By Sarah Hosseini
If you’ve spent five seconds in any Facebook mommy group, parenting blog or online publication about kids, you’ll see the epidemic. It’s rampant. Moms and dads (okay, mostly moms, just keepin’ it real) bashing each other to smithereens over topics like breastfeeding, sleep-training, vaccinations, allergies, screen time, yaddi yadda yadda. I could literally go on FOREVER. But I’ll spare you. You know what I’m talking about, dear reader. We all do.
Instead of having compassion and empathy for opposing viewpoints and perspectives, commenters are spewing hateful rhetoric at each other. Read the comments section of almost any parenting article, and you’ll be disgusted with humanity. You’ll be concerned for your own brood growing up in this mess.
It’s not shocking to see this holier-than-thou mentality play out on the internet and social media. We do this in real life. Moms give each other side-eye and make snarky statements about everything under the sun. One time I thought I was gonna get jumped by a mom posse at the park all because I admitted to letting my kid “cry it out.”
Forgive my heathen soul. I have committed the cardinal sin of letting my kid cry and I should be crucified at the stake.
Get real. Why do you care what I do? Are you in my house at 3:30 AM, listening to my kid’s cries? I think not. Keep steppin’, sista.
Moms have also mastered sanctimony like that shit is an Olympic sport. They make passive-aggressiveness look like a goddamn art form.
My personal favorite mode of attack is the ‘ol concern-covered-up-as-a-jab routine. It’s my fave because it’s so damn obvious.
Allow me to demonstrate.
“IT’S SO SAD TO ME…” bla bla bla attack blab la bla attack attack.
“IT’S SO SAD THAT….” bla blab la jab blab la bla jab jab jab.
Really, bitch? Someone hold my hoops, yo. I’m about to get gangsta.
Are you really crying about the fact that I formula fed my baby? Is it really “sad” to you? Are you really weeping about the fact that I swear in front of my kids (and in this article)? Does it keep you up at night? Are you depressed that I use time-out as a discipline tool? Does my way of life really offend you so deeply that you’ll have to grab a tissue and schedule a therapy session?
It’s sad that you’re a fucking asshole. That’s what’s sad.
Why do we feel the need to constantly berate and belittle other parents for their personal choices? Why do we body slam each other for mishaps and mistakes? It doesn’t make any of us better than the next parent. It makes us assholes.
Here are seven reasons we should STFU (shut the fuck up) and stop judging each other online and IRL (in real life).
1. You NEVER know the WHOLE story. When you read an article online, or in a newspaper, or hear a story on TV, you are getting snippets of the story. You are getting soundbites. You’re getting edited and sometimes spliced together soundbites. Frankly, WHY DO I EVEN NEED TO TELL YOU THIS? The “media” you love to hate is the same one that you claim makes you a goddamn parenting expert.
2. Thou hast fucked up in the past, too. We all make mistakes. We all have accidents. I’m sure you’ve made choices in your life that you aren’t too pleased with. I’m sure you’ve had something in your life happen that was unpreventable. We’ve all had less than shining moments.
3. Your life isn’t rainbows and unicorns. This image and façade you present to the world on Facebook every day is tired. It’s soooooo tired. I’m exhausted for you. Enough already. We all have things we consider flaws. Last I checked you’re human.
4. Talking shit is annoying. When you talk shit about someone else, it says wwwaaaayyyy more about you. It says you’re unhappy. Your insecurities look painfully obvious. What are you trying to prove? We’re not in high school. You’re not cool.
5. You’re not living in reality. This whole fake illusion you’ve built for yourself is going to crumble. A false sense of security will fail you when shit hits the fan. Kids raised by the best parents can fuck up. Marriages with the best couples end. Jobs are lost. Lives become broken. People become broken. It happens. If you don’t think it can happen to you, prepare to be blind-sided when it does.
6. We’re in this together. Raising humans is so hard. I don’t have to tell you that. There are so many challenges stacked against moms and parents. Lack of paid maternity/paternity leave, soaring childcare and college costs, stagnant wages, etc. There is a profound lack of support in this country for families, and especially mothers. Dividing is NOT what we should be doing if we’re going to stand united on the important issues. We are bonded and unified by this experience. We’re going through a parallel time together. We can make changes to better the lives of our children and families across the country if we pool our energies together and stop fighting over silly nonsense.
7. You never know when you’ll need support. Saying simply, “I’m here for you” to the mom who’s having trouble breastfeeding or potty training is the right thing to do.
You should not be caring about what another mother feeds her kids. You shouldn’t care how they piss. It’s not your life. They’re not your kids. Respect their decisions. Respect their journey. You never know when it will be time for a fellow mom to reciprocate support when you are struggling.
I don’t know when this judgment between moms got so out of hand. I really don’t. It’s too much. Live and let live. Our differences make life interesting. Our uniqueness is what keeps us all learning. Our ability to expand our minds and take in differing perspectives is what propels us forward. It progresses us.
Moms can change the world. We hold the collective power to move this country forward. But we won’t if we keep focusing on foolishness.
This post was originally published on sarahhosseini.com.
About the Author
Sarah Hosseini is a writer, mother, Profanity Princess and Expletive Expert. She is currently giving her kids enough material to write a book about her one day. Until then, they’re her material. Her work is published on Sammiches & Psych Meds, Scary Mommy, Cosmopolitan, Redbook Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post, Bustle, YourTango and many more. She blogs weekly at sarahhosseini.com. Sarah lives in Atlanta-ish with her husband and two daughters. Follow Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.