I love being a Daddy Doin’ Work. It’s pretty damn exhilarating to know I’m responsible for being the primary male role-model for my baby girl. If there is one thing that sucks, it’s the amount of unsolicited advice I’ve received from people. Honestly, is there any line of work or lifestyle where people will offer their two cents on how you should (or shouldn’t) do something other than parenting? I’ve only been on the job for 18 months and I’ve literally heard it all. Luckily I took mental and written notes, because I knew the day would come when I’d want to share all of my notes with you. And you guessed it, that day is today.
To celebrate my daughter’s 18 months of life, here are the 18 worst pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received (in no particular order):
Editor’s Note: Let me be very clear on this: The bad advice you’re about to read is only bad in one man’s opinion (mine). Some of the advice here is universally bad, and some we may disagree on. When you’re reading this, just remember that I’m only referring to my personal situation here.
#1 – Only use cloth diapers: I’m not going to hate on people who use cloth diapers, just know that they are not for me. Additionally, I’m all about being Green. I recycle, I don’t throw electronics in the trash, and I eat organic foods whenever I can. That said, the lure of being Green is not greater than the disgust of scraping Brown (and sometimes “green” if she’s not feeling well) into the toilet each day. Props to parents who do this, but I’m not going to be one of them.
#2 – Don’t say “no” to your kid: The rationale behind this is that saying no will have a negative effect on the child’s self-esteem – and she should learn not to do things through experience. Really? So when my kid finds her way into the laundry room and wants to find out what bleach tastes like, I should just smile and think, “This will be such a valuable life lesson for my baby” right? Where do people come up with this shit? I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Daughter Doin’ Work’s self-esteem if she slips away from me and attempts to “do work” by playing Toddler Frogger in the middle of a busy intersection. There seriously needs to be an exam that people must pass in order to become parents. I’m not kidding.
#3 – Put her on a diet: I’ll be the first to admit that little DDW is a little chubby. To put things in perspective for you, she’s over three feet tall and tips the scales at 34 lbs. So in other words, she’s huge. However, she’s not huge because she’s taking Whopper Jr’s to the throat each morning for breakfast – she’s huge because…well, I have no idea why. Maybe it’s me, but aren’t chubby babies the best? As long as she’s healthy and happy, I don’t care if she’s carrying some junk in the trunk. Also, isn’t it a sad testament to what our society has become when someone thinks it’s a good idea to put an 11-month old girl (at the time) on a diet to maintain a “positive female body image”? I touched on this topic here.
#4 – Hold her nose closed so it doesn’t get so wide: A woman once said the following to me when little DDW was six months old: “Wow, she’s really cute, but she’d be so much cuter if she didn’t have a wide nose. You should try to hold her nose closed for a few minutes at a time to prevent it from getting so wide.” Yes folks, a mother of three young children told me this. I would’ve thought she was kidding, but when I saw her a month later she said, “It doesn’t look like you’ve tried those nose exercises like I suggested.” I snapped and told her, “Look, I’m not going to suffocate my kid just so she’ll satisfy your definition of beauty. You don’t see me telling you to purchase a lifetime supply of Proactiv for your bad skin, do you? It looks like someone repeatedly hit you in the face with a sack of hot nickels. Worry about your own grill before you talk shit about my daughter’s.”
Low blow on my part? Absolutely.
Since my kid was involved, do I care about that woman’s feelings? Absolutely not.
Also, I think my daughter’s nose is cute.
#5 – Get her into modeling: Yes, I used to model for a living here in Los Angeles. Everyone thinks the modeling industry is so glamourous and fun – and it is, if your definition of “glamourous and fun” includes blow, smack, anorexia, and industry “experts” breaking down every physical flaw you have in front a room full of people. My values didn’t align with the industry’s, so I bounced. Not to mention, it’s a brutal industry for children and many times they are treated like garbage (and don’t even get me started on some of the parents of child models. Yikes). If your kid models and has fun with it, then hooray for you. I have no desire to expose my daughter to it.
#6 – Don’t let her out of the house for the first six weeks of her life. If you let her out earlier, she could die: I hate to break it to people who subscribe to this line of thinking, but you could die by tripping over your laptop cord in an attempt to share this post with everyone on your social network. What happened to us, America? It wasn’t so long ago when people feared and respected us. Now we’re turning into wimpy germaphobes who tie hand sanitizer to our kids’ belt loops. I took little DDW on a walk around my block when she was three days old – and guess what? She’s totally healthy today. Meanwhile, the woman who placed her child on house arrest has a three-year old son who’s afraid of his own shadow and has a non-stop runny nose. Coincidence? I doubt it. All I know is that I’d rather be dead than live my life in abject fear.
#7 – You should always drive so your wife can breastfeed the baby in the passenger’s seat while you’re on the go: Gee, why didn’t I think of that? Oh, I know – because it’s fucking illegal, that’s why. Even Britney Spears thinks that’s a terrible idea. Moving on…
#8 – Don’t take a baby to a restaurant past 6:00 PM or else people will get pissed: Whatever. Unless there’s a law stating that I can’t bring her to a restaurant for dinner, then I’ll continue to do it. Here’s the caveat – If my kid is acting a fool and melting down, then I’ll take her outside until she gets herself together (a no-brainer). It’s sad, but the people of Los Angeles are notorious for giving parents the stink eye as soon as they roll to dinner with anyone two years old or younger.
#9 – Don’t watch any videos with vicious creatures or extreme violence in front of your daughter: Aw, Hell. I had a date planned tonight with my daughter to watch a DVD titled The 50 Most Gruesome Decapitations, Castrations, and Animal Maulings that I bought over the weekend. Maybe we’ll just watch it anyway. I just hope it’s not too scary for an 18-month old, but I think it would be somewhat educational.
The worst advice is advice about obvious shit. She should’ve just told me that my daughter should inhale oxygen in order to live.
#10 – Don’t mix breastfeeding and bottle feeding for the first 18 months. It will confuse the baby and can lead to brain damage: Well, I guess that explains why Americans are so stupid, because I’m pretty sure 90% of parents out there didn’t follow this “advice.” I don’t have lactating boobs, so the only way I could feed her is via a bottle whenever Mommy Doin’ Work wasn’t around. By the way, is “lactating boobs” redundant? I guess not, because I saw a dude yesterday with man boobs. He could fill up a D-cup easily.
#11 – Make sure she befriends more white kids than black kids if she wants to be successful: Not sure if this was a joke or if the person was being racist. The most disturbing part of this is that it came from a black man. Let’s just shake our heads in unison and move on, shall we?
#12 – It’s not a problem if she’s around smokers at a young age. Actually, her lungs will build an immunity to nicotine and smoke if she’s around it: Smokers will come up with some creative shit so they won’t feel guilty lighting up a lung dart around your kids. Keep your death torches to yourselves, please.
#13 – Sleep now, because you won’t get any when the baby arrives: OK, I know this advice came pre-Daughter Doin’ Work, but it’s so ridiculous. What was I supposed to do? Stay in bed all day when it’s sunny and 85 degrees? If I did, would it have made me less tired when the baby arrived? If you’re that guy/girl who provides this advice to soon-to-be parents, please stop. They’re going to be exhausted no matter how much time they spend in bed.
#14 – If your baby doesn’t sleep at night, don’t let her take a nap during the day: Has this worked for any parent ever? So your bright idea is to deprive sleep for me AND my baby, correct? Sounds like pure genius to me.
#15 – If your baby can’t sleep, add some whiskey to her bottle. It will work for you: You wanna know what will not work for me? Trying to survive in prison because my daughter never woke up from her whiskey-induced slumber.
I will not try this.
#16 – Why don’t you try (insert unsolicited advice)?: Translated: “You have no idea what the hell you’re doing. Let me help you out because I’m a MUCH better parent than you are.” Meanwhile, one of her kids is eating Elmer’s Glue and the other one is punching himself in the face repeatedly for fun. We all know “that parent” who gives us unsolicited advice while their kids are complete derelicts. I usually just nod my head, smile, and walk away.
#17 – You should try homeschooling your daughter: Please don’t get it twisted here: I have NO problem with parents who homeschool their children – I just know that I wouldn’t be very good at it. Instead of fractions and verbs, my kid would only know the starting five for the Los Angeles Lakers and a few of my favorite lines from Shawshank Redemption. That information may make her popular at fraternity parties, but it’s not going to get her into Harvard.
#18 – Be careful with who you take advice from, because nobody knows your kid better than you. Even doctors are wrong at times: That’s actually pretty damn good advice and I credit Grandma Doin’ Work (my mom) for providing it. The only reason why I included it in my “bad advice” list is because I’m pissed that I didn’t think of it myself.
Let’s be real with ourselves. No parent really knows what he/she is doing. We’re just learning on the fly through trial and error while hoping that we don’t kill, seriously injure, or mentally scar our kids in the process. Most of you reading this are functioning adults adding value to society, so what your parents did for you obviously worked.
The only parenting advice I’ll ever offer is to follow your gut, be loving, and stay positive. I think that’s something we can all agree on.