I wrote a post many moons ago, before Emerson was a twinkle in my eye, where I gave advice to new moms on what to wear. I got mega flack from it. Angry mothers emailed me, left comments, even stopped me on the street to tell me I have no idea what I was talking about. If I am not a mother, I can’t possibly understand what a mother deals with.
I apologized to the moms, but I felt the feedback was a tad harsh. I had dealt with a busy schedule, a job that left me messy and stained at the end of the day, I had friends who were mothers, I had been a personal shopper for new mothers. Heck, I even did some reading on the subject before writing the post!
This weekend I wasn’t feeling well, I ended up waking at 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I watched some random crap on OnDemand, and then switched to the OWN network and caught an episode of the Rachael Ray show. A mother of several children was asking for advice regarding how to fly as a family without the rest of the plane hating their guts. Her children were sweet, but they would fight and scream and get bored and antsy. Rachael began her advice, comparing this mother’s situation to when Rachael flies with her dog.
I now understood why those moms went off on me for my fashion post.
Rachael Ray turned me into one of those irate moms emailing me over my clueless fashion post. It’s not like those without children can’t “get” it. It’s that no mother will appreciate parenting advice when it comes not only from someone who doesn’t have children, but someone who makes it sound as though having a pampered pit bull is the same as having three children under the age of 10.
I realized the issue with my post wasn’t about the advice – I defend it and when I became a mom still found my suggestions helpful. The problem with my post was my tone, my attitude, the way my words pretty much said, “Stop making excuses and get yourself a new shirt, you tacky woman.” How Rachael Ray may have had decent suggestions for this mom, but they were missed because that mom was probably like me, seeing red after hearing how you should wear your kids out, like how Rachael lets Isaboo run around the yard a few times before getting in her crate.
Once I became a mom, I felt the whole world seemed to have advice for me or was judging me. Judging my choice to breastfeed, judging my choice to go back to work, judging how I carried my baby, how I dressed me baby, and how I dressed myself. Geez Louise, I just tore a human being out of my body two months ago, I’m glad the two of us are alive, I really don’t have space in my brain right now for a coordinated and clean ensemble. Since then, I try to remember to not give advice on a topic I know nothing about. Clothing is only one part of the puzzle, but the person in those clothes is the most important piece.
So thanks Rachael Ray, for reminding me about the most important aspect of advice – the person who is asking for it. And my suggestion to you? How about a Mom blogger as a guest correspondent for parenting segments?