I can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit back while scrolling through my news feed only to read some crotchety goblin spew judgments with a side of snarky remarks – or worse, overhear some ignorant moron in close proximity declare and protest their unwelcomed severe dissatisfaction about another parent. From what parents do or don’t do, feed or don’t feed their children to adopted parenting styles and methods, you crusty aholes need to back the eff off.
Stop telling other parents how, according to you, they are doing it wrong. Worst of all, don’t tell another parent, “I would never let my child,” “That never happened to me” (therefore it’s not valid), “I would never let that happen.” To that, I respectfully say, Fuck You. You tackled a parenting struggle differently? Great. You judge another parent for taking a different approach? Well then, move on, Karen, and reserve those side-eyes and RBF for your MIL—who also probably doesn’t deserve it.
Respect the difference of opinion. Respect the notion that other people may have different experiences, feelings and emotions other than your own. This is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay; it’s fucking awesome. Embrace it. Don’t knock it down and call it invalid — or worse, “stupid”—because it doesn’t match your own or align perfectly to how you think it should.
It IS possible to offer valuable input and advice without coming off as a pretentious prick. Hell, I’m all ears for the latest tip and trick that helped you, but when you tell another parent, “Maybe if you just did _____ this wouldn’t happen and you wouldn’t feel this way,” you’re not adding any valuable feedback and you’re definitely not helping. Besides sounding rude and ignorant, all you add is condescension while disregarding and diminishing other people’s feelings and experiences. Your experiences are and will be different than someone else’s. You don’t know another family’s dynamic and the personal struggles that are unique to them—don’t assume as though you do.
Don’t think as though you magically have all the answers because your child was sleeping through the night since birth (yeah, right) while someone else is struggling with their 3-year-old. Oh, your child was potty-trained by 3 months? Besides calling bullshit, don’t assume every child is like yours, and for the parent still struggling with a 3, 4-year-old or older – it’ll happen. Every kid is different, same as every parent is. I promise you they won’t go to college in diapers. Keep on keepin’ on…
When you see a parent enjoying an adult beverage with their kids present, are you criticizing them by thinking/saying, “I would NEVER drink in front of my kids”? When you overhear or read about another parent experimenting with sleep training methods, are you that person scrutinizing their decisions with a “I would NEVER let my child cry it out” followed by all the reasons they’re going to screw up their kids? When you come across a proud co-sleeper and you profess your intense displeasure by saying, “I would NEVER let my child sleep with me,” get the fuck outta here.
Let me tell you something – sometimes I have a glass of wine at the end of a long day while the kids are still awake and when my child has a nightmare or is scared in the middle of the night, sometimes his new sleeping spot is in between my husband and me. I let my children CIO and to this day they are pretty damn good sleepers. Oh, and if you’re wondering, you better believe they watch their fair share of TV.
I take shortcuts and bend the rules because when I’m exhausted and tired, I’m guilty of just trying to make it to the end of the day. In the morning rush of getting everyone out of the house and I need to get to work on time, if a packet of gummies will get these tiny humans out the door, then there’s a torrential downpour of gummies happening under this roof – and you better believe they are the farthest thing from organic. To the breastfed vs formula-fed debate, I say, “You feed your kid? Great.” End of story.
When I see a family out to eat and the kids are occupied with their iPads, I say hell-to-the-mother-fucking-yeah. And you know what, if I thought differently, I sure as hell wouldn’t say anything because after all, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Who are you people to tell me or anyone else that our feelings aren’t valid? Who are you to tell me if I just did it your way all my problems would be solved and I would be a perfect parent like you? No, but seriously, who are you? You don’t know me or my situation, so don’t offer up your two cents as though you do. I invite all you cantankerous, pretentious, miserable degenerates to learn to have some compassion.
When you get dressed in the morning, how about instead of putting on your judgy pants, you dust off those gems hidden in the back of your closet? You know. Your “nice” pants. We all will be better off for it.
You are NOT a better parent because you do or don’t do what I do. You do NOT love your child more than I do. I PROMISE you this. And if your child does happen to be successful – it isn’t because you played Mozart and read him or her scholarly articles while in the womb.
Be kind. Be nice. Be considerate. Have sympathy and realize we are all human. No one is perfect. Even if parenting did have a guide or rule book, it would be impossible to follow considering the realities of life and the unpredictability of children. Perfect parenting isn’t realistic. Unless you’re a robot. Are you a robot, Karen?
We are all trying to navigate through this exhausting, yet rewarding, wild ride of parenting and make it out the other side – and if our kids are successful, contributing members of society, awesome. But in the end, we are all doing our best trying to survive.
We need more support and feeling of community, less condemnation. When I hear stories of strangers helping out an unknown parent with a crying baby on a plane or when the nice lady offered to help me remove my jacket as I was sweating bullets and trapped under a 40-pound sleeping, sick toddler – I have hope. We need more of this and less of the parent-shaming.
There’s enough pressure and new studies coming out daily telling me how I’m screwing up my kids, so no additional shit talk is necessary. Moms are already their harshest critics. We should be there to encourage and uplift — giving each other a sense of community while embracing this crazy wild ride of motherhood and parenting. After all, we’re all in this together, aren’t we?
This post was originally published on Bless This Beautiful Mess via Facebook.