The Parenthood Disease - Advice Overload Syndrome


Originally Published On:  Lifeblooming

The Advice No-one Gave You About the Advice Everyone Will Give You

Having a baby brings countless joys. It also brings other things. In becoming a parent you have unwittingly exposed yourself to A.O.S. – Advice Overload Syndrome. This condition is most likely to occur when you are the recipient of unsolicited advice about your child rearing. Symptoms of A.O.S. include a tightening of the shoulders, throbbing temple, stiff neck and an urge to scream.

Every parent will experience A.O.S. at one point or another. It is important to know that you are not alone and there is something you can do about it.


Thank You for Your Advice

When you have a baby you will discover that family, friends and complete strangers standing next to you in the checkout line will feel free to offer you advice. They will proffer their views and suggestions on subjects you may be surprised to discover are up for public discourse.

Oddly enough, in the case of complete strangers these insightful beings never fail to get the gender of the child wrong. If your child was bedecked in a pink, frilly dress with the word ‘girl’ emblazoned on it in lilac glitter, they would invariably refer to them as a boy. This is a very good indicator of the quality of said advice.


What Your Child is Wearing

Your child will never be dressed warmly enough. Your new advisors will be particularly anxious about your child being sufficiently bundled to withstand any vicious squall that may suddenly spring into being. The fact that it’s the middle of summer is completely irrelevant.

Your child’s ears and feet will warrant specific focus. The ears are a portal into which all manner of disease and illness can obtain access to your child’s inner workings. If a child ever feels a soft, gentle summer breeze upon their ears they will immediately be struck down with anything from colds, influenza or pneumonia to an inability to tie their own shoelaces before they are twenty.

The feet will never attain the correct temperature being either too hot or too cold. In either instance they should of course be covered in thick woollen socks.


A Crying Baby aka Please Go To Sleep!

The Oxford Dictionary defines sleep as a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. As a parent it helps to refresh your memory of what sleep is, having not had any for several months.

There are numerous ways of trying to convince your baby they should go to sleep right now. The key difference between the methods is the amount of crying involved. By you or your baby. Occasionally both of you will be emitting synchronised howls or piteous mewls in the gentle amber glow of a night light.

It goes without saying that whatever approach you take in supporting your baby to gain sweet slumber will be the polar opposite of what your advisors believe you should be doing. When you are sobbing heartfelt pleas to the baby to sleep these advisors will naturally be taking forty winks themselves having discharged their duty of care in its entirety simply by pointing out what you’re doing wrong.

During the first half of the twentieth century, New Zealand mothers were encouraged to get baby into a strict routine. A 24 hour clock indicated when various activities should take place, with an emphasis on four-hourly feeding. Babies were to be fed for fifteen minutes at 06:00am,10:00am, 02:00pm, 06:00pm and finally at 10:00pm after which they were to sleep until their early morning feed.

Baby was plain out of luck if their desires didn’t quite align to the prescribed activity times. Coincidentally, the period during which this method was sternly encouraged upon young mothers and their wee babes was the same time wild-eyed housewives were pouring themselves a robust gin and tonic at 2:15 in the afternoon to drown out their baby’s protests.


Feeding Your Baby

It is not often that your bits and bobs will be the focus of polite conversation around the water cooler. It may feel decidedly odd that people can be so heavily invested in your bobs. But invested they are and so without shame they will advise you on nipple preparation, how you suckle your offspring, the length of time you intend to breastfeed for and so on and so forth. Whatever your own views on the matter may be, rest assured they will be incorrect. The fact that they are your bobs is immaterial.


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