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The Most Impractical — and Hilarious — “Words of Wisdom” Philly Parents Have Heard
“Sleep when the baby sleeps.” … Right.
“I’m New at This” is Be Well Philly’s series for new and soon-to-be parents. This educational resource covers the ins and outs of prepping for the arrival of a little one and taking care of them — and yourself — with insight and advice from local experts. Tips featured in “I’m New at This” are recommendations, and we believe in pursuing methods and approaches that work best for your unique family. Have a question you’d like to see answered? Email Be Well editor Laura Brzyski at Lbrzyski@phillymag.com.
If you’re a parent, you likely have had family, friends, or even total strangers offer their perspectives on what you should or shouldn’t do with your kid. But oftentimes, their “advice” is unhelpful, impractical, and/or unwarranted. Perhaps people have good intentions — or, maybe people are simply the worst.
We asked some new and seasoned Philly parents the worst recommendations they’ve received when it comes to taking care of a little one. Find their responses below — and like they did, take all the “words of wisdom” you hear with a grain of salt … and maybe a middle finger.
“Cherish every moment / It goes so fast.”
“They’re clichés that reveal to me the selective amnesia that enables mothers to have multiple children. Sure, childhood goes by quickly in the scheme of things. Every day we are a little older. Your baby will never be a baby again. ‘The days are long, but the years are short,’ as they say. But was I cherishing every sleep-deprived moment of my newborn having colic, reflux, hypotonia, and teetering on the edge of ‘failure to thrive’ designation at her weekly (yes, weekly) check-ins with the hospital’s lactation consultant? Only a masochist would. This kind of toxic positivity has no place in your newborn’s life, and you don’t need to cherish anything you don’t want to.” —Laura Swartz, Philly Mag’s deputy digital editor and mom to an almost-nine-year-old
“Wait till your baby is a toddler/gets older — they’ll be a terror!”
“This is not even useful.” —Victor Spaulding, owner of Control Lab in Grad Hospital and dad to an almost-six-month-old
“…when I am clearly worried” —Molly Weinberg, Ambler resident and mom to an almost-eight-month-old
“Keep your newborn indoors.”
“We took the kids out with us pretty much right after they were born, and we got a ton of shit for that from relatives, friends and strangers. I remember that when we took our son home from the hospital, Suchita [my wife] really wanted a pastrami sandwich from Hymie’s, so we drove from the hospital straight to Hymie’s with our son in a car seat. We put him on a chair next to us and the waitress was like, ‘Oh a baby!’ And Suchita said, ‘Yes, he is two days old’ and the waitress was horrified and we soon became the gossip of all the nosy waitresses. They told us flat out we were wrong. We had relatives telling us you are supposed to wait 30 days before you take a baby out into the public. Some said 40 days.” —Victor Fiorillo, senior reporter at Philly Mag and dad to a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old
“You’re tired? Well, one day you’ll miss this!”
“Yes, I know one day I’ll miss it, but [the lack of sleep] still sucks in the moment.” —Natalie Graveley, teacher at Nazareth Academy High School and mom to three sons under five
“You can’t travel with a baby.”
“From my experience, traveling is possible with a baby if you have a plan and do the research. It’s not as go-with-the-flow as it once was [before baby], but it’s still doable. Just because you become a mom or dad doesn’t mean you stop living or doing the things you love — they just look a little different: more work, more planning, maybe some more difficulty.” —Weinberg
“Go on a weekly date.”
“Great advice, but who can get a weekly babysitter and wants to leave the baby that often, especially in the beginning?” —Spaulding
A hairy situation
“We didn’t get our son’s hair cut until he was maybe three years old, so it was really long. We had people telling us we needed to cut his hair because he was going to develop vision problems — as in, the hair was in his eyes and his eyes wouldn’t learn how to see properly. And then, of course, there were the relatives who said people would think he was a girl — which they did, and who cares?” —Fiorillo
“Just let the baby cry it out.”
“…um no.” —Weinberg
“I’ll watch the baby for you!”
“…from people you barely know.” —Spaulding
And the pure audacity!
“One lady tried to lift my nursing cover in Rittenhouse when my daughter was crying hysterically and not latching to try to ‘help.’” —Swartz