By Rachel Sobel of Whine and Cheez(Its)
Almost every day, we see articles swirling around the Internet about something a parent did that has others in an uproar. Strangers get cocky and downright aggressive behind the safety of their keyboard as they openly chide someone for parenting choices. People get on their proverbial soap boxes and turn a seemingly innocent parenting moment into a controversial shit-show.
It’s getting out of hand.
We, as parents, should stand in solidarity with one another. We don’t have to make the same choices. We don’t even have to agree. Sure, there are plenty of controversial topics that actually affect the lives of others, the planet and society, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about minding your own business about the choices of others that DO NOT AFFECT YOUR LIFE IN ANY WAY.
While I could compile a list that would rival the length of a CVS coupon, I’ve whittled it down to a short list.
Let’s talk about these five things other parents need to mind their own business about.
1. Kissing your children on the lips.
Just recently, a picture surfaced of David Beckham kissing his daughter on the lips, and the trolls came out from far and wide to play. First of all, even I would welcome David Beckham kissing me on the lips, but that’s neither here nor there. Since when is it anyone’s business how we choose to show affection to our kids? How exactly does it affect your life if someone chooses to plant a smooch on their kids’ mouth? It doesn’t. You don’t get an opinion on how a parent that’s not you chooses to show affection. So, move on.
2. Breastfeeding in public.
Really? We’re still talking about this? Does a woman feeding her baby from her boobs really offend you? Because I guarantee, you can look around a restaurant and find people eating like slobs with food on their faces or in their teeth that prove to be way more offensive than a baby being breastfed. As a matter of fact, I would bet that the overwhelming majority of people sitting in a restaurant getting bent out of shape by a woman nursing her child have far more salacious pictures in their camera roll. A woman feeding her child has zero impact on you and your life. Eat your food and look the other way if it bothers you. Only a monster would shame a woman for nursing in public. Get over it.
3. What we feed our kids.
Parenthood is hard. It’s a daily juggle of meals, moods, meltdowns and everything in between. Some kids are great eaters and some consider Goldfish an actual meal. And guess what? Whether your kid is taking down an entire filet of roasted salmon accompanied by asparagus or complaining about their pasta because there is parsley in the sauce and they are bugging out, you are doing great! Your kids’ dietary drama or success is nobody’s business except yours. So, keep your mouth shut and stop shaming parents about what their kids eat.
4. Sleep training.
The sleep struggle is real—for parents and kids alike. Some people are blessed with a great sleeper and never have to consider the bevvy of sleep training tactics out there. And then there’s the parent population who cannot get their kids to sleep in their beds, and out of desperation do the one thing they swore they’d never do—co-sleep. I feel for those parents. I’ve been on both sides of the sleep spectrum and am a believer in doing what works for you. But the people who have something to say about how others need to enforce better sleep habits need to zip it. You don’t live in their houses. You don’t walk in their shoes. Worry about your own kids’ sleep habits and stop preaching to others.
5. Screen time.
The debate about kids and screen time is always a doozy. There are people on both sides who vehemently disagree with each other on their respective stances. Some whip out the iPad the minute they walk into a restaurant, so they can enjoy a meal with minimal whining. And some have rigid restrictions on the amount of screen time their kids are allowed to rack up during any given day. Regardless of what side you are on, it’s exactly that – YOUR side. There’s no right or wrong and your choices are your choices. If you are one of those people imposing your views about screen time and shaming parents for their position, just stop.
Here’s the common thread about all of these parental hot buttons – NONE of them have an effect of anyone’s life except the family living them.
You don’t like when people kiss their kids on the lips? Then don’t do it.
You don’t like breastfeeding in public? Then don’t do it and simply look away if you witness someone else doing it.
You would never fathom giving your kids cookies for dinner? Then don’t. But stop judging a parent who may just be picking and choosing their battles.
You believe strongly in enforcing the Cry It Out method? Have at it. It’s your right. What’s not your right is to make a sleep-deprived parent feel like shit for just trying to get through the night.
You think kids should never have access to a screen of any kind? Then don’t give them one. But don’t open your mouth if someone else does. It’s not your call.
Worry about YOUR choices and stop inserting yourself into the lives of others. Just because something is shared on social media, it’s not an invitation to vilify someone for their decisions. You do you and let everyone else do the same. In other words, stay in your lane.
About the Author
Rachel Sobel from Whine and Cheez-its is living the NEW normal: Marriage, Baby, Divorce, Remarriage, another baby. In between navigating massive loads of laundry, cooking 32 different meals for picky eaters, doing ponytails over until they are perfect with “NO BUMPS, MOM!” and double-fisting iced coffee, she finds time to write all of it down. In addition to being a speaker, published author and writing her own blog, she’s a contributor for PopSugar and has work in ScaryMommy, The Huffington Post and Today Parents. You can find her on Instagram @whineandcheezits and on Facebook.