8 Ways People Have Tried To Actually Mansplain Parenting To Me

Ad failed to load

Mom-shaming is bad enough, but when parenting is mansplained to me? Yeah, that's when my head is in danger of exploding. Thankfully it hasn't happened too often that I am worrying about the status of my head on a regular basis. Make no mistake, though, all the ways people have tried to mansplain parenting to me still drive me nuts.

Mansplaining, in case you've been living without internet the past five years, is the often inappropriate, always annoying practice when a man condescendingly explains something — as though he's an expert — to a woman who generally knows more about the given topic. Since Rebecca Solnit explained the concept in her 2008 article "Men Explain Things To Me," it has sometimes been used to describe any privileged person explaining, with an undeserved air of authority , something to a person with a marginalized identity who actually knows more about the topic. Enter all parents everywhere being mansplained on parenting by child-free people.

It's no surprise, of course, that parenting is hard AF. What parents need is support (and wine), not lazy know-it-alls, who won't babysit for us BTW, telling us how to get our children to behave, sleep, do their homework, eat their food, take a bath, or, well, pretty much anything else they have no practical experience with. Some of them are hilarious in their wrong-headedness, and some of them are down right insulting, but either way: all the ways people have tried to mansplain parenting to me serve as a reminder that, sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all.

Ad failed to load

When I Was Given "Friendly Advice"


My brother is an Olympian mansplainer.

Prior to my daughter being diagnosed as autistic, she would have (what we thought were) unexplained meltdowns. No matter what we did she could not be soothed or redirected. My brother, childless at the time, helpfully explained to me that what she needed was to be shown who was boss. Which means what, exactly? Beating her? Sure, autism totally responds to a good whooping. Sarcasm.

When Someone Told Me Being Trans Was Like Cabbage

My father taught my brother how to mansplain. They seriously should have all the Olympic Golds in mansplaining.

I once got a long email from my father mansplaining how, while he would never question my parenting choices, just because my child was saying she was a girl doesn't mean I should support her. He went on to elaborate that just because a child thinks they're a cabbage doesn't mean they're a cabbage.

In fact, he continued by saying monkeys regularly do whatever they're trained to do, so if I just stopped supporting my child's gender she'll stop expressing it. As evidence he was an expert on such matters, he cited his 1970s bachelor's degree in zoological education and his nursing degree.

When People Say My Partner "Babysits"


Random strangers mansplaining to me, a working mother of three, that to get a "break" I should just tell my "husband" he needs to "babysit" the kids honestly make me afraid. I'm terrified I'll roll my eyes so hard they'll fall out of my head.

Hint for all parenting mansplainers: fathers don't babysit, they parent. My particular partner was a stay-at-home-dad for seven years. That's a helluva lot of babysitting costs, guys.

Ad failed to load

When People Recommend A "Strong Male Role Model"

I won't name names here, but from the posts above you can probably guess I have some overachieving mansplainers in my life. In regards to my child's gender identity, certain family members bemoaned the lack of a "strong male role model" in addition to "confusing" non-traditional gender roles as cause for my child's "gender confusion."

Translation: our husband stays home and you're a feminist, therefore, you made your kid transgender. Um, yeah, that's not how that works.

When People Say "You Have Your Hands Full"


In the grocery store, the auto parts store, the home improvement store, and the random restaurant. It never fails that going out with my three children provokes some man to let me know how full my hands are. Really? Yeah. I know. Thanks.

When People Say "Well, Actually..."

We all know this is the catch phrase of the mansplainer, right? Anything that follows is classic mansplaining. I try not to listen.

Ad failed to load

When People Warn Of The Dangers Of Co-Sleeping


"You can't have all those kids sleeping in your bed!" says my male friend with no kids. "I'm not!" I say, "Only the littlest."

Besides, is it really any of your concern? When's the last time you had kids? Oh, never? Right. Got it.

When Someone Equates Hairstyle With Parenting Ability


An internet troll went so far as to say that, because I had dyed hair and proudly sported the occasional mohawk, I was incapable of being a good parent. I'll pause here for your incredulous laughter and scoffs of derision.

The reality is, unless someone is asking for your advice on their parenting (or there's actual abuse going on) everyone should keep their opinions on other people's parenting to themselves. Don't you think, dear reader, that the world would be a happier, kinder place if the mansplaining stopped?

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s Bullsh*t

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar