How to Be a Dad

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Defense Against Misinformed Parenting Advice

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Defense Against Misinformed Parenting Advice
 

When you’re learning to navigate the turbulent waters of new parenthood, you’ll undoubtedly encounter a lot of folks offering what they think are time-tested words of wisdom. Sure, these (usually childless) people mean well, but when caring for your first newborn, these bits of advice often do nothing more than exacerbate your already tense mood, causing incalculable emotional damage. So, here’s a handy list of ways to defend yourself from some of the most common types of encounters.
 


 

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

 
Harm: That newborn needs your attention most of the time, which leaves little time for things like cleaning, cooking, laundry, and your personal weeping time.

Defense: Silence them by delivering a solid punch to their throat. Remember to maintain a wide stance to maximize your forward momentum.

Defense 1

 

Defense 2

“You should get some extra help.”

 
Harm: Your checkbook already cries each time you open it, and digging up the money for a sitter, let alone a nanny, lies just below “Install a helipad on the roof” on the list of things you can afford right now.

Defense: Stomp down on their left foot. Then, using your index and middle fingers, poke the offender in both eyes. This combination will leave them immobile and blinded.

 

“Cook all your meals on Sunday and freeze them for the week.”

 

Harm: Getting your act together to actually cook just one meal seems a Herculean task. The kitchen might as well be on the dark side of Kepler-62-e.

Defense: Pivot so you’re facing away from the person. Step back with your right foot, placing it between their feet. While doing this, thrust your right elbow backward, aiming for their stomach. If delivered correctly, this should cause them to evacuate their Sunday-cooked meal, so try to step out of the way.

Defense 3

 

Defense 4

“Let your partner take over for a while to give you a break.”

Harm: The person who says this to you assumes that’s not already happening. When a baby comes home from the hospital, everyone in that home takes on responsibilities, even the family dog.

Defense: Take three running steps toward the person, then jump swinging your legs up in front of you. Put your ankles together and aim for the solar plexus.

 

“Breastfeeding in public is obscene.”

 

Harm: In addition to the unrealistic level of prudishness exhibited by those who complain about public breastfeeding, they’re suggesting mothers withhold nourishment from their baby. You know who else did that? Hitler.

Defense: Grab the offender by the hair and throw them into a sack of angry badgers.

Defense 5

 
 


 

The father of twin boys, David Vienna is a screenwriter, playwright, reality television writer, former journalist, and covers parenting issues at TheDaddyComplex.com and The Huffington Post. His viral CTFD Parenting piece has created an Internet sensation and resulted in packs of nomadic groupies as well as his upcoming book Calm The F*ck Down (published by Knock Knock in 2015).

 


 

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53 Comments

53 Responses to “Defense Against Misinformed Parenting Advice”

  1. Hate the Terrible Twos? Just wait until the Terrible Threes! …

    Harm: Telling someone they have another year of toddler mania could cause serious psychological harm.

    Defense: See all of the above. Combine.

  2. Jo says:

    Ha! Where did I put my sack of angry badgers?!? Damn it! I’m always misplacing that thing!

  3. Seth says:

    Why are you so violent David? :)

  4. Dave says:

    My favorite unwanted advice was always, “you should let them walk” I am sorry but if I attempted to let them walk everywhere I needed them to go it would take days to grind through my to do list.

    I am thinking “rent wood chipper under false name”

  5. This must be post David Vienna’s Calm the F*ck Down method. :) I hear you though. After the 1000th kind word of unsolicited advice, it’s clobbering time.

  6. Lucia says:

    Wished I had this advice when my twins were babies!! But then again, my mother-in-law might not have survived from the attacks.

  7. Yay! We get to let our true aggressive feelings inform our actions! Thank you!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Lol, love the creative ways to handle unsolicited parenting advice. Do you have any creative ways to handle inappropriate pregnancy questions?

  9. Marina says:

    My husband was my hero the day he handled his first “New Parent Advice”.
    My husband was one-arm carrying our 8 lb newborn through the store, when some dude came up to him and said “Hey man, you should hold your baby better”. My husband looked at him and said “Oh! Hey, cool, is this your kid?” (he said it as though he had just happened to find a baby laying around and was looking for its parents.)
    The man replied “No -”
    Before he could utter another word my husband yelled “Then shut the f*ck up!” and walked away. I STILL laugh about it, almost 4 years later.

  10. Brent Almond says:

    Y’all need to team up, do a three-way and put out a whole damn book of this stuff. PLEASE!!!!!

    The “Cook all your meals on Sunday” made me laugh with rage.

  11. seattledad says:

    f’n hilarious David. Sleep when the baby sleeps? Yeah, I would have had to throat punch my wife my first day of paternity leave. Instead, I started my blog. That was nearly 6 year ago now.

    I would buy that book, by the way.

  12. Tessie says:

    How do you deal with a mother-in-law who tells you to use a folk remedy on the baby, you refuse, so she does it herself?

    Thinking hog-tie and a very large apple.

  13. Brenda says:

    Wish I read this 10 years ago! I showed it to a new mom though, hope she’ll use it! Brilliant stuff:)

  14. gurkan says:

    “weather is cold and baby’s clothes are thin,he’s gonna get cold”
    defence:apply the abowe continiusly

  15. I’m reading with a 12 day old on my chest. Thank you so much for this – although violating my mom and in laws might get me in some trouble.

    • Paul says:

      My wife and I are about to have our third child. I made it quite clear after the first child that I am happy to be the designated bad guy. This means if either set of grandparents treads into the mommy zone I throw down with some snide comment like, “That’s Great! When you want to morph back 25 years and be a mom again you can do that with your kid.” My wife gets to exit as the nice one and everyone leaves her alone.

  16. Karina says:

    Yes!!! These are hilarious and soo true!

  17. Julie says:

    When anyone with or without children say “just wait until (insert ANY TIME in the babies lifetime that isn’t this very moment)”. Apparently every stage they ever reach is harder than right now. Oh whoopie, everyone makes parenting sound like it’s not a choice.

    Thinking lemon juice to the eyes.

    • Bridget Roberts says:

      Oh my God thank you for that!!! That one has been my number one pet peeve in dealing with my three month old. Glad somebody else feels the same!!

  18. Silvia M says:

    Unsolicited parenting advice keeps coming even after 5 years. Ugghhh!! Can’t use these techniques on your own mother Lol!

  19. Kristen says:

    Lol I slept when the baby slept regardless of what my house looked like. I had to stay in bed for 3 days anyway. Baby and I just slept. Well he breastfed a lot so I guess I was awake for a majority of it but the rest of the crap people say, they just damn well knew better! They knew I’d punch them in the throat. Even the in laws. Mother in law did tell me the other day though that I was inconsiderate for not formula feeding so that she could feed baby. I was depriving her of bonding time. I took the baby from her arms and said “no, that’s me depriving you of bonding time” Priceless looks from all around the room. Boom!

  20. Libby Sawyer says:

    Anytime a sentence begins with “You should…” it doesn’t matter what follows, just kick them in the crotch while simultaneously giving an upthrust to the nose.

  21. Amanda says:

    I had twins, and the amount of freakin’ advice I was offered did my head in.
    I just wanted to scream “shut up, shut up NOW”.
    Perhaps these should go on flash cards, and be included as part of a parenting pack, and then you could pull them out to execute the appropriate maneuver, would have been helpful….

  22. ann says:

    Wow how violent! Guess you think you have the answers to everythingthat have to do with parenting. Some of us can keep a clean house and good meals on the table. Have a friend who has a daughter-in-law who subscibes to sleeping everytime the baby sleeps oh and keeping an absolutely silent house too. Pretty militant about everything . What a sweetheart

    • Lindsay says:

      You keep your clean house and food, the rest of us will keep our senses of humor! Be careful thought Princess, you are in danger of being throat punched.

    • Libby Sawyer says:

      Calm down, bro. :-) Reading this is just a way for people with incredibly rude friends and family to vent about the impractical advice and rude comments about their parenting that we all get. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have friends and family who know when to butt out and only offer advice when asked. You wouldn’t believe some of the insane and nasty advice I received. I was told by my mother that I was an ungrateful bitch because I never take any of her advice. Some of her advice:

      1.) give your NEWBORN straight corn syrup for constipation
      2.) if you don’t boil city water (which is shown by the CDC and APA to be completely unnecessary for 2 decades) then you are a terrible mother and must WANT your baby to be sick
      3.) hold your baby in an upright position and burp for ONE HOUR straight after EVERY feeding
      4.) if your baby spits up, replace what they spit up with the same amount of food (<< this is terrible advice because it leads to over feeding, more spitting up, and esophageal soreness from spitting up over and over due to forced feeding)
      5.) if you don't give my newborn grandson blankets and pillows when he sleeps, I'm going to get a key to your house and come in at night and put him to bed myself (<< this is REALLY bad because the APA recommends and it has been proven that blankets and pillows increase SIDS risk)
      6.) you're an idiot if you don't use Dreft (<< many people don't and have no adverse reactions. "FREE" or natural detergents are just as good, if not better. Dreft is full of nasty chemicals that blind parents aren't aware of because they don't bother to read the label.)

      That's just some of the crap advice I got from JUST ONE PERSON. That doesn't include the crap advice from the several other hundred people who thought they were the gods of parenting. So believe me when I say I would love to use some of these maneuvers on people.

  23. Gracie says:

    My favorite for my infant twins -”You better put them on the same schedule!” Uh huh. So when one of them wakes up screaming in the middle of the night and will not go back to sleep, I should just wake up the other one. &, hey, we’ll just make a party out of it!

  24. Katy says:

    My favorite one to hate is, “Enjoy this time; it goes by so fast”. True, I’m sure. But I don’t have to treasure every single moment of screaming-poopy-diapered-cheerio-hurling madness.

    Defense: Make offender walk through a loose lego obstacle course bare footed.

  25. A deep bow for this bit of parenting genius. Thank you!

  26. RichardB says:

    I have been a stay at home father for twelve years. Most of what I have learned is to just listen when parents of small children complain. I didn’t need advice, I needed to vent. So now when some overprotective parent squirts hand cleaner on me before I hold their child I think “Your child, your rules.”

  27. Cheryl J. says:

    Do not forge your daughter through school. She may end up 7 years in college with less than a special education degree.

  28. Jessie C says:

    I’ve heard all of these at least once, and while they are very annoying what I hate even more is when she starts to cry and people are like: “have you tried ______?” Feeding, changing, burping, etc. a list of all the obvious solutions. And just once I want the courage to say “wait, I’m s’posed to feed it?” Lol I mean seriously, like I never would have thought of that if these childless people hadn’t stepped in to lend a hand. she’s crying and people think moms don’t know what might be causing it?! I may adapt your defense list for these as well :-p. Finally some practical advice! Hahaha

  29. Loren says:

    This is brilliant!

  30. Valerie says:

    We have twins as well (our 2nd and 3rd kids). At one year we are starting to get out of the “helpful suggestion” phase. However if I have one more stranger stop me in public and ask if they are twins, I may go all kinds of Chuck Norris on them. Second most asked question – are they identical (it’s a boy and a girl). Smh. I’m currently compiling a list of smart ass answers.

  31. Christina says:

    Thank you!

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