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Top tips dealing with busy bodies :)

(57 Posts)
cookiemonster100 Fri 17-May-13 18:50:33

Hi all,

PG with our 1st child & I have noticed that a lot of people seem to offer advice / lectures / preach to you. For examples I have had one woman give me a lecture today on the cons of epidurals , ( not requested by me just another interfering busy body) & another ask " should you be eating that" i am very aware this gets worse once kiddies are on the scene.
So what are your come back lines / tactics with dealing with these people? I am looking for more for a verbal route because bashing them over the head is not allowed (shame) ;)
Thanks x

DIYandEatCake Fri 17-May-13 18:56:06

Nod, smile and change the subject pronto. People mean well and are normally trying to help but yes it is really annoying! Just remember how it feels when you're a mum and bursting to share your wealth of experience with your pregnant friend/relative/workmate.

Smile, interrupt, and say "I'm don't need advice right now, but I'll know where come when I do - thank you!" and then ask them about their child. This is a guaranteed change of subject - everyone wants to talk about their children.

Get good at this, because the amount of unwanted advice trebles once you've had the baby.

In a year or so, one day you will hear yourself offering your own advice to some trapped pg woman who didn't ask for it. Honest, you will. It comes to us all ...

LoganMummy Fri 17-May-13 19:59:55

I have used the MN "did you mean to be so rude?" a couple of times this pregnancy to great satisfaction. smile

cupcake78 Fri 17-May-13 20:38:54

It's so irritating isn't it. I've found the old saying 'what will be will be' is a great conversation stopper! Or very simply 'I don't want to talk about it'.

As the hormones took over I do remember asking a continual advice giver why people felt I need so much advice when its actually my body and baby and therefore my choice'. I'm sure this is was the most tactful way of dealing with it all.

Bunnylion Fri 17-May-13 23:20:29

I like cupcake78s strategy.

I've tried all sorts of polite responses to try and shut down a patronising and uninvited advice session before it gets into full swing, it never work.

I think the only answer is to be very clear and direct. Who cares if you sous a bit rude, they'll probably just feel sorry for you for being a bit "hormonal".

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Fri 17-May-13 23:27:41

I got told I shouldn't be drinking an instant coffee from somebody I know smoked through her pregnancy because it was too 'stressful' for her to give up. I don't know how I held my tongue [ angry]

Lots of 'are you sure you should be eating that' around my peanut butter consumption too. Yes thank you, I have made an informed decision that I am quite happy with...

Just smile and nod. Then ignore.

Teaandflapjacks Sat 18-May-13 08:48:55

IJust peanut butter? What is wrong with that? That old wives tale (which is what it was really!!) was disproved a while ago. I don't know how I would have got through some weeks without peanut butter or marmite! I have had plenty of this from the in laws, randoms etc. It really depends on my mood what I say - sometimes i say 'lets just agree to disagree'. Or the easiest for me with my overly opinionated MIL is to say 'Hmmm, I don't really agree but I'll check that with my Gyn. and go with what she says, she is the expert'. This shuts her right up. grin

Teaandflapjacks Sat 18-May-13 08:49:42

er i meant to strikethrough overly opinionated not underline it! blush

Fairypants Sat 18-May-13 09:17:27

(Shamelessly watching thread and taking notes)
This all sounds so much better than my take-it-all-on-board-and-feel-rubbish approach! I will have to use some of the if when I get upduffed with #3.

burberryqueen Sat 18-May-13 09:19:13

"in this matter, you really don't need to concern yourself on my behalf, but thanks anyway"

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 18-May-13 09:21:13

People always say to just smile and ignore them. Or thank them and ignore them.

That always baffles me.

I think that if someone has been rude enough to come up to someone and give them a lecture, then they have forfeited the right to have politeness given to them in return.

I'd say "excuse me, did I faint and miss the part where you were asked for your opinion?"

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 18-May-13 09:23:11

Or look around me really dramatically and then say, in a confused voice, "nope, I don't think I can see any of your business over here"

I hate people who think they have the right to come up to you and lecture you.

burberryqueen Sat 18-May-13 09:33:48

ah but hecsy thanking them undermines them, as does agreeing with them over-enthusiastically....'thank you so much, you are so right, yes thank you ...etc' (repeat til fade)

cookiemonster100 Sat 18-May-13 16:26:20

Good advice ladies!! It just bugs me and I get really annoyed about people butting in however I really need to learn to let it go & not let it bother me.
One day I might learn .....

amazingmumof6 Sat 18-May-13 17:02:06

love the "looking around" and "did I faint" ones! thanks for that!

I tend to ask "why do you want to know?" that shuts' em up.

or just say something stupid and roll eyes. (think "duh" simultaneously)

Q: is it a boy or a girl? A: yessmile smile

Q: are you having anymore A: not while still pg with this one

Q: your belly is sooooo BIG! A: so is your arse

oh I've got hundreds of these
I specialise in versions of "are you hoping for a girl" had 5 boys then baby girl. expert me!grin

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 18-May-13 17:22:17

Yes burberry, but that relies on them being intelligent and aware enough to realise that you aren't actually being sincere grin and if they were that, they wouldn't be sticking their beaks in in the first place.

They'll think you're actually thanking them and appreciating their input!

burberryqueen Sat 18-May-13 17:30:19

haha well let them bless their little pointy heads...

Viviennemary Sat 18-May-13 17:34:32

Oh stop being a killjoy. Some people get great pleasure in being busybodies. In fact that might be their only pleasure in life. I only usually lecture people I know. grin

RJM17 Sat 18-May-13 17:39:07

I tried to be polite at first but now I now I just say thanks but its my baby and my body so me and my husband will make the decisions we want to. And they quickly change the subject lol x

iamci Sat 18-May-13 19:33:46

saw a great baby grow this week that said
"my mummy doesn't want your advice" grin

amazingmumof6 Sat 18-May-13 19:37:19

iamci grin

and in brackets " and nor do I!"

I wonder what would be a good slogan while still pg....hmmm


froubylou Sat 18-May-13 19:58:16

I just reply "well the gin,fags and cocaine dont seem to be hurting anything so I cant see this coffee causing problems can you?".

Usually works but some folk will think In serious one day and Il end up in the priory lol.

sprite25 Sun 19-May-13 12:09:59

ha ha will have to remember some of these! Im only 11 weeks and already dreading people telling me how I should be doing things, although I dont quite need maternity wear yet I had to stop myself buying a maternity top from new look which said 'hands off the bump' and had two handprints where the bump would be, couldnt think of anything worse then being mauled by strangers or people I hardly know!

amazingmumof6 Sun 19-May-13 13:16:50

buy the t-shirt smile
I bought one with "Does my bump look big in this?"grin

Laquila Sun 19-May-13 13:22:50

I was always more offended at people (particularly people I didn't even really know!) asking me, before I was pg, when I planned to get pregnant. Maybe I was just more sensitive then as had been ttc and didn't want to talk to my own family about it, let alone strangers!

Having said that, I haven't had much unsolicited advice/comments during my pregnancy, poss because my bump is still quite small considering how far along I am.

I think I was more offended the other night by a friend who was asked by another friend "whether she was engaged yet?"...hmm I had to actually comment on the rudeness of that one...fortunately the friend in question was quite drunk and didn't seem that bothered....

I think the best and least stressful strategy is to nod, smile and change the subject if poss - as another poster said, people are generally well-meaning.

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sun 19-May-13 19:40:16

Teaandflapjacks I know! It is so annoying, NHS now says nuts are fine unless there is a history of allergy/asthma/eczema in your immediate family. Even so, I would have ate nuts anyway as there is no allergies in my family. I think of it like vaccinations, exposing the baby to something to boost immunity.

I was much more annoyed about the caffeine thing - it's not banned, ad better for the baby than cigarettes!

ANJALI777 Sun 19-May-13 21:15:12

I have a very opinionated MIL and I used to argue with her. Now I pretend I haven't heard her or if I am challenged for a response, I fob her off with 'everyone's different', I haven't decided, or I'll see. it annoys her because I know exactly what I am doing and intend to do it regardless.
These people are just sanctumonius and bored. Irritating combination.

"well the gin,fags and cocaine dont seem to be hurting anything so I cant see this coffee causing problems can you?".
rofl brilliant!

Gerty1002 Mon 20-May-13 09:02:09

I love that one @froubylou - might use that night next time someone at work tells me "you shouldn't be working here in your condition" - I work in a gastropub. I thought they did away with confinement a long time ago...

Halfling Mon 20-May-13 09:08:20

People are generally trying to be helpful. There are 101 ways of getting past people you don't wish to engage with atm.

You will get a lot of conflicting advice and some bad advice as well. But hidden amongst them would be some little gems that will have a huge impact.

I could not have done without the wisdom and support of other mums when I was struggling with pregnancy complications, breastfeeding etc.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 09:15:44

I don't think being pregnant is any excuse to be rude to anyone. People generally mean well, and everyone gets excited by a pregnancy.

When my MIL offered shit advice I'd just say something like "they don't do that now", or "it's different now"

I don't think there's ever an excuse to belittle people or be a smart arse just because they are misguided but well meaning.

You might be that lonely old lady one day.

froubylou Mon 20-May-13 12:10:29

But being pregnant is not an excuse to have advice (well meaning or otherwise) shoved down your throat, unless you ask for it.

And I'm sure most of us for the most part will nod and smile and agree with most people. My theory is opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has got one and the only one that really matters is my own!

But some people whether they be friends, relatives or strangers feel compelled to force unwanted advice upon hormonal, emotional ladies who are already going through one of the most worrying times of their lives whether they are first time mums or old hands. Chuck someone speaking AT you rather than with you over an issue that is probably completely non of their business and you are bound to get a snotty answer sooner or later.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:25:38

chocsaway but being pregnant is one of those times when you are oversensitive, hormonal, irrational etc

leave them be

ChunkyPickle Mon 20-May-13 12:42:33

I really want to find some of these people - no-one offers me advise on anything! (Although MIL is itching to I think - but she's too nice to actually do it)

I would class myself as little and cuddly, but perhaps other people have a different perception?

OP, smile and ignore (unless you have a perfect smartarse comment). No point engaging at all, as anyone who feels strongly about anything just won't change their mind

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:46:55

chunkypickle have my mum, my MIL, some so-called friends and the pretty much the whole fricking neighbourhood, including most healthcare workers and Tesco stuff grin

you are welcome

ChunkyPickle Mon 20-May-13 12:51:30

Perhaps I need to get out more...

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 14:40:38

*chocsaway but being pregnant is one of those times when you are oversensitive, hormonal, irrational etc

leave them be*

I have been pregnant five times. I have two children. I still managed to nod and smile. Nobody "forced advice down my throat" I was free to ignore it or discard it.

People offering or handing our advice are not evil, just thoughtless, so belittling them and using sarcasm to make them look small is not something I would like to do.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 15:58:34

I dare you to nod and smile when having had 3 boys someone sees your newborn DS4 says "oh, you've had another boy! what a shame...a girl would've been lovely!"shock angry

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 16:03:41

had versions of this through all my pgs and after MC.

the most horrible one? after loosing baby girl someone close to me said they were happy that baby died, because they thought it would've been hard to look after 5 kids and it's better that way.
I most certainly did not smile and nod!

no sympathy from me for "well-meaning" strangers.
they can just fuck off, then fuck off some more to the far side of fuck

and we have 6 now and doing fab.

gertrudestein Mon 20-May-13 16:09:33

YY to Laquila - it was MUCH more annoying and genuinely hurtful when I was ttc (with lots of problems) and people asked me when I was going to have children. The only thing that really upsets me at the moment is 'when do you think you'll have a second?' I've not had this one yet! Also, I have had a difficult pregnancy so far, so am hastily rethinking my plans for a large family ...!

I think this thread is mostly good natured - thank god we have MN to vent on. I'm sure we're all balanced and very polite in real life! There's no way I could actually tell my mother that I am going to scream if she encourages me, one more time, to manipulate the NHS into giving me an ELCS because 'it's easier to sit down afterwards.' Smile. Nod. Ignore.

Kittenkatzen Mon 20-May-13 16:19:34

I've found that I'm not really getting advice as such (yet!) but more more being "informed" what will and won't be happening to me - always with a smug, derisive chuckle at whatever I might have said - so far I've been told by various people that I will "definitely"...

give up bf by 6wks to "get my life back"
be feeding baby rice at 4mths (I want to blw at 6mths) just to get my child to sleep more than an hour
have an epidural
not have an epidural
want my mum to come and stay (not a chance!)
....and on and on and on...

My new response to all helpful advice, interested conversations is "well, we're just going to see how it goes...."

If you refuse to be drawn in the subject they soon lose interest!

Kittenkatzen Mon 20-May-13 16:21:40

I may have to invest in one f iamci's babygros grin

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 16:26:41

Laquila you can tell your mum that a normal birth doesn't neccesary mean you can't sit down afterwards.

my 6th was born with no tearing so no stitches needed. she was 8lb 3oz.

I was so well and pain free within days. it was great! smile

(I had unavoidable ELSC with DS4, massive episiotomy and foreceps with DS1, plus a variety of experiences with the others. I'm ok sitting down grin )

and congrats on being pg!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 16:27:01

amazingmumof6. I quite agree.

When pregnant I was able to deflect comments and advice and nod and smile.

Once my boy was born, I did get pissed off with MIL "I was hoping for a girl, but never mind" Still she lives hundreds of miles away so it's not very often I have to listen to her drivel! I can play nice a few times a year when we see her.

Anyway, I thought this thread was about remarks when pregnant? If so yes, I would be polite to well meaning misguided people.

However once the baby is born, it's just as bad! the first time DH and I were uptight, but the 2nd time we were more blase about it, saying stuff like "well the first one turned out OK, so I guess we're doing something right!"

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 20-May-13 16:28:03

Kittenkatzen I agree. Deflect and change the subject with a platitude.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 16:28:14

sorry last post was meant for gertrudestein

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 16:54:40

yes chocs I agree that nod and smile works, but not forever.
especially not when pg and busy and tired and have a migraine etc.

the more kids I had the less patience I had in general, so even less to suffer fools gladly.

I don't see why I have to be polite when the other person isn't.
not my fault they have no emotional intelligence.

And the problem is that there is no end, unless busybodies go shock and shut up.


gertrudestein Mon 20-May-13 16:58:44

Wow amazingmumof6, I think you've earned your nickname!

Bunnylion Mon 20-May-13 19:25:36

I'm gearing up for a natural hypnobirth.

For months I've been working hard at conditioning my mind to really know that I will be in control and am able to birth the baby confidently and calmly, without relying on other people to get the baby out - obviously as long as there are no complications.

But I can't go 2 days without a random person feeling the need to remind me of the fear, the pain and the horror that some women suffer, including..."god it was the worse day of my life", "you will fell like you're gonna die", "he can't look at his wife the same now", "you'll be screaming for an epidural, everyone does"", "don't worry you'll forget the unbelievable pain once you see the baby", "Maria needed 5 pints of blood", "the doctor had to sit on her to squeeze the giant baby out", "it got stuck", "so glad I'm not a woman (shudders)".

I've taken all these comments gently and let them pass with a nod and a smile up till now, but if some comment like that pops into my head during labour it could really make me panic.

I know people really don't realise they are doing any harm but from today I decided to just cut them off with, "sorry to interrupt but if you're not about to say anything positive then please stop there".

Dildals Mon 20-May-13 22:51:47

Someone asked me the other day 'do you know what you're having?'. My deadpan response 'a baby'. Quite pleased with myself.

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 23:54:02

dildalsgrin I've done that too!

also had fun with telling people stupid names we might call baby.
I love sewing so my favourite tease was: Button for a boy, Ribbon for a girl.
Problem is that I said that so many times I fell in love with those names! thank goodness we never had twins, -imagine!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 21-May-13 12:08:11

Dildals, you see I think your response sounds rude and sarcastic

I don't thinking asking someone that question is rude, it's just small talk and to be sarcastic just sounds wrong to me.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 21-May-13 12:08:56

Bunnylion- I do agree that telling pregnant women horror stories is tactless.

EldritchCleavage Tue 21-May-13 12:14:48

I found just saying "What?!" in a very brisk Joyce Grenfell way would put most people off continuing. Though I once got cornered by a woman in the shop where I was buying maternity bras who asked if I had any cravings, then ticked me off for succumbing to them (apparently oranges are very acid and if you eat them regularly in pregnancy it ^could harm your baby^). I think I just wandered off.

amazingmumof6 Tue 21-May-13 12:17:43

my most tactful deflecting is "that's a good question!" then nothing.

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