Dealing with Opinions... Lovingly

Tips on How to Deal with Opinions in Motherhood

I have been subjected to other's opinions many times over. This isn't necessarily a problem--we all have opinions and conversations are often built on these. The problem arises when these opinions confuse or discourage me, when they're from sources I don't trust, or when they're otherwise unwelcome.

Like the stranger who asked if I knew what was wrong with my face (I have acne scars and blemishes) and said baby butt paste could cure me of it. Or the input on reasons for my son's difficulty (picky-eating, anti-potty-training, aggressive) and what we should be doing to prevent or fix it--from people who don't know our specifics. Or the many people that had definite disgusted opinions against cloth diapers, without having done any of their own research into it.

When being a mom (or just a generally good person, for that matter) is already tough, I don't need outside influences further discouraging, confusing, or fostering doubt in me.

So, to go with my four mantras for beating mom guilt from last week, here are a few tips I've used to get through the plague of "all the opinions" with a little bit of love.

4 Tips for Dealing with Opinions... Lovingly

Above all, seek and recall to mind fact and truth.

Opinions, by nature and definition, are judgements and views not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. That's why they tend to make us feel defensive, because they often contradict what we know to be true. Before they roll in--because they will, welcome or not--I need to drench myself in facts and truth. This might mean researching a topic for myself, or it might mean reciting what is true for me (like the mantras from last week :)

Intentionally surround yourself in support.

Obviously not all opinions are unwanted or unwelcome. When we're facing a tough decision or working through a challenging situation, it's perfectly normal to seek out help from others. Intentionally seeking support from family, friends, mentors, peers, or various leaders that we trust can fill us with those opinions that matter--thoughts and ideas that might actually give us the direction we need.

Know who's words are worth taking to heart.

This isn't too far off from the idea above. Getting opinions that we value can help balance out the unwanted opinions. Like when a stranger has input without knowing any of the specifics of my situation. I retaliate in my mind, "You don't know me!" And it's likely true. If someone doesn't know us or the full scope of our situation, then their opinions likely aren't for me. Intentionally seeking support from sources I trust (above), will be the words worth listening to.

Perfect the smile-and-nod.

And that's where the smile-and-nod comes in. For all those opinions that were unsolicited or otherwise unwanted, there is no reason to be rude. If it seems fitting, the input can be nicely declined. For everything else--especially those short snippets of advice from a stranger in passing--just smile and nod and move on. They feel they've done their duty to advise, and I've done my duty to listen in love. But listening does not mean I have to take to heart anything that is not fitting for me, my family, and my life.

As with all opinions, wanted or not, I'd do well to take what fits, leave the rest, and carry on.


also see:
new? start here...
mantras to beat mom guilt
all posts: cloth, birth, baby


  1. Thanks for linking up! I deploy the smile and nod method as well. Its my fav ;)

  2. HONEST question... did you try the butt paste thing? I don't understand why they think that would solve the problem, unless I need to know this very well kept secret? I have gone through my rounds of adult acne (hormones, man! When I stopped taking birth control and now that I've stopped nursing... my hormones go nuts and cause major acne and scarring) and a random woman tried to point out how awful my skin was and that I NEEDED to buy her product she sales to fix it. I was on meds from my derm and obviously it's not an over nighter fixer... so I cried and cried the rest of the night.
    Anyway, I totally went off on a tangent there! Love your 4 tips! I find myself doing the 4th more often than not...but occasionally someone offers up really good advice when I least expect it!

    1. Lol, yes. I did try it. She actually happened to be a retired dermatologist or something like that, and there was a main ingredient that's supposed to work wonders. I did it for maybe a month? I didn't notice a difference. And my philosophy is if I can look the same with zero effort, then why add extra to my routine? :)

      And, it's true, every now and then you can hit a golden nugget from random advice!