Unsolicited parenting advise ….

Crikes it irks me — strange people giving you insights about what to do with your own children.

Makes me want to slap people.  In Woolworths.  Usually in the yoghurt aisle.

I am hoping one day to build up the courage to respond: “Well thank you, listen I do not need MORE advise, what I need is a surrogate mom to pop around, fetch kids from 16h00 and then do everything there is to do to herd them in to bed say for 20h00.  Could you pop around and do that — they say the best way to learn is to watch someone in action, and I can see how you get it right.  I have checked my diary and it appears I can watch you from Wednesday night for two weeks. How does that sit with you?  If you could throw in shopping with the kids for clothes, that would be super.”

Alternatively if I can’t remember that entire monologue I am hoping to go with “Thanks, but right now I don’t need your fuckin advise.  I need a large glass of wine and an afternoon sleep and you to take these three kids off my hands.  Do you have any advise for that?  No? Now fuck off before I really get mean!”

I usually am the third person to issue parenting advise to anyone who asks, or does not ask …. or who is pregnant.  I chew the inside of my cheek, and then I can’t stop myself from bursting forth with some advise.

I somehow feel because I have had three of my own I am this font of information.  I really want to tell you the pitfalls of motherhood – but the problem is I develop this frenzied look in my eyes, and spittle forms on my chin and start speaking in this loud erratic voice.

And then nervous moms start backing away from me.  In the Pick ‘n Pay.  Near the lettuce.

Brace yourself for more unsolicited advise ….. can I suggest/advise/beg you to make three appointments for your child each year.

1.  Visit to the dentist – ideally one visit a year. 

If your medical aid is generous go twice.  Do the cleaning, the x-rays and the dentist once over.

I only went to dentists as a child when something was wrong.  The result is that speaking to the dentist’s receptionist makes me sweat yellow stains on my white t-shirt.  Visits to the dentist fill me with all sorts of anxiety and I spend the entire visit with my nails dug into the chair.

My kids on the other hand view the dentist like a tamed down version of Ratanga Junction.  It’s an outing, and they love it.

The upside for us is that we can look at all their teeth lurking under their gums and get a heads up on any issues.  My kids have zero fear of dentists and have become quite accomplished latex glove animal creators.

2.  Visit your optom once a year for an eye test for your kids.

I took all three kids along to vist Basil Kotze over at Charl Laas Optom last week.  Three kids in an optom visit was maybe aiming a bit high on the crazy, but we made it.  He did a great job, and checked all the kids eyes and vision.  Granted two of them were cutting grooves in his beautiful wooden desk whilst he tested the third, but I am hoping since I moved his desk calendar he won’t see the marks.

I had no idea how he was going to check Isabelle, as she is of the “no talking” child variety, but he did.  He had an eye test he did that did not require her to say anything, just look in to the light stuff.   Kids all have perfect eyesight – sadly me, not so much!

I can tick that off and we can have another go in October 2013, and more importantly I am not worrying about something in class because they can’t see what is on the school board.

3.  Have an Audiology Exam for your child every year.

Don’t wait for a problem, test every year so you can obtain a base line and then test from there, each year.

I kick myself that I have not done regular hearing tests with my kids – and I have no idea how much time I have lost with Isabelle.  I have no idea whether her “sticky ear” was an issue that had been there for 3 months or 3 years.  I had Connor and Georgia tested in Grade R as part of preparation for Grade 1 – but I skipped Isabelle, and I kick myself now.

I plan to take Georgia and Connor for hearing tests again this year – and do one each year.

The point I am trying to preach is that if you have access to it, then have your children’s hearing, sight and teeth checked each year – as a preventative tool.

Have a doctor confirm everything is in order, rather than your child missing out on a development issue just because you did not realise, and you only finding out about it much later.

Kids (and adults) are wonderfully devious.  If we struggle with our sight or hearing we tend to adjust our behaviour so it does not become an issue, but the risk with kids is they miss out on key milestones.

It is unsolicited parenting advise, but it is good advise.  Use it, discard it —- what ever works for you.

Try and make an appointment, today – there is nothing bad that can come out of it.

Leave a comment


  1. Kay

     /  October 20, 2012

    What I love the most is when I overhear a conversation of twenty-something girls gossiping about my parenting. They surely know how demanding it is. Gosh, would slap them if I could. On the other hand, I willingly accept an advise from someone who has brought up his kids and knows what being a mother takes.

  2. Let me be the third parent to give advice here, for a change: Check that they cut their toenails every once in a while.

  3. Hilary

     /  October 9, 2012

    Wish I could take your advice but with my crap medical aid (which normally runs out around July) I usually stick to critical things. Although monitoring eye sight and hearing is not exactly minor issues.

  4. You seem to have two hilarious messages going on here! Anyway, I remember when Ming (18 now and our only child) was around 3, everyone kept telling me I should have another baby, it was selfish only to have one etc. etc, Argh!


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