on assvice

So I was a day behind on NaComLeavMo. I think I just caught up.


Why is it that, as women, we are willing to dispense advice that can be interpreted as “better than thou”? I’m sure I’ve done it. And I apologize if I have done so to you.

But really, why do we hand out advice that smells so strongly of criticism? Of “I could do this better”?

The, “Well, if you just tried ____.” Or the, “I do _____.” Fertile women tell infertiles to “relax” or “try propping your hips up.” Really? Is that how you got pregnant? Well, then it’s bound to work for me.

Sometimes infertiles even do it to each other. Questioning the clinic or doctor another woman has chosen. That’s a slippery slope – my clinic was right for me, but it is not right for everyone, as much as I like my doctor. Just because x protocol worked for me in my situation doesn’t mean it would ever work for someone else.

And mothers do it to other mothers. Why? Why do perfect strangers (and friends, too) think it’s okay to tell other mothers when completely unsolicited what is best for their children? And if they don’t say it outright, you can see it in their eyes. The, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” look. And it’s about everything.

About breastfeeding or not. About where baby sleeps. About when and what solids to start. BPA or not. Organic or not. Cry it out or attachment parenting. And on and on and on. And no, I’m not going to tell you where I fall. Then you might tell me why I’m wrong.

I don’t know why we can’t just accept that what’s right for you might not be right for me. That all of us are doing what we think is right and best for us. Whether that’s in infertility treatment or in motherhood.

Why can’t we actually know what it is we say: “everyone is different.” I mean *know* it in our hearts? And know that when someone is doing something we wouldn’t that it’s okay?

~ by Larisa on May 30, 2008.

No Responses Yet to “on assvice”

  1. Like I always say, everyone runs their own race. I don’t know why it seems innate to tell everyone else the way you run it must be the best. Sorry people are annoying you with assvice… tune ’em out!

  2. I think it comes down to the mothering instinct that women naturally have. We have an urge to protect children, whether we have them or not. And in order to not run up to a mother giving her toddler a BPA bottle and inform her of the dangers, we have to learn to bite our tongues so as not to offend (example drawn from real life, yesterday).


  3. Ahh, the eternal debate: is it advice because the person genuinely wants to help or is it assvice because the person thinks you don’t know what you’re doing? Usually, it’s a combination of the two. Dealing with infertility teaches you how to be more of an advice person than an assvice person. At least, I hope so.

  4. You bring up some great points in this post. I recently wrote a (tongue-in-cheek) post about the dumb things people say to infertiles. I think we’ve all experienced more than our share of assvice. 😉

    BTW . . . I LOVE your baby pics!

  5. thank you for commenting. I noticed just now that you like pride adn prejudice. It is one of my favs as well!

  6. Being confident in yourself is being able to listen then continue doing what you know is best for you and your family. You are finding your own way. Continue to do so 😉

  7. I’ve noticed that what people say is generally a lot more about them than it is about you. Assvice usually comes from a place of competition (like Mrs. X said when people think they know better than you or your doc or fill in the blank) or from a place of genuinely wanting to help. But even then, there’s the necessary assumption that the assvice they’re giving hasn’t occurred to you. Usually this cluelessness is combined with some favorite student syndrome / people pleasing need to be the one with the right answer who fixes everything. The latter is generally what I’ve been guilty of. Working on it. 🙂

    Best of luck. Your little one is positively A-DORABLE.

    Visiting from NCLM.

  8. I just end up ignoring it all! I get it a lot because my husband and I are only having one child(not for fertily reasons) and a lot of people can’t seem to wrap their heads around that. If you really think about it fathers get the same grief. There are a lot of mothers and other people that think dads can not be effect in parenting. I guess the thinking is mothers know all and best. I always correct people when I hear it. Because my husband is the best father i have ever scene. The love he has for our son and the patience with a toddler. The patience he has sometimes i do not even have. my blog is The Crazy Adventures of a Wommy and if you decide to check it out you will see just how much love my husband has for our son!

  9. Are you still answering your gmail account?


  10. What you write about here ruminates in my mind so often. I see moms around me lose touch with their own instincts and confidences in being a mom. It is a battle that will never end unfortunately.

  11. ugh… I try so hard not to give advice, and I know I’ve failed miserably. I hate getting advice.

    Sounds like someone hit a nerve.

  12. Why do we do that? Maybe if we’re better about consciously avoiding it, we’ll catch ourselves next time.
    Hi from NCLM!

  13. I know what you mean. Today, after I’ve been through two years of infertility and three IVFs, I almost told an infertile woman to just relax. Can you believe the likes of me?

    I can’t wait to keep myself from giving parenting advice!!

  14. I totally understand where you are coming from. I try not to give advice and have even had a conversation about it with one of my friends. “Sometimes I just wish I could keep my mouth shut”, is exactly what I said. We came to the conclusion that it is human nature. We all want to share our experiences….even if it comes off the wrong way 🙂

  15. I know the frustration you talk about. I am kinda used to it now and respond with kinda harsh statements, but people don’t learn otherwise. Can you imagaine what a boring world this would be if everyone did things in just one way! I love that we all have different opinions and different methods, techniques to life, it makes this place worth living on. I wish everyone could see it that way hey?

  16. oh and thanks for your comment on my blog!!! I am planning on keeping busy to pass the 2ww, just not around pregnant people! ha ha

  17. I compare myself to others too much. It is hard for me not to but you are right we are all different, we all have different paths and we should follow them and not judge.

    NCLM love.

  18. Yes, everyone is different. But what if what you are doing is wrong! God help us! We must stop you!

    Most of the things that these arguments are about, even if you/I/we are wrong, there won’t be lasting damage. I guess it just comes down to the fact that it’s hard for all of us to let go.

  19. Hope you and BabyHope are doing well. Can’t wait to see more pictures! 🙂

  20. here from NCLM…good post! I hope that i’m not a dispenser of assvice, but I’m sure I’ve done it. I try to take what other people say with a grain of salt if that’s what it takes…

  21. Here from NCLM! I’m glad to find another TX blogger! It’s hard not to give advice if you really think your experiences are worth sharing. I think a lot of it is in the delivery.

  22. Oh, sister, I hear you. I’m here from NCLM and it drives me nuts, all of the assvice. It doesn’t matter WHAT I do, I’m constantly being judged and doing SOMETHING wrong.

    It’s weird, because I’ve never heard a dude say “I cannot BELIEVE Mrs. xyz isn’t breastfeeding/cloth diapering/whatever.” It’s only the ladies.

    It’s crap. Why can’t we bat for the same team?

  23. Well said!

  24. Great post. Sometimes I think we get a bunch of assvice from our Doctors, and the interntet, etc.

    We all worry way too much about doing the ‘right’ thing. That ‘right’ thing being what is right to everyone else.

    Hopefully that didn’t sound like assvice. 🙂

    Here from NCLM.

  25. There’s something about procreating and childrearing that makes people feel as if they can weigh in much more forcefully than they would, say, on your career choices or how you allocate your assets or whether you look fat in those pants.

    As someone who’s had difficulties in, like, everything procreation-related, I acutely feel the subtext of “I could do it better,” even when someone doesn’t say those words.

    That said, I’m sure I do it, too. Infertility did teach me to watch myself more, at least.

  26. I agree with what you said and wanted to add another comment preface that I hate “At least . . .” How dismissive is that? Like anything you are feeling, experiencing doesn’t mean anything and you’re crazy for being so upset by it because “At least” it wasn’t something else.

    It does boggle the mind especially when it comes from people who SHOULD know better!

    Good wishes.


  27. Wow, what a beautiful little girl you have!! Congratulations!

    As for your post, I’ve often wondered the same thing. I try very hard not to be one of those parents that judge and give assvice. I’m quite sure I haven’t always succeeded though. *sigh*

  28. I got the “You let your children jump off of your coffee table?” from a friend. I think it was more of a statement of disappointment than a question. My twins are well behaved in public and are generally good kids, so yeah, I let them jump off the couch too.

    Loved your post – it’s true. I try not to offer advice, but I’m sure I’m guilty too.

    Here from NCLM.

  29. Amen, sister! It’s not so much the advice that bothers me — it’s the JUDGEMENT that can come with it. I think you can offer advice and try to be helpful without taking an “I’m right / You’re wrong” stance. Being a mother is hard enough without women throwing stones at each other.

    Oh, and cute kiddo. 🙂

    Via NaComLeavMo

  30. hi
    I’m here from NaComLeavCom
    very powerful post and so true.
    I have to stop myself from offering advice unless it is asked for.

    My Little Drummer boys
    warm regards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: