Responding To Unwanted Parental Advice From Strangers

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Unwanted advice from strangers.

This starts happening as soooooon as anyone knows you’re pregnant.

“Sleep with your legs in the air. Then you’ll have a boy.”

“Your hips are really wide. You must be having a girl. Make sure you wear lots of makeup cause they’ll suck the beauty right out of you!” (Yes, I actually had someone say this. No, no one really said the first thing. I made it up to get your attention.)

Anyways, from the nosy old lady at the gynecologist’s, to the deli guy at Albertsons–the average stranger is loaded with valuable information that will improve your parenting. Except it doesn’t improve anything, does it? Unless my kid is in SERIOUS and IMMINENT danger I don’t really want people slamming me with their advice. It’s just too much for this little brain of mine to process.

I must be honest. For whatever reason, when people decide to put their two cents in, I typically smile, nod, and then steer my kids away from their critical gaze. However, I’ve come to a decision: next time someone gets all up in my business I’m gonna pull out one or two or ten of these great one liners. I’m actually not too fast on my feet, so this list is gonna go somewhere in my purse. Or…just stay on this blog.

But I’m gonna rehearse it every night.

Is that weird?

Here’s a list of things I plan on saying next time a stranger offers their unsolicited advice about my parenting:

1.) “They’re not your kids.”

2.) “They’re not my kids.”

3.) “This is a healthy response in our family. When the going gets tough, just drop it like it’s hot and let yourself collapse. You should try it sometime.”

4.) “I KNEW we shouldn’t have given him that Red Bull! Dangit!”

5.) “My child has multiple personality disorder. We’re on our way to the therapist right now.”

6.) “Thank you for telling me that! Absolutely groundbreaking! I’m totally gonna blog about you. Mind if I take your photo?”

7.) “This is NOTHING! You should see her at HOME!”

8.) “He hasn’t eaten in days.”

9.) “We’re weaning her off cigarettes. Its been a rough week.”

10.) “Can I have your phone number and email address? I wanna be sure to have that handy next time something like this comes up. Thanks!”

11.) “He ate his twin in the womb. What do you expect?”

12.) “I have no idea who this kid is. He just started following me in the cereal aisle. You should go alert the store manager.”

13.) From my oh so eloquent father-in-law, “Buzz off, freak!”

14.) “I’m actually a sociologist. He’s the experiment and she’s the placebo.” (You can switch this up from time to time with big terms like Pavlovian and cultural relativism. Just watch Big Bang Theory for a while and latch on to some of Sheldon’s lines.)

15.)  “I think what we’re seeing here is the direct result of all the gum he swallowed. The doctor said it would re-manifest at some point.”

16.) You could always opt for the “no hablo,” and here are a few other options if you want to play a different part. For example, I would just love to respond in Norwegian, “Jeg snakker ikke norsk” or how about in Dutch, “Ik spreek geen Nederlands.” So fun.

17.) Change the subject to something really uncomfortable for them like, “Since we’re so comfortable with one another I just cannot NOT help you out here. You totally have something HUGE stuck in your teeth.” {As this is my greatest fear (being caught with food in my teeth) I reserve this for the really mean ones.}

18.) “I’m kind of off my game. You see, I just found out I’m pregnant with triplets.”

19.) “He had gluten today.”

20.) “Wow! So brilliant you should tweet it #mindyourownbusiness.


I like shock value. I think that’s the way to go with annoying people. Now, if a stranger is in fact so off-base that they will actually give you advice–I must caution you in saying any of the above things. Especially the one about cigarettes. Child services might follow you out of the parking lot…But it is awfully fun to daydream.

What do you say to nosy strangers? Got any awesome one liners to add to my list?

33 thoughts on “Responding To Unwanted Parental Advice From Strangers

  1. Jennifer

    Yeah, I got the one about my girl sucking the beauty out of me too, I was stunned. When I was pregnant with my second (I am 5’2″ and she weighed 8lbs 12 oz at birth) I had several doctors and nurses (who should know better) joke with me about was I sure I wasn’t having twins because my belly was so huge. I mean.. REALLY!

  2. hilljean

    I always come up with snappy come backs after I have walked away from the person, it makes me so mad!
    The idea of carrying a list of one liners = ingenious!

  3. hilljean

    i am so going to use number 9!!! stopping by from the rdc linkup and ended up here. xx

  4. Holly

    That was funny. I was going to take a stab at that prompt but the kids sucked all the life out of me this week! I am filing a few of these away for future reference! Wooo-whoo…I am follower #100!
    504 Main

  5. shelleymay

    i just discovered your blog today, and this post made me just about pee my pants. i often get unsolicited advice and comments, as my daughter has tourettes. lucky me in that one of her, i think maybe only 3 tics (her tourettes today is still very mild) is a lovely scowl of death that looks like she wants to rip your face off and shove it where the sun don’t shine. i err towards the honest reflex type of response when people have said things to me such as: “wow… your little one really has quite an attitude for such a young age! quite the diva!”… or “gosh, so much to be angry about for such a little princess?” i will respond with things such as… ” yep! tourette’s syndrome sucks and it’s no wonder she hasn’t started uncontrollably swearing yet thanks to people like you! have a fabulous day!” (all the while smiling!)

    1. hillary

      Oh my gosh! You have every right and reason to say something back. Gosh. That must suck to have to deal with all the misunderstanding and judgement. How old is your daughter?

  6. Barbara

    I love them all especially the cigarette line!! I’m usually too nice and just smile/ignore.

  7. hilljean

    I loved 4, 7 and 9 ???? I also wrote on this prompt. (And I love a little “shock value” in my humor, too)

  8. Tiffany

    I absolutely love number 10! I have filed that one away for future use when I’m feeling particularly snarky.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  9. Elise

    I think #9 is my favorite! While you probably won’t say most of these, it’s nice to be able to THINK them really hard AT the person, in the hopes that they get a clue without calling protective services. ????

  10. Amiyrah

    Holy Crap! that list literally made me laugh out loud! My list was mostly full of angry responses with a bit of comedy thrown in there. I swear, I dont know what people are thinking. Like we don’t get enough advice from people we know. I hope you can check out my list and leave a comment!

  11. Keely

    I will use the bit about them not being my kids. Because I’ve never done that before.

  12. the ruckels

    love it!
    yes to most people i would like to say “thank you captain obvious!” but that would require me being able to react quickly by ducking out of the way i’m afraid…and that just aint gonna happen.

  13. Donna

    Love them all. ROTFL You could always add that you forgot the Benedryl! I have a very serious face. People don’t normally give me advice. Donna

  14. Jackie

    These are great! I don’t have any one liners to add. I so can’t think on my feet when someone says something to me about my son. But, funny thing is the ones making these comments are usually my relatives. Drives me insane!

  15. Jackie

    LOVE the cigarettes line!!! May actually use this one!!

  16. thelifeofjamie

    #6 is great. Throw an F bomb in there and it’s perfect!

  17. hilljean

    too funny. i usually just smile, nod, and walk away…too caught off guard to come up with a response, although i usually think of the best ones as soon as i get in my car a drive off…

  18. hilljean

    Can I borrow some of yours? They’re so much better than mine!

  19. Kimberly

    I loved 4, 7 and 9 ???? I also wrote on this prompt. (And I love a little “shock value” in my humor, too)

  20. Sarah Bowling

    Love these! I especially love unsolicited advice from people WITH NO CHILDREN OF THEIR OWN!

  21. Meredith

    I LOVE your shock value! These responses were awesome, I’m now using them too ????

    1. hillary

      Thanks ???? I’m such an idiot though. I had the perfect opportunity to use one yesterday and I completely clammed up! :/

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  23. Jen

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could really say those things? Love it!! And the picture, too…so cute ????

  24. oomph.

    too funny. i usually just smile, nod, and walk away…too caught off guard to come up with a response, although i usually think of the best ones as soon as i get in my car a drive off…

  25. Bees With Honey

    I love your ten! I’m in for total shock value too. It’s the only way to shut up stupid people.

  26. June Freaking Cleaver

    Can I borrow some of yours? They’re so much better than mine!

  27. Carissa

    LOVE these responses!!!!! I, too, hated all the “advice” you get when you’re pregnant. I can’t believe the make-up comment you got. Unbelievable!!! Some people! I was told multiple times how awful it was to have a girl once I knew the gender. How they are such drama queens and it’s just so much work with them. I finally went to a friend who had an older little girl and asked if she liked having a girl and she said “Of course!” I had to learn to blow off comments like that. I wish I’d had a good one-liner ????

  28. Emmy

    Lol!! Love loved this list! But yes, my first thought was the cigarette one is that is a good way to get the cops called on you, so glad you put in that disclaimer ???? Love love number 6- as yes, most likely we are going to go home and blog about it anyway so might as well let them know ????

    1. hillary

      Yes, it goes without saying that every one of those comments are tongue-in-cheek ???? And meant for shock value ????


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