it was nice for her, as well, to have my brother thoroughly potty-trained before I came along. (I guess, with closer spacing, sometimes the older reverts when the younger is born?) Of course, you have to do what is right for you!

Posted by: FutureMom | February 2, 2007 1:18 PM

I agree. I, for one, love to see a four year old in public (grocery store or wherever) wearing the superman or ninja turtle outfit. That indicates to me a child with some level or creativity that is being nurtured. Go for it; waiting until 8 or 9 to let children decide is ridiculous.

Posted by: to altmom | February 2, 2007 1:19 PM

Mona, the best thing about spacing kids 2 or 3 years apart is that they will busy themselves by clobbering one another in their early years so you won't have to.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 1:20 PM

Thanks for the advice on spacing. I'd like all the info I can get. I'll be an older mom, so I'll feel rushed to have two as soon as I can. Unfortunately, this may mean having them close together. I don't really want back-to-back babies, but I also don't want to be a 42-year-old mom. I guess it's a toss-up; I have to decide which I'd prefer the least. Still, more opinions would be very welcome. In my family, I was the middle kid, my sister was 3 years older and we weren't close at all. My stepsister was a year younger and we were close by default, because we went to school together, but there was a lot of rivalry. Now my sister and I are relatively (ha) close, but my stepsister and I don't really have a relationship. I think this has more to do with differences in our personalities than spacing issues, but I would like a harmonious home life when I have kids, so I'm definitely open to suggestions. :-)

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 1:22 PM

Seriously, is it a good idea to wear your engagement ring to a job interview?
I have been told more than once that employers do not want to hire people who they think will become pregnant. I can see how a person can make the leap from seeing a ring to pregnancy within a years time. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this one since I have an engagement ring and also a job interview next week.

Posted by: dc fem | February 2, 2007 1:27 PM

The worst advice I ever got was from a lactation consultant who told me I was being "cruel" to my child for nursing him on a pillow. She advised me to hold him only on my arm while cradling his head in my hand (cross-cradle hold). Within a few days my hands were in so much pain that I couldn't unbutton my shirt. It ruined my grip strength permanently.

The best advice I got was from my sister-in-law, who told me that my instincts should supersede all other sources of advice. It really helped when the nurse on the telephone told me not to bring him in to the pediatrician's because I couldn't pin down what seemed wrong with him. Turned out he had pneumonia and was hospitalized within hours.

Posted by: m | February 2, 2007 1:29 PM

My brother was 2 years older. The sibling rivalry was awful. As adults, we don't even speak to each other.

My daughters are 4 years apart, now in high school and college. They are close. One down side is that they were in the same school for only 2 years, K & 4th grade, 1st and 5th grade. That made it a little harder for family scheduling. We did many split duties for school events due to two things happening at the same time at different schools. Not a particularly big deal, but sometimes we would have both liked attending our children's events together.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:32 PM

Fred,

My parents, now in their 80s, still think they're to blame for a sibling's manic-depression. I watched and learned, and came away with guidance I hope I'll never need to use. I am so sorry you and Fredia are dealing with a variety of serious issues. Our prayers are with AF girl, too.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 1:36 PM

"Does anyone have any opinions on how far apart two kids should be spaced? I'm thinking 2 years, but I really don't know, and I'd like to know what you guys think."


Well since this falls in the solicited advice category...
My advice is NOT to make the decision when the child is between 9 and 18 months old -this is generally the honeymoon period when the kids are so sweet. Trust me, the worse it yet to come, and by 4 or 5, their real personalities and needs emerge.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:39 PM

POLL: Born in '73 - mom was a professor (of Nursing) and went back part time when I was 3, full time when 5 1/2. Dad was afternoon caregiver from 6 1/2 on (the year in between was kindergarten, half-day in my district back then, so sitter in afternoons) because Dad taught in my school district. He was also my ride to and from school until I graduated HS, and then he bought a full-size van to get me to college. :)

Posted by: BxNY | February 2, 2007 1:44 PM

This isn't so much "bad" advice as it is annoying. My MIL knew that long ago in my early 20s I had gotten pregnant and subsequently lost the baby early and had a D&C. Her impression was that it was an abortion. So, fast forward 11 years when we finally decided to have children I was very excited and scared at the same time. MIL calls me up and says, "You really should make sure your Dr. is aware that you had an abortion because I read in (some grocery checkout paper) that you are now going to have a premature baby"

After that one, I never listened to any advice she offered.....

Best advice: 1. Nothing will ever take the place of the feeling you get when you look at the wonderful gift God has blessed you with. 2. Be consistent no matter what. 3. You will never spoil a child with too much love, pick them up when they're crying, hug them just because and tell them often how much you love them.

Posted by: cj | February 2, 2007 1:45 PM

Wow! I have a 3 week old I let cry for 10 minutes today! How horrible am I? She settled right down on her own. She was over-tired and over-stimulated and needed a break from me. I checked on her and talked to her, but didn't pick her up. She had been walked for 30 minutes and wasn't settling. So, moral of story, you do what you know is best for your child and don't pay any attention to judgey parents who call you names.

Breastfeeding- It really shouldn't hurt. Get to a lactation consultant ASAP if there are problems. Ours is at the ped's offive and is a God-send. It's been a complete joy for me. And after the baby learns to latch well, get that bottle out and have Dad give a feeding a day. I wouldn't use formula, I'd use pumped breastmilk. She's already sensitive enough to what I eat, so why introduce another thing to her sensitive tummy?

Posted by: atb | February 2, 2007 1:50 PM

For the poll:
I was born in 76 and my mother worked full time throughout my entire childhood. She had my brother in 79.

Posted by: Emmy | February 2, 2007 1:50 PM

My mother (a 1960's mom) stayed home & was intellectually stifled, got a divorce when I was seven or so, went back to school and got two advanced degrees and is now an extremely happy woman. & BTW, my parents are still friends and still exchange birthday and christmas gifts.

Best advise from my nurse MIL, don't be afraid of the baby, she won't break!

Posted by: Pink Plate | February 2, 2007 1:52 PM

Spacing... whoa.

How many times in the littany of (apparently bad) advice on this blog have posters drummed that: Every child is different?

My elder two are 20months apart and I havent seen anything to recommend to anyone that they be more spaced out than they already are.

The yougest is also proof, despite broader spacing, that god has a sense of humor and wanted to needle my wife and me for excessive hubris. Clearly nothing we learned on the first two applies to number three. Very funny oh omnipontent one.

ha.

ha.

Posted by: Fo3 | February 2, 2007 1:56 PM

Sorry, not going to have Barney playing in the background while I am doing that!

LOL!

Posted by: Ew! | February 2, 2007 1:56 PM

"Omnipontent" means you know all the bridges, in case y'all were gonna look it up.

Posted by: Fo3 | February 2, 2007 1:57 PM

POLLS:

Born in 1967. Mom worked outside the home. Dad bailed when he heard of the pregnancy.
I turned out just fine.

Posted by: aging mom | February 2, 2007 1:57 PM

DC Fem--
Wear your ring with pride. It should never be an impediment and I never found it to be.
I was 2 months away from my wedding when I found myself without a job and had to start looking. I was hired almost immediately even though I told them I would either like to start later or would need time off for my honeymoon which had already been scheduled and paid for. It didn't matter to them. They just worked around my needs

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:59 PM

POLL: Born in 1958. Mother went to work at the Pentagon when I was about 1 or 2 years old. When I was between 4 and 6 years old, she was getting her college degree in art at George Washington University (already had two years of college from years before). I should mention that my father worked evenings, so that he took care of me during the day. My mother always talked about the time we met her at the art museum and I was wearing my favorite blue dress -- liberally splattered with paint. She swore that the guards watched to make sure I didn't smear paint on anything.

Anyhow, she was a stay-at-home mother from when I was 6 to 8 years old, when my father passed away. Then she sold mutual funds, insurance and real estate.

Posted by: WMA | February 2, 2007 1:59 PM

Seriously, is it a good idea to wear your engagement ring to a job interview?

dc fem, if I want/need a job, I do my utmost to eliminate knock-out factors. To me, that includes taking off the engagement ring and not talking about future, personal plans. There is an alternative view that you wouldn't want to work for an employer for whom this would be an issue. I'd rather have a job offer I can turn down, then never get a job offer for something unrelated to doing the job. You know your own goals and economics and can decide which camp you fall into.

On the hiring side, I'm not worried about whether and when engaged applicant will get pregnant - particularly in the DC market where there's little correlation between engaged employee and subsequent pregnancy. I have, however, been burned a number of times by the lost productivity of the engaged employee who spends countless work hours and mental time planning her wedding, taking time off to meet with photographers, et al., plus honeymoon time that inevitably involves borrowing not-yet-earned vacation time.

Rebecca in AR, if you're reading, what's your take, generally, on the advisability of neither concealing, nor gratuitously offering, personal information to potential employers that is irrelevant to whether you can do a job?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 1:59 PM

from friends who had a very active toddler when we were pregnant: do all you projects now, your life will never be the same.

Posted by: best advice | February 2, 2007 2:02 PM

DC Fem - I wore my engagement ring proudly to all my job interviews, but didn't mention it otherwise. I did not have a problem. I did not actually get married until about a year after I started my job, so I had plenty of vacation time (and was able to flex my time) to take care of wedding planning and go on our honeymoon. I had a reasonably high-demand skill set, so that might have helped my case, but I don't think the ring impacted my job interviews.

Posted by: FutureMom | February 2, 2007 2:04 PM

"I would like a harmonious home life when I have kids, . . .

Mona,

I can't stop laughing (with you, not at you, as they say) - this is such a worthy goal, and yet it's right up there with "my boyfriend is your husband". Of course, I'm of the view that God alternates between laughing at me and my spouse, on the one hand, and Fo3 and his, on the other.

Maybe if you and your boyfriend become practicing Zen Buddhists, there's hope . . .

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 2:06 PM

Most parents just scoff at any advice I give because I don't have kids.

But my best advice is that "Kids do everything that adults do, they just don't hide it as well. If they are doing it, it's because they were taught it was ok to do."

Worst advice: have kids before you seriously understand and decide to have kids

Posted by: Liz D | February 2, 2007 2:07 PM

Oh, and on spacing: My brothers are 11 and 17 years older than me. While I have the advantages of being both the baby of the family and an only child, it did mean two more people threw in their two cents on what to name me.

Posted by: WMA | February 2, 2007 2:08 PM

Liz D I think that is good advice and so true. Yesterday as my three year old's block tower fell down, I heard her say "oh dammit."

They repeat everything! I have tried to tell my husband that saying he is an adult and can therefore use bad words doesn't cut it to a kid, at least not a small one.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 2:10 PM

About the Nursing Nazis. After several years in LLL meetings at a total of 3 different chapters, I can safely say I never met one who qualifies, even amongst the "granola" types I posted about previously. My sister lives in Boulder -- you'd think if there were Nursing Nazis anywhere, they'd be there. But nary a Nazi in sight. Just a lot of women trying to raise their kids in an environmentally friendly manner. :)

I wonder sometimes if it's maybe an urban myth (kind of like the mommy wars) because most moms seem to want to help each other out.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 2:11 PM

Quark: "best advice i ever got was from a parenting book. my son was behaving in an age appropriate manner that happened to drive me up a wall. read in book that it was age appropriate which dropped my annoyance factor down to where i could handle it. sure enough just like the book said it would my son outgrew it. can you imagine that???? a parenting book was right & they didn't even know my son. how do you think they did that??????"

Doesn't sound like the advise parenting books I have been boringly railing against today but the encyclopedia Spock that I own. There is a difference between information and indoctrination.

POLL: Born in 1967 - 2 older brothers born in 59 and 62. Didn't even know the brother born in 59 till we were adults, he left for college when I was in 4th grade and never moved back home. The brother born in 62 and I have always been close even though we never really went to school together - he was a very sweet older brother and looked out for me. My mom worked when both my brothers were little because my dad was in school, then when I was born and she stayed home till I was in Kindergarten. She worked 20-30 hours/week after that but I never remember her working in the summer? Where did I go if she did work? I'll have to ask. Anyways, mom was always around. Dad was around every evening and weekends.

Posted by: CMAC | February 2, 2007 2:14 PM

"I wonder sometimes if it's maybe an urban myth (kind of like the mommy wars) because most moms seem to want to help each other out."

WorkingMomX, we've had one or two or six post on this blog multiple times. More important, I've encountered several real-life specimens on a playground or two when my daughter was young.

maybe it's in the definition. I'd define a "Nursing Nazi" as a person whom, if a mom makes the mistake of offering any reason to explain either why she did not choose to breastfeed or why she has decided after much considered thought, not to breastfeed a child she's about to deliver, will argue with that mom's reasons and try to convince her to change her mind. A Nursing Nazi is supremely intolerant of bottle-feeding parents and views declining to breastfeed as a decision made in ignorance. Bottle-feeding is never respected as an alternative, informed decision.

If you apply a different definition, it may explain why you've never met one.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:21 PM

is the discussion to wear or not to wear an engagement ring to a job interview for real? Can somebody really discriminate on the basis of an engagement ring? Given that a man does not a wear an engagement ring and may spend some time planning his upcoming wedding (rare, i know) and will take vacation to go on his honeymoon.......you see where I am going with this one.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:22 PM

DC fem, that is just feminist hysteria. Do you think you are the first person to come down the pike who was or is about to be married? Puleeezzee.

Posted by: pATRICK | February 2, 2007 2:25 PM

Maybe we could start a trend where men DO wear engagement rings? Then single women would know not to hit on them before they are married :-)

Posted by: DC lurker | February 2, 2007 2:27 PM

Let them suck their thumbs!

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 2:27 PM

My brother and I are 2 years apart and we have always been best friends. I seriously have no idea what people mean by "sibling rivalry." I talk to him more than any of my other friends, and vice versa. The spacing is important because we went to the same schools. And it's also important to note that we moved around a lot growing up, so we were the only friends each other had most of the time.

Posted by: Meesh | February 2, 2007 2:29 PM

We have an only child a five year old daughter. Everyone I know keeps asking when we are have our second one. I keep
saying we are not.

Is she perfect? No, but who is. She is sweet, knows who to smile, share her toys,
and makes everyone laugh.

We are a small but happy family. My inlaws
want us to have more and at the same time tell me what a horrible mother and wife I am. Fortunately I do not see them often and when I do I try to make it brief.

Posted by: nsd | February 2, 2007 2:30 PM

anon at 2:22:

of course, an employer can discriminate on the basis of an engagement ring or almost any other non-provable bias. Employers decide between multiple candidates with similar credentials and similar expertise all the time. What do you think the choice of whether to call applicant a or applicant b back for a second interview turns on? Subjective factors like, how long will this person stick around, does this person seem mature or settled, did he/she use foul language during the initial interview, will he/she fit in the work environment here, is she/he a quick learner, was she condescending to our receptionist while here for her initial interview, etc. Add to that, based on last week, is he/she fat? How does any applicant prove what subjective characteristics made her interview a ding instead of a second-interview opportunity?

an employer makes the best hiring decision for his business, within the bounds of the law.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:30 PM

To the 2:21 poster:

I'm sorry that you've had those experiences on the playground. I don't know what would cause someone to get in your face about such a personal decision. It's good that you were secure enough in your choices to be able to hold your own. I think people who are kind of fanatic in any extreme are difficult to deal with.

I feel sorry for people who are intolerant of the other side, because I think that deep down, they must on some level question whether their own decisions were right. I breastfed my kids and would do it again but completely support the decision to bottlefeed. (Not that it matters what I think about someone else's parenting decisions. I'm just saying.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 2:31 PM

NC Lawyer, yeah, I suppose that is a pretty lofty goal. ::shrug:: Oh well...the funny thing is my BF IS a practicing Buddhist, though not as involved as he used to be since he moved from his childhood city. We decided when I move out there to go to law school, we'll find a regular church in our city and still make weekend visits to his childhood church. I don't belong to one particular religion, but I'm certainly interested in learning as much as I can, so hey, maybe with some help we CAN have a harmonious home life. Oh wait...see now I'm making myself laugh. Heh. :-)

Posted by: Mona | February 2, 2007 2:31 PM

Scarry is Irish?!?!?!

Posted by: Wait a Minute . . . | February 2, 2007 2:36 PM

This is more of worst comment than advice from the instructor of a breastfeeding "class": If you're breastfeeding correctly, it won't hurt. HA! It hurt like crazy the first week and the lactation consultant at the hospital assured me I wasn't doing anything wrong and neither was my son. It took a week before my body became accustomed to it and I stopped getting cracks.

Best advice was to be consistent and to trust my instincts.

Mona, be careful about thinking you have all the time in the world, especially if you know that you want to have kids eventually that share your genes. Not saying go out and get pregnant right now, just don't wait too long; 35 is starting to push it. Chances are very high that most, maybe all, the "older (late 40's and older)" women in the news giving birth to babies had babies from a donated egg not the birth mother's egg. Just something to think about.

As for the pushy relatives who wanted to know WHEN I was going to get pregnant, I told them to ask God since I had no clue. Needless to say, it didn't take too long before they stopped hounding me.

Posted by: MAY | February 2, 2007 2:47 PM

Wait a Minute . . . , Pay attention, dude. She said that last week a couple of times. Sometimes you need more coffee.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:47 PM

Never deny a child a drink of water!

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 2:48 PM

the worst advice we've gotten so far is:

"don't introduce a bottle until the baby is 2 months old or so"

We waited that long and ours is now 4 months and won't take one, period. Every feeding since her birth in September has been me. Every one. I've been away from her twice in 4 months(for 2 hrs each time, with DH putting up with her crying from hunger after trying the bottle AGAIN for the last 30 min both times)...I love her more than anything, more than I ever thought possible, but we have to figure out how to get food in her some other way than just from me. Does anyone have any suggestions that aren't 'try ____ bottles/nipples'? We've spent over $150 on every different type of nipple and bottle on the market in the US and even some Canadian suggestions and tried every different combination of them with formula and breastmilk and nothing works. HELP. I just want to be able to go get a pedicure. : )

Posted by: New SAHM in TX | February 2, 2007 2:49 PM

You must be kidding - I read this blog all the time and I've never seen Scarry bring up her ethnicity.

Posted by: Wait a Minute | February 2, 2007 2:50 PM

My sis and I are 2 years apart. Both of us have 2 kids each, spaced 2 years apart.

We're all fine.

Don't obsess over the "perfect" interval to space your children. If you're lucky enough to get pregnant when you want to, that's great. Otherwise, just roll with it. Everyone will be OK!

Posted by: 2 years apart | February 2, 2007 2:50 PM

I don't know if any of you feel the same way about this as I do but, in my opinion, the worst advice I have received (and continue to receive) is that I should wean my son off of his bottle onto a sippy cup.

I understand that sippy cups can be useful in many situations; however, why does it seem that kids are encouraged to use sippy cups before using regular cups? Most sippy cups, to me, seem like bottles with spouts. The child must still suck to receive any fluid. My son is 18 months old and while that may seem a little old to still drink out of a bottle, he can also drink out of regular adult-sized (he never liked the kid-sized) cups on his own. As with most toddlers, he's a little picky and will only use the cup at certain times so we use a bottle for the rest of his daily drinks. It is my hope that by encouraging him to use a cup on a regular basis we may be able to just end the bottles one day and just use adult cups.

Posted by: RT | February 2, 2007 2:50 PM

"Wait a Minute . . . , Pay attention, dude. She said that last week a couple of times. Sometimes you need more coffee."

Pretty sure they were being sarcastic :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:52 PM

Mona -- only advice I can offer on spacing is not to become wedded to any particular plan until after you have your first. We weren't sure we wanted more than one, but I KNEW that if we did have two, I wanted them close together. Then it took two years, miscarriages, surgeries, etc. to have even one. And she turned out to be Little Miss Thang, so it took three years before even the thought of a second child didn't make my head explode!! Then we started trying again, another miscarriage, and my husband got laid off and we relocated. So I once again couldn't even think of a new baby for another year. Finally, I steeled myself for another long struggle -- and we got pregnant first try. Go figure. :-)

End result: kids are 4.5 yrs apart. Definitely longer than in my "perfect world." But it turned out for the best -- my daughter was so high-maintenance that she really needed to be old enough to have developed some patience while I dealt with the baby (and the verbal ability to talk when she's upset instead of hitting/acting out). Plus she's old enough to "help," which, given her extremely strong personality and desire to be competent and in control, was absolutely the single best thing that helped her adjust to this cute little mommy-attention-sucking creature.

Point is, it's good to think about the pros and cons of every side, but also be prepared to go with the flow of what life hands you, and be willing to change course if/when that initial plan doesn't look so hot any more. I never thought I'd be an "old mom" myself; we got married at 30 and started trying at 32, so who knew I'd give birth 3 months before I turned 40?? None of those struggles were in my "plan" for a happy life. :-) But I wouldn't trade my little guy for anything -- even if I will be paying college tuition when I'd really, really like to be retired. :-)

Posted by: Laura | February 2, 2007 2:53 PM

For New SAHM in Texas:

Been there! DD would not take a bottle from anyone, no matter what until our God-send of a babysitter arrived. For whatever reason she was able to get DD to take the bottle after about 10 minutes of gentle coaxing (singing, rocking, brushing the nipple to her lips). Now she'll take a bottle from anyone with no problem. I think in our case everyone that was trying to bottle feed her (me, dad, grandma, aunts, friends) was so worried about it that the baby sensed our tension and reacted badly. Or maybe the novelty of having a brand-new person offer the bottle was enough. Keep trying! Try gently, try often, and don't lose hope!

Posted by: bottle trouble | February 2, 2007 2:56 PM

"Bottle-feeding is never respected as an alternative, informed decision."

Perhaps because some people do not believe that it's an informed decision to choose to bottle-feed. If that makes them BFN's, so be it, but there's nothing wrong with not having respect for something that you don't feel is the best alternative.

I would define a BFN as a person who confronts bottle-feeders about their choices or who tries to engage bottle-feeders in arguments and/or discussions without being asked for their opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 2:56 PM

I'd just like to point out to those that didn't like the advice about having kids when you're young. I would like to mention that this could potentially be very good advice since the older you are, the harder it can be to get pregnant and you may need fertility intervention. I waited until I was 38 to start trying and no assitance worked. I am happy to say that we were blessed with a darling 13 month old little girl we adopted last year. So, just because you want to wait, doesn't mean you may not want to try a "little sooner than later" and have a little more time to work through any difficulites. Or, know in advance, that adoption is a wonderful way to become a parent.

Posted by: new reader | February 2, 2007 3:01 PM

anon at 2:56 posts:

"but there's nothing wrong with not having respect for something that you don't feel is the best alternative."

When one parent's "feelings" about whether an alternative is "best" or "good" trumps her respect for other parent's decisions, she is appropriately labeled a santimonious pain in the derrier and, yes, she's WRONG.


Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:07 PM

Fred, yes I did get the problem resolved, but i can still remember the intense pain of it. I breastfed for over two years and i'm glad I stuck with it as it was super convenient, but I really wish i had hired a consultant to advise me earlier. I was being cheap and proud and stubborn and everyone was telljng me "oh I had that and just went away after X weeks."

Alrington, i understand what you are saying-- when I explained my intention to return to work immediately after birth, a supervisor said "don't be so sure! You may change your mind!" I found it incredibly condesening that he would think that I don't know my own mind and personality.

But, shockingly enough, he was right. I had enough money to step off the career ladder for a couple of years, although i may have to delay retirement for few years longer than I otherwise would have. But, I really enjoyed staying home. I'm back at work and love it, but I was shocked that I also really enjoyed staying home. i really thought I knew myself, but motherhood really threw me for a loop.

Posted by: Cal Girl | February 2, 2007 3:09 PM

Is it a really big change going from 2 kids to 3? My two boys are 2 years apart, and we have discussed having a third when the youngest is 3 so there would be a bigger space between kids. Just curious as to anyone's experience in going from 2 to 3 kids....

Posted by: cg | February 2, 2007 3:12 PM

New Reader...

That isn't the advice we "waiters" normally have gotten. Instead, we start being told in our early 20's how we're getting old fast and need to get on a baby-making regime now. In fact, we're sometimes told we should have started in our teens to make sure we wouldn't be "old parents".

The pressure is sometimes more than a bit ridiculous to do it now...even if you arent sure you should do it at all.

I'm not waiting anymore, but since our son will be born when I'm 30, I know I'm not going to be a super young mom. I'm ok with that.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 3:13 PM

Worst advice: Don't continue breastfeeding your baby when you return to work because if you do, you won't be a good lawyer and sufficiently available to partners/clients who may need you. This advice was from my formal partner mentor at the law firm where I worked at the time, and came during our formal conversation about my plans to return to work after maternity leave part time (i.e., this was the partner "assigned" by the partnership to have this discussion with me). This partner also happened to be the only female partner in my department with young children, and only one of 2 female partners at all. I remember her saying something along the lines of - "don't listen to people who tell you it's best to breastfeed your baby. My child was formula fed and he's perfectly fine. If you're going to be pumping often at work, or if nursing interferes with your ability to stay late at the office unexpectedly, people might question your dedication and work ethic." Oh, and I'll just add - this partner was an employment lawyer.

I ignored this advice (as did most other female associates)! And obviously, pumping at work doesn't have to interfere with your ability to get your job done - maybe the partner has to wait to talk to me during the 15 minutes I'm pumping, but he also can't talk to me if I'm on the phone with another client/partner, in a meeting, at court, or in the bathroom. Totally ridiculous, and most people in practice didn't have a problem with it (or even know that the reason I was temporarily unavailable was because I was pumping). Those that did didn't have a problem with the fact I was unavailable - they had a problem with the reason I was unavailable.

Posted by: Anne NJ | February 2, 2007 3:15 PM

I think the "old parents" debate is one worth having as you age - my husband is an only of parents 43 years older than he, now with Parkinson's, and he hates it. I don't know how I feel about it personally, I can see both sides here, but still..

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:18 PM

Spacing. I have four boys; the first two 11 years apart, then a 4 year gap, then a 5 1/2 year gap. (Yes, same father.) In other words, the oldest and the youngest are 20 years apart. They are all grown and to my great surprise they are all great friends. So as far as kids are concerned I think spacing should be a non-issue.
HOWEVER, constantly getting up to speed again on baby-slavery difficult for the stay-at-home parent. In my next life I will have them all in 4 years and then resume career ASAP.
As for two middle names: First son was given husband's family name; second son was given my family name; third son also. When 4th came along I badly wanted to use my mother's maiden name - husband badly wanted to use HIS mother's maiden name. So we used both.
Twist - I thought it only fair that husband had a second child to name after his family - ONLY YEARS LATER DID IT OCCUR TO ME THAT ALL FOUR HAD HIS LAST NAME.

Posted by: Janie | February 2, 2007 3:19 PM

New SAHM in Texas:

My 4th would never take a bottle from me, he would hold out well over 12 hours to get to the real McCoy.

I did find a trick though that would help a little bit. I would go into my wife's dirty laundry and fish out a nursing bra and shirt my wife had worn. Then I would tease the baby's nose with them and then sneak a bottle in his mouth. I think it had something to do with the smell.

Then when he found out he had been duped, he would rip the bottle out of his mouth and try to throw it at me.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 3:22 PM

Thanks to all of the polite people who weighed in on my dilemma. I have to say that I am leaning more toward not wearing it after someone wisely suggested that their thoughts went straight to a loss of productivity due to wedding planning activies, honeymoon, etc. I hate it when people try to squeeze in personal questions in job interviews so I don't want to leave that door open. And I do think that HR people are fair to wonder if someone might be using company time to plan personal events.

Posted by: dc fem | February 2, 2007 3:22 PM

I had my baby at 35, my best friend had hers at 18. Now, we're 50. I'm dealing with a teenager. She has grandchildren. I'm going to school conferences. She is traveling the country. I wish I had been younger. She wishes she had been older. We both see the good and bad of being younger and older mothers. We both wish we had the babies between the ages of 26-30.

Posted by: xyz | February 2, 2007 3:24 PM

""Catmommy, just like your mil, I think you should get busy making babies as soon as possible. :-)"

Because she's a woman, and that's what she should do, right?

Have you worn out your wife, you're ready to move on to the next fertile woman?

You really are a pig."

Um, I think Father of 4 was KIDDING! It's called a joke. Alternatively, he might like his own kids so much that he knows someone else would have to be insane not to be crazy about their own. Either way, it was not offensive.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 3:26 PM

to dc fem:

whatever you do, spare your coworkers the blow by blow account of your wedding planning. I can't tell you how many coworkers I've had to hear drone on and on about caterers and gowns all day for months, while shirking their actual work responsibilities. So much effort for a stupid one-day party? Get over it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:27 PM

I wasn't going to enter into the fray about wearing the ring at an interview, but DC Fem, I just have to. Wouldn't you rather work for a company that was reasonable in terms of understanding work-life balance instead of one that expected from the get-go that you would have no life outside of work?

I just think you'd be happier in the long run.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 2, 2007 3:28 PM

CG, going from 1 to 2 is twice as hard. Going from 2 to 3 is 4 times as hard, and going from 3 to 4, it starts leveling out to be about 5 times as hard.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 3:28 PM

I also meant no offense by the "science experiment" crack, I just don't personally believe if some of the so-called "fertility treatments" for moral, health, and personal reasons. Did not mean to implicate anyone else's decisions in that regard. Poor choice of words, I know. I just know what some friends of my family go through, and I don't know how they don't feel like science experiments with everyone poking around, giving shots, keeping calendars, etc. It wasn't intended to be rude.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 3:29 PM

bad advice: Give the kid Benadryl to make him sleep on a plane.

Sometimes it makes him sleepy, other times it makes him a wild man. Guess which one happened on the flight.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:38 PM

some parenting books are indoctrination (can anybody spell james dobson??) and some are quite good. i read them all and gleaned useful information from all of them, even the bad ones. if nothing else the bad ones were lessons on what not to do. (what exactly is dobson's problem with dr spock?)

somebody recommended the book 1,2,3 magic & i read that. i think it's super and was glad somebody mentioned it. would it work for your child, maybe, maybe not. it worked for me. i let a friend borrow it & it works for her. she let another friend borrow it & it works for that friend. still no gaurantee that it will work for you but if you are having a problem with your child wouldn't you like to know what might work?

Posted by: quark | February 2, 2007 3:47 PM

I don't get the 'science experiment' opinion. If you have cancer and you need medications and shots to get better, does that make your body a science experiment? I am simply a woman, who's reproductive parts aren't working properly. I am seeking medical attention to fix it. I am NOT a science experiment!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 3:53 PM

Catmommy,

When Fo4 sends you a personal post it usually means he's noticed something special about you. He gets his fair share of insults hurled his way, but only by anonamous or unknown posters. No one agrees with everything he says, but I think he is both very entertaining and mysterious.

Posted by: Common Lurker | February 2, 2007 3:55 PM

Having no children, how about moving from 2 cats to three cats? At what point do I become the Crazy Cat Lady? ;-)

Before anyone starts, I do not think pets = children.....

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 3:59 PM

"Chances are very high that most, maybe all, the "older (late 40's and older)" women in the news giving birth to babies had babies from a donated egg not the birth mother's egg. Just something to think about."


What's to think about? Mona's not talking about having babies when she's 48. She might want to have her first in her early 30s and her second at 35. We got pregnant the first month both times, at ages 34 and 40. The scare stories to women who don't want to pop 'em out at 24 -27 have gotten more and more shrill. There's a grain of truth, but the fear-mongerers have gone wild.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:00 PM

About the "science experiment" comments: I always thought that reproductive medicine was extreme and that I would never want to subject myself to any of it. If I had any problems, I would "just adopt." However, it's amazing how my feelings changed when I couldn't seem to get pregnant at 30 years old. Adopting was a lot harder than I'd thought it would be and I think I had always taken it for granted that I would be able to get pregnant when the time came. All of the sudden, all those "science experiments" didn't seem so strange or far-fetched anymore. It's a lot easier to judge what you "think" you'd do when you're not in the situation, but life has a way of making you change your mind. Luckily, I did get pregnant eventually without too much help, but I'll never feel the same way or be as judgemental of others and their "experiments" in order to have a child. You just can't know how you're really going to feel until it happens to you.

Posted by: TS | February 2, 2007 4:01 PM

quark: "still no gaurantee that it will work for you but if you are having a problem with your child wouldn't you like to know what might work?"

Already been answered somewhere above. I try not to make mountains out of molehills and am pretty choosey about advise - some women thrive on the "newest and latest" parenting books but I could care less. Again, if there is a real problem arming yourself with inforamtion is great, but there can be overload.

Don't know why Dobson does not like Spock but I think Spock is unfairly portrayed by many "social conservative" parenting experts.

Thankfully those will be my last comments on parenting books (and why not to read them), silent Hooray! Even if the anonymous poster antagonizes me.

Right now I am going to watch Monty Python's Holy Grail with the kids - they saw a clip of it last night and were laughing hysterically. Can't remember if there are raunchy parts but will be armed with the remote just in case.

Have a great weekend everyone and watch the traffic this afternoon in the DC area - it is cold and rainy.

Posted by: CMAC | February 2, 2007 4:03 PM

New SAHM in Texas:

Good luck! The Baby Whisperer, a book I love, suggests trying to find a bottle that most closely matches your own nipples. She's got other good advice in general on this point, so it might be worth a read.

A few other ideas ...

That said, how hard does your baby have to suck to get milk on breast vs. bottle? Think about trying to match that up as closely as possible -- if it flows easily from Moma, go with a bottle with more or larger holes for the milk to come through. If your little one is used to working hard to get milk, the bottle might be overwhelming because it can flow faster.

Also, are you feeding pumped milk? That would probably be the easiest for the transition.

Finally, you should try giving the bottle. Some people say to avoid that, but if you are there, your baby might not be as anxious. (And the other way isn't working, so why not?)

Good luck. I breastfed exclusively for 6 months with my daughter, so literally every meal was from me. She did take a bottle of pumped milk on occasion, so that helped, but I remember so intensely how stressful it was to leave her and wonder if I could pump enough, etc.

Posted by: VAMom | February 2, 2007 4:03 PM

..there are raunchy parts. Fastforward when they get to the Nunnery.

Posted by: CMAC | February 2, 2007 4:05 PM

ooops, meant "TO CMAC"

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:06 PM

"Does anyone have any opinions on how far apart two kids should be spaced? I'm thinking 2 years, but I really don't know, and I'd like to know what you guys think."

I have one brother 10 years older and one 2 years older. I think 2 years is much better. I don't have much of a relationship with my oldest brother due, I think, mostly to the age difference. But I'm more friends with my other brother. Growing up we did have a lot of the normal kid squabbling but nothing too serious.

But it really depends. There are 2 1/2 years between my #1 and #2 kids and only 22 months between #2 and #3. #1 slept through the night early so so I had over two years of sleeping well before #2 arrived. So physically I was in pretty good shape to deal with a newborn. Unfortunately, #2 has never been a good sleeper. So at this point, I haven't slept well in over 2 years. Ironically #3 (at 3 months) sleeps all night but #2 is still the one waking me up in the wee hours. But #1 and #2 are starting to get pretty good at playing with each other without someone crying all the time. There are ups and downs to everything.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | February 2, 2007 4:07 PM

"Having no children, how about moving from 2 cats to three cats? At what point do I become the Crazy Cat Lady? ;-)"

You have to factor in the square-footage of your dwelling and the human-to-animal ratio in your home.

For example, I have 1200 square feet, 2 humans, and 2 cats. That is only one cat per person, and everyone has plenty of space. I'm thinking about getting a puppy, which might make it more cramped and furry, but at least there is no such thing as a "crazy dog person."

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:08 PM

One more thing -- you also have to consider inside vs. outside cats. You can have more cats without risking being a crazy cat lady if they are allowed outside and aren't always underfoot. If they stay inside exclusively, that leaves fewer cats are allowable before you get the dreaded nomenclature.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:10 PM

"If you have cancer and you need medications and shots to get better, does that make your body a science experiment?"

Kind of! Especially when you get into experimental treatments and new drug trials, and are written up in medical journals, etc.

Posted by: frankenstein | February 2, 2007 4:13 PM

Comparing having cancer to reproductive issues is an apples and oranges issue. I'm sure anyone with cancer would probably find that statement a tad insulting.

Indeed, while heartbreaking, one will not die from not reproducing. Being informed you have cancer, and these are the steps you need to take to attempt to improve your quality of life are **quite** different than choosing have a child.

Posted by: DifferentIssue | February 2, 2007 4:16 PM

Figure on 1 litterbox per cat. Thus, how many litterboxes do you have room for?

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 4:17 PM

hmmmm....guess I better stick with my two furryballs. 650 sf condo, 1 human, 2 kitties. Until of course I buy that creepy old Victorian house....you know the one!

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 4:19 PM

Another consideration is how rambunctious (spelling?) they are. Mine are pretty hyper. If yours just lay around all day one more might not hurt.

Another issue is fur -- if you've stopped wearing black because of all the fur, you might be maxed out on cats.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:22 PM

"If you have cancer and you need medications and shots to get better, does that make your body a science experiment?"


I've tried to think about why fertility treatments are some sort of dividing line between women who otherwise agree on a lot. Sure, some of it is that "what would I do if" is only an academic discussion for some of us, and very, very real to those who cannot conceive. But infertility is not cancer. An infertile person will not die if she does not conceive. It's more like cosmetic surgery to remove a sixth toe - something I'd like if they were bigger, but not life-threatening. That's what makes the inordinate expense, time commitment, commitment to clomide and other hormone medications incomprehensible to some who haven't experienced infertility. There are many women for whom delivering their own genetic baby is a key experience they want out of life. It's not for me. I want to be a mom, but whether the baby has my or my husband's DNA is such a non-issue for us. I'm not a better person, or smarter, or more balanced, nor do I have better values than someone who decides differently.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:24 PM

I have four cats in an 1100 sq ft townhouse. I also have a dog. Am I officially eligible for crazy cat status yet or does the dog negate it?

Posted by: TS | February 2, 2007 4:24 PM

Catmommy, thanks for accepting my earlier comment to you as more as a term of endearment than a sexists slam. When people have said to me things like "I think you would make a good father", or "You should have kids", I've always taken it as a huge compliment.

Missicat, I can't wait to read your guest blog! In 300 words or less, It'l be tough.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 4:26 PM

I would say "crazy cat person" status is based on the totality of the circumstances. There are no bright lines to draw.

Plus, I think you have to have wild, frizzy gray hair and talk to yourself on the street corner to officially be a crazy cat person.

And yes, people, I know I'm not really a "mommy" because I have cats, because that would be another telltale sign of a crazy cat person.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:28 PM

to 4:24 - are you infertile? All I'm saying is that it might be a "non-issue" for you and your husband because it is not something you're currently facing if you haven't discovered you're infertile. That's why I think you're able to compare it to having a superfluous toe. That analogy makes as little sense as comparing infertility to cancer. I have known many people whose lives were ruined by infertility. One woman committed suicide over it. For people who want that badly to have a biological child, it can indeed feel life or death. But I think that's very difficult to understand or empathize until you've been in that person's shoes. I thought it was a "non-issue" for me and my husband too. I was wrong, and far too cavalier about it.

Posted by: TS | February 2, 2007 4:29 PM

To TC: "I have four cats in an 1100 sq ft townhouse. I also have a dog. Am I officially eligible for crazy cat status yet or does the dog negate it?"

Not necessarily crazy, with or without dog. Depends on various factors, including the behavior of the cats, the size and behavior of dog, their ages, etc.

Try the odor test: When you walk in from outside, can you smell the critters, or the cats' litterboxes? If so, it's too many.

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 4:30 PM

Yes, and I NEVER refer to my cats as my babies! Really! And I never ever talk to them!

*beginning to worry*

Posted by: Missicat | February 2, 2007 4:31 PM

Wow, there is just so much bad advice, I have a hard time carving off a sub-set. People offer you tons of helpful suggestions when your child is not "normal"; usually they have NO idea. I think one of my favorites, however (about anything having to do with parenting), is "just relax!" Uh huh. Because nothing could be easier.

NOW: about that breastfeeding. I nursed twins for 6 months, then tapered them off. Some "granola" moms I know are still howling (some blame my third son's autism on my breastfeeding him far too short a time!).

But I was making over 200 ounces a day and pumping, because I worked full-time - it was a second job! I was a cow. With that preface, I have a couple of pieces of good advice, and Fred has already given one - if it hurts, get help right away. Waiting only leads to chafing and lots of crying (by YOU, the baby may make it). And lots of negative feelings that make it even harder. The other is to drink so much water you believe you might qualify as a reservoir. EACH time you sit down to nurse, drink a LARGE glass of water. You really wouldn't believe how much it helps. You can't get blood from a stone, and you can't get milk from a mummy. Pun intended, I guess. Neither of these pieces of advice will help with everything, but I think that neither piece of advice can hurt anybody.

Posted by: badmommy | February 2, 2007 4:32 PM

All the catlady talk reminds me of the simpsons. You know the crazy lady who throws cats at people.

Posted by: scarry | February 2, 2007 4:33 PM

'Let them suck their thumbs!'

the babies or the engaged men?

Posted by: experienced mom | February 2, 2007 4:34 PM

I equate fertility treatment less like removal of an extra toe and more like a boob job. If someone doesn't like their breasts they may choose to get them fixed or leave them.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:34 PM

Hi new SAHM in Tx.,

I also have BTDT. For us the solution was the Avent soft-spout cup. Have you tried it? Your dh can just tip a little liquid into her mouth -- believe me she will not get dehydrated in the time it takes you to get a pedicure! I'm not an employee of Avent :-) -- other companies make a soft-spout cup as well... Avent was just the one we happened to use.

Posted by: To new SAHM in Tx. | February 2, 2007 4:34 PM

I love that crazy cat lady character on The Simpsons. I hope to be her someday.

One of my four cats is a 25 lb Maine Coon mix. He takes up as much space as two cats and probably creates even more of a smell. He's pretty much useless since all he does is eat, sleep, and poo with his lack of mobility. But we love him anyway. Do I get a special dispensation for him?

Posted by: TS | February 2, 2007 4:37 PM

I equate fertility treatment less like removal of an extra toe and more like a boob job. If someone doesn't like their breasts they may choose to get them fixed or leave them.

Posted by: | February 2, 2007 04:34 PM

That was my original simile, but I thought I would be accused of being cavalier - go figure. To me, infertility is in the category of things about one's body that I would accept, not move heaven and earth to change. Others feel differently. Clearly.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:38 PM

Yes there is such a thing as the crazy dog lady - I had a neighbor who was one. She had two BIG dogs (about 100 lbs) in a townhouse. They had no training (it was cruel) and were totally out of control. One day one got away from her and ran across the street as I was walking my dog. She blamed me (I should have gone the other way).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 4:39 PM

"I equate fertility treatment less like removal of an extra toe and more like a boob job."

That makes much more sense now, thanks for clarifying. I've always felt that my right ovary was a little on the puny side, do you think I should have it augmented or would that just be vain?

Posted by: TS | February 2, 2007 4:41 PM

"One of my four cats is a 25 lb Maine Coon mix."

Wow. He's hard to fit into the "crazy cat person" equation. He's as big as two cats and probably poops as much as two cats, but doesn't move around a lot to get into things and get fur everywhere... I'd just count him as one.

Plus, it's not like you can throw him at anyone like the Simpson's lady.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:41 PM

To New Sahm in Texas,

I was so desperate that I spent like $100 bucks on a special-order type of bottle shaped like an actual breast because it was "guaranteed" to be accepted by any baby. total waste of money. After rejecting everything for weeks, she finally ended up taking an Avent bottle I could buy at the local drugstore.

The breast-bottle is hilarious looking. I want to cry when I think of how desperate I was back then.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:42 PM

Bless you, TS. I wish that everyone would take that attitude: you don't know unless you have been there. It is hardest with people who are grieving - and a lot of infertile people are - to do or say the right thing. Kindness, and withholding judgment where it is not destined to improve the person, are never misplaced in this ugly world.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:43 PM

re: monty python

I haven't seen the scene where Galahad finds the castle full of women who want sex..um hm...in years. I've skipped over it.

Which reminds me. It took me 20 years to figure out conniggits was knights said in psuedo-french. I even laugh at me.

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 4:44 PM

worst advice? Stop the pill several months before you want to get pregnant because it will take a while - NOT.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:46 PM

'CG, going from 1 to 2 is twice as hard. Going from 2 to 3 is 4 times as hard, and going from 3 to 4, it starts leveling out to be about 5 times as hard.'

I actually thought 1 to 2 was the hardest at 22 months apart, because the older one would run away from me. 2 to 3 was easier, because the 5 and 3 year old minded me (well sometimes) and they were helpful. from 3 to 4, with the oldest at age 7, seven days before school let out for the summer, that was Chaos!!!

Monty Python 'there are raunchy parts. Fast forward when they get to the Nunnery.'
Don't worry, your children's classmates have probably already recited the dirty parts word for word. A lot of it may be in the eye of the beholder, anyway. When my daughter started a new school, monty python was a great conversation starter!


Posted by: experienced mom | February 2, 2007 4:47 PM

WORST ADVICE -- When I remarked to my sister that my DD just didn't like a pacifier (consistently spit it out), she explained to me that I had to TRAIN her to use it by holding it in her mouth, offering it consistently to soothe, etc. This is how she did it with her children. In my sleep-deprived state, I was faithfully pushing the darn thing back in her mouth in the middle of the night when the light bulb lit -- in a few years, I was going to have to TRAIN her NOT to use it. Seemed awfully silly and I threw them out.

POLL -- Born in 1965. My mom stayed home until my youngest sister (born 1969) went to school full time, then she worked part-time until my dad left her once youngest graduated from HS.

ONLY CHILDREN -- My daughter is now 8 and will be an only child. Not what we planned when we discussed getting pregnant, but it just sort of ended up this way and it turns out it suits us. I'm always horrified by those who suggest, in hushed, ominous tones, we should have another child "in case, heaven forbid, your daughter dies." Like having a spare tire or something. Can't think of a WORSE reason to have a child.

SPACING: Yeah, we have an only, but as one who originally thought we'd have at least two, we thought 2-3 years would be ideal. My friends with children spaced very far apart (5 years or more) have a hard time finding activities that both children enjoy. My sisters and I were spaced about 2 years apart and we fought like cats and dogs. We didn't become close until we became parents (ironically, we all had children the same year).

NOTE ON "PLANNING" PREGNANCIES, SPACING, ETC. -- Before I was pregnant, I was all over the planning thing. Then, I found out that, while it's absolutely a good idea to make sure your expectations and finances are ready before you embark on parenthood, there's just no planning. I vowed I'd never be hugely pregnant in our 110+ degree summers. My daughter was born in July. I vowed I'd never have an only child. Well, here I am happily parenting an only. Be prepared to roll with whatever life gives you.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | February 2, 2007 4:48 PM

not really worst advice, but what's up with elderly relatives and overdressing infants? We had both of our children in late September in Virginia. A onesie was plenty in our air-conditioned to 85 degree (I was saving on the electric bill to cover the cost of the diapers) condo in Alexandria, and it was 96 degrees in the shade outside for most of October. The aunts and one grandmother would put a hat on, socks on, pants, sweaters until each child looked like a Russian peasant child in February. We were constantly told that we were inadequate parents and our kids would catch cold. The sweat was dripping down their poor little faces until our relatives left each day.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 4:48 PM

"Yes there is such a thing as the crazy dog lady - I had a neighbor who was one. She had two BIG dogs (about 100 lbs) in a townhouse. They had no training (it was cruel) and were totally out of control. One day one got away from her and ran across the street as I was walking my dog. She blamed me (I should have gone the other way)."

I stand corrected. :)

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 4:52 PM

regarding the 4 month old who doesn't like bottles. talk to your doctor about starting cereal. it's not too early to feed cereal once a day, and takes a few weeks to get established anyway, then the baby will go longer between feedings. (Advised by my doctor for my fourth baby, possibly to keep me sane!)

Posted by: experienced mom | February 2, 2007 4:53 PM

Vegas Mom, well said.

For anyone who has a marriage criteria list, I'd add: marry someone who is prepared to roll with what life gives you.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 4:55 PM

NC lawyer,
Third date tomorrow. Did you see what I wrote about him forgetting our brunch?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 4:57 PM

klb...you didn't write your date info to me, but I'm pulling for you too! I remember he forgot but it was a good reason? I need to fix my rememberer.

Posted by: dotted | February 2, 2007 5:00 PM

His son had trouble with homework and he got engrossed. Getting angry not good plan but file away to make sure not a pattern, right?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 5:02 PM

KLB - yes, I remember :>) I hope this one's as enjoyable as the first two. Identifying a pattern is a skill developed in one's thirties as I recall, of necessity.

Note to self: add to criteria for KLB : not a subscriber to ABD mindset.

and now before our anonymous snarkers get annoyed at 5:05 off-topic postings . . .

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 2, 2007 5:05 PM

NC lawyer - let them eat cake!
What is ABD mindset?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 5:07 PM

ABD? Please explain.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 5:08 PM

"anyone but Duke" - am I confusing my friends?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 5:08 PM

OK - I confess - I am lost. Even if ABD is "anyone but Duke" how does that affect me? Maybe I have missed something about you southerners - I am a yankee ya know even tho I live in MD now.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 5:10 PM

Cake? Actually, it was brioche.

"S'ils n'ont plus de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 5:11 PM

Ahhh Let them eat Duke?

Ahhh.

Bach.

Posted by: Brioche | February 2, 2007 5:13 PM

See, this can be fun "after blog hours". Live vicariously.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 5:14 PM

TGIF, KLB SS MD!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 5:16 PM

TGIF, KLB SS MD!!!
I second that emotion.
Happy Hour has already started!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 5:20 PM

To New SAHM in TX,

What worked for me (exact same scenario) was me actually trying to give her the bottle (the general advice is stay out out of the house completely so the baby does not even smell you). When I nursed, I would also hold a bottle with expressed BM in it and let her play with it, importantly, there must be no pressure on the baby to take it. Eventually she tried it and was willing to drink it. You should have seen how happy I was the first day she drank 2 ounces! The thing is, once you get your baby to take a bottle, you really have to have the baby do it regularly or she will forget about. I went through this scenario more than once due to becoming lax about it. Good luck.

Posted by: AU Park mom | February 2, 2007 5:22 PM

Brrr! Went outside to snap shots of fresh snow on neighbor's dead sunflowers -- can hardly wait to download images, then send to friends in snow-free zones -- simply amazing!!! Cat, however, declined opportunity to accompany me on the walk-about.

Posted by: catlady | February 2, 2007 5:57 PM

Thank goodness for yak trax on the ice!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 6:03 PM

thanks so much for all the suggestions - I just got to read them all after spending the entire afternoon feeding. ; )

We started cereal last weekend, she mostly plays with it right now but it's only been 6 times, so we'll keep at it on that front.

I'm going to try a cup this weekend (seems like the experiments always go down with DH around, I don't have the mental endurance to try round 116 of 'here baby eat from this please, PLEASE' on my own anymore!)

And honestly it's just encouraging to know that others have had the same problem - people keep asking us incredulously 'why haven't you all had a date night and left her with a sitter?' BELIEVE ME WE'D LOVE TO - I'm not one of those people who's afraid of leaving her even with a responsible adult, I just don't want said responsible adult to hate me for saddling him/her with a squalling, hungry monster long enough for us to go out to eat or just to a coffee house. I'm hoping that solids will help and maybe the cup will too. Thanks again all and have a good weekend.

Posted by: New SAHM in TX | February 2, 2007 6:10 PM

experienced mom, 'the babies or the engaged men?' may explain why I'm regressing.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 6:20 PM

Father of 4,
I usually find your posts quite amusing. One thing I was just wondering about as I sat here and watched it snow. How do you maneuver in the ice? I have a heck of a time and I can see.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 2, 2007 6:24 PM

Worst advice: no matter what you do, you can't control your child's choices when it comes to friends.

Best advice: if your child "falls in" with the wrong crowd, end it, even if you have to move to another town to do it.

Posted by: MomWorksToo | February 2, 2007 6:35 PM

New SAHM - I think you got great advice. But here's more - my son wouldn't take a bottle either. I didn't have to force the issue - when I was out for a bit my husband would just use a spoon; he didn't get tons and tons of liquid but he got some and could relax. He eventually went straight to a cup (just a regular cup, held so he could slurp at it) at 6 months and then "backwards" to a sippy cup around 7 months.

Posted by: Shandra | February 2, 2007 6:45 PM

KLB, My cane helps me stablize icey sidewalks. Also, I have big feet and when conditions get trechorous, I'll use 2 canes and do the cross country skiing act.

You know what they call a blind guy that uses 2 canes? you got it: double vision! I've been practicing that act since I've been a teenager.

The kids just cleaned up for an hour to go out for Chinese, so now I'm in for a mile hike. What they will do for an eggrole is beyond my comprehension, but the hike with them is worth its weight in gold.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 2, 2007 7:13 PM

Catmommy,
A puppy might be very rambunctious. Our puppy is. Not to mention, entirely too smart. Are you prepared for an animal that can unlock doors and turn on the TV at 3am (because they like to watch)? I know cats dont do that.
I'm also considered a crazy dog lady. I have my 2, but they are little. Most people I meet don't seem to understand why it's good to keep them at a high level of training, groomed, or take care of their health needs. They didn't understand picking something other than the typical lab either. I think craziness is in the eye of the perceiver.

Posted by: preggers | February 2, 2007 7:25 PM

Worst advice came from my mother, who had ulterior motives in giving it, obviously.
Her advice before I became pregnant with my first, and also when pregnant and preparing for that hospital visit: Childbirth is no problem! You hardly feel it at all! It's no worse than a visit to the dentist! You push a little and then, poof, you have a baby and you're back home! What are you worrying about? (OK, everybody stop laughing.)
Her advice before I was pregnant with my second: Two kids are easier to manage than one! Three kids are easier to manage than two! Four kids are easier to manage than three! and so on. (Again, stop laughing.)

Posted by: anon mom | February 2, 2007 7:58 PM

"A puppy might be very rambunctious. Our puppy is. Not to mention, entirely too smart. Are you prepared for an animal that can unlock doors and turn on the TV at 3am (because they like to watch)? I know cats dont do that."

My cats are rambunctious. I keep thinking they'll grow out of it (they are roughly four years old). They knock things over, wiggle drawers open, hide in places so impossibly small I don't look there when I can't find them and think they escaped to the great outdoors, chew on things much like dogs do (blinds, pens, hair bands), they love to play with socks, and sometimes they "play" and I think they're trying to kill each other.

At least dogs are somewhat trainable. The only way to get a cat to do something is to make the cat think it isn't a fun activity. Mine used to shred toilet paper, so I had to "booby-trap" the roll, putting a big bottle of bubble bath on top so when they pulled on it it would fall, make a noise, and scare them. This has to be repeated every few months.

I'm sure a puppy will add to the chaos, but I love animals, so the more the merrier! I'll have to change my nom de blog, however.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 2, 2007 10:13 PM

My mother-in-law advised me to drink as much alcohol as i could while pregnant in order for the baby to:

1- have a cheerful disposition
2- be born smaller to make for and easier childbirth.

3- and i shold only work every other day so the child would be well-adjusted

Posted by: cos | February 2, 2007 10:14 PM

Forgot to sign the cat post.

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 10:14 PM

My mother-in-law advised me to drink as much alcohol as i could while pregnant

Did she tell you to smoke, too? I think that also helps with low birth weight. :)

Posted by: catmommy | February 2, 2007 10:16 PM

Chiming in late...

Worst advice - from my MIL as my 3 year old was having a tantrum...just spank him, use a fly-swatter, that's what I used on my kids. Yes, perhaps that's one reason your son spent 15+ years in therapy.

Best advice - from my mom, hold your baby as much as you want, they grow up really fast.

Spacing - there is no "right" spacing. It all depends on the personality/ temperment/ resources/ situations of the parents and kids involved. My kids are very close, 15 mos apart. A bit closer than we'd planned but we had wanted a 2 year or so gap anyway. Reasoning for us: 1) My sister and I are just under 2 years apart and have always been good friends while DH and his brothers were 6 yrs apart and have very little relationship 2) It's important to me to be at home when they are little and close spacing minimizes the time I'll be out of work 3) We weren't sure if we'd want a 3rd and I don't want to be pg after 40 so they'd need to be close to make that happen. Other "pros" I've found - when I was in my miserable, exhausted 1st trimester with #2, #1 wasn't even crawling yet so I didn't have to work hard to keep up with him. Watching friends who are pg w/ #2 while having a 2 year old makes me REALLY happy they were close. They entertain each other better than I expected from a pretty early age. Can do similar activities together. This has also worked pretty well for us because both kids are relatively easy and both are good sleepers.

I'm sure wider spacing works better for lots of other families. And I know plenty of people who hated their close age siblings or have great relationships with wider spaced siblings. There really are no guarantees.

Posted by: Suzanne | February 3, 2007 3:58 PM

...My mother-in-law advised me to drink as much alcohol as i could while pregnant

Did she tell you to smoke, too? I think that also helps with low birth weight. :)...

My SIL told me she intentionally kept smoking during all three of her pgs because she wanted her babies to be small. Lovely. She's definitely not one that I'd go to for parenting advice, or any advice.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2007 4:07 PM

"But I was making over 200 ounces a day"

Even Fredia said Wow! to this one.

I saw also a reference to cracks, I take that to me cracked nipples. Very painful, I understand--I never BF, but there is a easy treatment for them.

Both Fredia and I were bottlefed BTW.

Posted by: Fred | February 3, 2007 5:03 PM

My advice based on 27 years and 4 kids worth of parenting.

First, if you are STRONGLY against or for a certain idea, number of children, not having any, bottle feeding, whatever, keep your faith. If you are ambivalent or mildly for, try it for a while. Yes, I know, you cannot return children.


Spacing: About 3 yrs apart. The older will be hopefully out of diapers and he will not view the younger one as a threat but his "baby".

Number of Children: At least 2 and no more than 2 :) Don't want to get flamed by single child parents but having only 1 puts all of your eggs in one basket. If your only child has one of the problems as mentioned by NC Lawyer and others above, believe me, you will feel like failed parent all of your life. Our other children balance out the hurt and anguish from the first one. A second child also prevents the first from becoming the "center of the universe" for the rest of her life! Besides, kids are fun!

Time to have them: When you are younger, in your mid to early twenties. Have a first kid after 30 can be a bit difficult if only from the life style change. You also don't want to be like me and have a teenager when you are near retirement age. No, it does not keep you young, it just makes you more senile! :)

BF vs. Bottle: You can probably guess my take on that. But, hey, if you cannot or are just dead set against it, so be it.

MIL/FIL wanting to be grandparents: Ignore them. I think one poster suggested that MIL/FIL ask god when the grandchildren are coming! Great answer!

Posted by: Fred | February 3, 2007 5:19 PM

More good advice, from my grandmother. This was actually given as advice on getting married but applies to parenting. She told us her #1 bit of marital advice is "don't have too many children". Asked how many is "too many", she said SIX (she was the oldest of seven). No worries about our surpassing that LOL

Posted by: Suzanne | February 3, 2007 9:10 PM

Before we had kids, one friend told us that "Cats are easier than babies but babies are easier than dogs." Well, we already had cats so we went on to have babies. We have enough trouble with kids so I don't think we're ever going to have a dog. Besides the cats are still lamenting their loss of status.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | February 5, 2007 9:09 AM

"Get over yourself if you can't handle walking or carrying your your kids an extra 25 feet. Have you never heard of a stroller?"
I've got to laugh at this piece of advice, which was from way, way back in a previous thread that started out about the todder-on-a-plane fiasco but ended up with an agrument over "mommy" parking spaces.
The reason I have to laugh at this absurd advice that I myself, as a rookie mother, actually tried shopping for groceries while keeping my baby in a stroller. (Not talking about going to the store to pick up a few items but about regular shopping.) It was a situation of a sore back, an icy parking lot and other factors that made me think, hey, I should just use the stoller. Great idea -- not! Picture me trying to push a stroller with one hand and a shopping cart with the other down aisles packed with other shoppers and carts. Didn't try it again.

Posted by: anon mom | February 5, 2007 2:32 PM

400th!

Posted by: Booya! | February 5, 2007 2:40 PM

I suppose I shouldn't be amazed by some of the statements that people have made about fertility in this thread, and yet I am. This is not something cosmetic, it is discovering that your body has betrayed you, and that the way that you expected your life to go will not work. How would you like to find out that an entire system in your body doesn't do its job? Something that is embarrassing, impacts your spouse's life and expectations and disappoints or lets down him/her, will require expensive diagnostics and painful treatment to deal with? OH sure, no problem -- just adopt. Only, that isn't everybody's idea of a first choice, and adopted children deserve to be their parents' idea of perfection, don't you think? This is not like saying "oh well, I wanted butter pecan, but I suppose that tin roof will be just fine."

This is one of the most intimate and important aspects of any person's life. How different people deal with finding out that aspect of their life is not "normal" deserves some latitude. It is lovely to be smug about it, if you haven't been there, or if you would respond differently to that crisis (you think), fine. No need to be derogatory about a process about which you (blissfully) know nothing. If you remember how you felt when you found out you were pregnant, remember telling your spouse, remember how it felt to feel your baby kick inside, remember holding your new baby and feeling (exhausted) but that overwhelming gratitude -- cut people who think they may never have those joys, and desperately wanted them, a little slack.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:08 PM

"This is not something cosmetic, it is discovering that your body has betrayed you, and that the way that you expected your life to go will not work. . . . impacts your spouse's life and expectations and disappoints or lets down him/her, "

5:08, the way that you expected your life to go will not work? You, and evidently your spouse, expected the means by which you would become a parent? You let him down? Seriously?? My husband and I expected that we would become parents. Period. How we got there was never part of either of our expectations or needs. The joy we felt when we brought home our first, and then our second adopted daughter, was not one iota less than the joy someone who has delivered a child by c-section or by vaginal birth would feel. The joy is in the children, and in the raising, and in the life of our family together. You seem entirely focused on the beginning of the journey and not the journey. I am very sad that you are so preoccuped with reproduction instead of with raising a child.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2007 5:46 PM

I think there is unnecessary tension between the folks who feel disappointed by infertility and see adoption as a second choice (or maybe even not a choice at all) and the folks who don't care whether they adopt or give birth to a child.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone wants to adopt. And those that don't should not. And of course, there are many wonderful people who choose to go the adoption route, and derive great joy from this. It is a very personal decision, and of course, I can see how infertility would be very difficult, as well as how adoption could be a wonderful option.

I also believe that adoption can also be very time consuming, expensive, and uncertain. After all, your fate is in the hands of a birth mother who is basically a stranger to you.

In my case, I found that the experience of being pregnant was wonderful, and would be very sad never to have had it. It is something very special to feel that first kick, or feel the baby hiccup, etc. It is also nice to know that you have a modicum of control over the baby's in utero environment, ie, your diet, nutrition, and activity during your pregnancy, which while not a guarantee to anything, does bring some peace of mind after the baby is born.

I understand that fertility treatments such as IVF are also time consuming, expensive, and uncertain. But each person has to pick their own poison. No decision is right or wrong. What works well for one person may not work at all for another.

Posted by: Emily | February 5, 2007 6:06 PM

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