Day 23: Advice

The last baby shower I attended was some time ago. Certainly pre-Covid. One of the activities included writing the best parenting hack you ever received on a 3×5 card for the parents-to-be. They probably had a second question for those attending who did not have children, but I do not remember.

The best parenting advice I ever received was about labor and delivery. My OBGYN was concerned I might need a C-section with my first born. A friend of mine had recently experienced childbirth via Cesarean. She told me to walk fifteen minutes each day and stay on top of my pain meds. It turned out to be brilliant advice since I did have a C-section after all. My friend’s information calmed my nerves and helped me recover more quickly.

We have all given and received advice. Sometimes it is helpful and sometimes not. It seems like advice needs to fit the context of our situation. I have received advice and life hacks from people who live very different lives from me. Their personality may be more gregarious or they have a different skill set. It’s not necessarily bad advice. It just didn’t work for me.

But, let’s be honest, some people will give us outright terrible advice. And we know in our gut it is the wrong way to go for our situation. But what happens when we are the ones giving it? The lame advice?

I used to be frustrated when someone asked for my opinion and then did the opposite. It seemed rude. Why did they bother to ask and waste my time? Then I started to think about it as information gathering. They wanted to know what I would do and they probably asked several people. Then they took the time to sift through all of it and make a decision.

Once I reframed it for myself, it was easier to offer advice freely. I think many of us are too attached to the advice we give. But it is our opinion. It worked for us. Yes, it is true that not all advice is relative. Don’t rob a bank. Wear pants in public. Please and thank you go a long way. This is wise advice for just about anyone.

But spend some time today letting go of the advice you give and receive. It doesn’t define you. You can even change your mind. You will still be you.

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