April 05, 2016

When Mothers Say They Don’t Need Your Advice, They Mean It


Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. JulianoMarla DarwinMonica Eleazar-Manzano, and Rossana Unson tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.

Tact. Where has it gone? With the onslaught of dual personalities living in social media, this is one trait saved for personal encounters. Because behind computer and phone screens, we can say whatever the hell we want, rant as we please, step on people’s toes, all for the welfare of voicing out our opinions as if it can cure cancer.

What’s been bothering me the most are moms who attack fellow moms for the most mundane reasons. “Stay-at-home moms have it good compared to working moms,” “Breastfeeding is the only way we can nourish our kids,” “We who breastfeed should be named saints.” It’s most disgusting when such statements rise from the very friend who says she’s all for the feminist movement. Would you really go the extra mile to liberate women from the world’s inequalities if judgment is poured between the same specie? Over, for example, using the right f*cking baby carriers?

This is the bigger picture I’d like to put out there for any fellow mother who wishes to set aside tact in order to give others unsolicited advice on parenthood. Avoid these three statements and we may be closer to “freeing the nipple” sooner than we can imagine.

When I was in your situation…

I get it, you’re ahead by a few months in the motherhood game and seeing me screwing up breastfeeding gives you the itch to tell me exactly how it should be done the same way that works for your only child. Yes, you’ve only had one kid.

Babies are different from each other, so parenting styles should be too. There isn’t one hard-and-fast rule for every situation. Unless you think I’m a psychopath on a mission to make my baby’s life miserable, save your words unless you’re asked. Just remember this: Whenever you give unwelcome advice, you sound like your mother-in-law. One big “no,” right?

You must be so lucky…

…to be working from home, to have a husband who earns enough, to have a yaya, to have gracious grandparents to look after your baby. These statements come off AS sarcastic any way you put it. Especially when followed by comparison to your own situation. We’re both moms. We deal with everyday issues in our own ways. You have no idea what happens in my home. Don’t assume the martyr role when you think some other mom has it better than you. Being a mother is a choice, and how you look at it is also a choice.

Try harder…

This is said in many ways, but despite the toned-down words, it always appears judgmental. Any iteration of “Try harder to be patient with your tyrannical terrible-two,” “try harder to find more time to spend with your baby,” or “try harder to be a better mom” doesn’t help the constant guilt and balancing act we face every day. It just adds to the burden we already know full well. You can never find enough time or patience when you’re limited with two hands and feet and faced with priorities that transcend our roles as moms. Because we’re not just mothers, who for some reason people think should be akin to superheroes. We’re human, and we come with the faulty, dreamy, aspiring, identity-seeking quirks that come with it.

And trust me, every day we do try harder.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Dorothy Guya

Filed Under:

Advice, Column, L. Juliano, momhood, Mother, Motherhood, parenthood, parenting, Preen, Preen.ph, Situation, Tact, Use of Words, Words

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