If you spend time online, and especially in parenting groups, you've probably encountered a judgmental mom. After years of dealing with a few too many "sanctimommy" types, mean girls, and bullies, there are some things I want judgmental moms on the internet to know. You probably know who I am talking about, too — people like the mom who commented on a picture of my preschooler in his car seat, saying, "You really ought to still rear-face him" (he's 48 pounds), or the one who wrote "breast is best" on my post about feeling bad about having to stop breastfeeding for medical reasons. There's also the mom who advices me to "do more research" about the chemicals in the popsicles my kids were eating, if I "cared about them," of course.
I am so done with random judgment from strangers, and would sincerely like them people to stop and think before they type. For example, before giving another parent unsolicited advice on the internet, you should stop and consider whether or not that advice is kind, true, and necessary. If not, you just shouldn't say a word. After all, life is relative, my friend, and other parents' choices literally have nothing to do with yours. That's right, my choice to formula-feed my baby says literally nothing about another parent's choice to exclusively breastfeed. Both are equally valid choices that were made for a variety of reasons, unique to us and our families. Same goes for my decision to work while another parent stays home, and my choice to co-sleep while you sleep train your baby. Different strokes for different folks.
The same goes for responding to someone's request for help. Before responding, try putting yourself in their shoes. It's easy to assume that you're a perfect parent and that everyone should do things your way, but when families have different needs, desires, and realities, your advice might not be helpful at all (and can actually really hurt). The internet can be an unkind place for new moms, and judgmental moms can make you feel like you're majorly screwing up when, chances are, you are doing the best you can. Here are some things I'd like to say to the haters. Feel free to borrow them if and when you need. If you've read this far and you realize you are a judgmental mom, please have a seat, because there's a few things I'd like you to know.
Seriously, no one is a perfect parent. Not even me, you guys. (Kidding. More like especially me) Honestly, I am a hot mess most of the time. We all have talents and areas in need of improvement. Before you criticize another parent, check yourself:
Is this kind? Nope. Stop talking.
Is this true? Maybe for you it is, but maybe not for someone else. I
s this necessary? Probably not, unless they are abusing or neglecting their kids, then you should definitely say something.
No One Gets A Cookie For Experiencing Medication-Free Childbirth
Do I think you are a goddess for giving birth without pain medication? Absolutely. However, I also think c-section moms are goddesses, too, and everyone in between. High fives to all of the moms who got epidurals as well. Also badass. Those moms who went through all of those things to bring their babies into world? I might actually bring you cookies, because that sounds hard AF.
Working & Staying Home Are Both Hard
I've been both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom, and they are both difficult and rewarding at different times and for different reasons. Like when I had to drop my baby off at daycare and listen to her cry as I walked back to my car, trying not to cry myself. Then, I rocked a presentation and scored a huge grant for a great cause, which was so awesome.
I thought staying home would be easier after being a working mom, but then I found myself hiding in the bathroom in an attempt to escape my whiny toddler and realized that I hadn't showered in a week. Then I remembered that it wasn't a big deal, because it wasn't like I had anyplace to be, which was so bittersweet.
Fed Is Best
Seriously, you guys, fed is best. There are two options to choose from when it comes to feeding your baby: breast milk and formula. Both are equally important, healthy, and safe. In the developed world, differences between breast-fed and formula-fed babies are negligible. No one should feel any shame for how they feed their baby, so for goodness sake stop with the judgment.
Plus, you have no idea why someone is using formula or is still breastfeeding their preschooler, and honestly, it's none of your freaking business.
I May Never Lose The "Baby Weight"
Moms are under so much pressure to work out, fit into their pre-pregnancy jeans, and lose their "baby weight" as soon as possible after giving birth. I am so done with unfair and unrealistic expectations of mothers (and women in general, honestly).
The fact is, it's none of your business what someone else's body looks like, weighs, what they eat, or what size jeans they wear at any point, even after they've had a baby. It's not nice to comment about these things at all. So, please stop.
Sometimes Pizza Is Better Than A Pinterest-Worthy Meal
Every meal I prepare for my kids is not Pinterest-worthy, organic, homemade, whole grain, or gluten-free. Ain't nobody got time for that, but even if I did, that's not how I would choose to spend it. Besides, pizza is good. Especially with pineapple. Judge me.
Yes, My House Is Messy
I used to fret about making it seem like my life was picture perfect on the internet. I've stopped, because I want other parents to know that it's OK to not be perfect. Life's so much easier when you stop giving yourself a hard time about things as unimportant as whether or not you made your bed.
I Don't Need Your Advice
I really don't want or need your advice, and if I do, I'll ask. Trust me.
Leggings Are Life
The other day I saw a mom on the internet tell another mom they looked "unprofessional" for wearing leggings to work (under a stylish dress). Even though the mom in leggings hadn't asked, the judgmental mom felt the need to say something. I encouraged "judgmental mom" to consider where our society's ideas about professional attire came from and that shaming another mom for being comfortable, while looking great, is not a very feminist thing to do.
Everything Is A Chemical
Seriously, water is a chemical. Companies have discovered that if they prey on people's worst fears, they can sell more stuff. This is even more true for stuff that parents need (or think they need), because everyone wants what's best for their kids. If you want to spend more money on organic clothes and "natural" sunblock, more power to you. However, don't judge other moms for buying what they can afford and not buying into the hype.
You Don't Have To Try So Hard
I completely understand that you, like every other parent, want what's best for your kids. We all do. I will even assume you've worked seriously hard or spent lots of money to live up to an ideal version of parenthood that worked for you. That's cool with me. My point is, you can (and probably should) relax. For your own sake. And please, for the love of all that is holy, stop judging other moms.
I try to teach my kids to be kind, because it's the way I was raised and because being kind benefits everyone. I want all of the haters to think about how much more rewarding and fun life might be if they lightened up a little bit, on themselves, and on other people.
Besides, kindness is totally catchy, so if you throw some kindness out on the internet you are bound to receive some in return. If nothing else, you might find someone like me to commiserate with about all of the judgmental moms on the internet. They can't sit with us.