As much as I'm tempted to dole out advice to newbie parents, and oh yes, I am mightily tempted, I do my best to hold my tongue.
I wish I could say the same about my mother-in-law.
I mean, I totally understand the urge that many moms, including me, have to share their experience and been-there-done-that knowledge.
I made my fair share of embarrassing bumbles and blunders, like the time I took my oldest to the ER at Christmas with a low grade fever, and would have benefited from the helpful advice of seasoned parents.
Instead, I just got my Mother-in-law's judgmental "You're going to feed her from your what?" assvice.
I'm actually all for giving advice, when it's asked for and sometimes when it's unsolicited, but there's definitely a formula for giving it to new parents so that it doesn't end up sounding like smug assvice.
a) An adorable couple with a wee one in a Bjorn, who just spent the entire time in the security line trying to figure out whether they had to take the baby out of the carrier to go through the x-ray machine.
Do try empathy and humor.
"Yes, unfortunately you do. It's such a pain. But at least you can leave their shoes on now!"
Don't make them look like the complete idiots that they are.
"Well, considering you have to take off your belt and remove all the change from your pockets, it's pretty obvious that your baby is going to have to come off too."
b) The couple debating where to change their toddler's diaper -- the floor at the gate or the bathroom changing table.
Do speak from your own experience, and give them encouragement for their smart thinking.
"Whatever's easiest! Either one is way better than changing it on the plane, that's for sure."
Don't scold them for wasting so much time on something so fucking stupid.
"It's a diaper change for God sakes. Not the 2012 Presidential election or World Hunger."
c) My sister-in-law who scurried around after me with a new bib after I told her that the baby had a little spit-up.
Do downplay the need for action, modeling laidback parenting behavior.
"Eh, it's no big deal. A little bit of spit-up never hurt anyone."
Don't prey on their naivete with evil threats
"You're getting worked up over a bib? I'm pretty sure I could do a few things to this baby to really get you to run."
d) A mom with a puke-ish son, trying to figure out what to give him so she can get the hell out of her in-laws house.
Do talk her down from the ledge with the obvious facts.
"You know, he had Advil on an empty stomach. He might just need a little food and something bubbly."
Don't offer her expired Coca Cola syrup from 1965 for his upset stomach.
"Well, I guess you know best. But it helped us when we had the heaves."
There's a fine line people. Walk it carefully. With love and gentility.
Then feel free to make fun of them on your blog.