For the most part, I'm not big on the whole "turning my nose up at other people and their life choices" thing. You know, "let he who cast the first stone be without sin" and all that. My imperfections are extremely obvious, my friends, so I know the only "high horse" I could sit on would be a miniature pony. A very, very short miniature pony. Still, I have to confess that I judge other moms from time to time, and the reasons why are, arguably, pretty ridiculous. I can't help it, OK! I am only human, and a flawed one at that, so there are a few occasions when you can catch me checking Facebook and rolling my eyes and silently asking myself, "OMG, why?!"
Now, I've been on the receiving end of some intense mom-shaming, so it's not like I don't know how detrimental blind judgment, shame, and a holier-than-thou attitude can be. For example, I made the mistake of sharing a picture of my unhappy son sitting on Santa's lap one holiday season, only to have one friend-of-a-friend tell me I was a horrible mother hellbent on scarring her child for the sake of a picture. After I gave birth, I had an old friend from high school go on and on about the dangers of epidurals after noticing I had chosen to have one. That same friend passive aggressively posted memes, articles, and long-winded statuses about the importance of breastfeeding for at least two years when she found out that I, go-figure, stopped after seven months.
So you won't see me publicly shaming another mom, my friends. I won't post accusatory comments or make their parenting decisions about me or passive aggressively go on and on about the positives of my personal choices when theirs obviously differ. But I will, on occasion, silently roll my eyes or have a personal conversation with my partner about a few choices that I, well, just don't understand. And it's ridiculous, all right! Unnecessary! Absurd! But it also feels kinda good, because at the end of the day it doesn't hurt to poke a little fun at parenting in general. Right?
When A Mom Calls Herself "Mama"
I know! I mean, who cares how someone identifies or what names they call themselves, right? It's just that... mama? Really? We're grown-ups, people. When I hear "mama" I cringe, especially when it's a mother talking about herself. "This mama is so tired," or, "Man, this mama could use a glass of wine." Like, please don't talk to your fellow adults the way you talk to your 3-year-old toddler.
When A Mom Has Another Baby So Soon
Look, how you space out your kids (if you have more kids at all!) is entirely your business. But this specific judgment is built on a solid foundation of concern. No, really. I swear. According to March of Dimes, a woman should wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again. Pregnancy is intense! Birth is hard on the body! So when I see a mom gearing up for baby number two, like, six months after having her first, I cringe a little. And while I know it's not my place to pseudo-diagnose a mom's health from afar, I just can't but think of how difficult it all can be on the body.
That concern stays in my brain, though. Every mom is different, every body is different, and in the end we all know what is best for ourselves and our families.
When A Mom Calls Her Toddler "Spirited"
Oh, please. Just say what you really want to say: jerk. Your child is being a jerk. Hey, my kid can be a jerk, too! So, you know, just say that. You're not a bad mom for admitting that your child isn't perfect and, from time to time, drives you up a proverbial wall. We've all been there, we all know what tantrum-throwing toddlers are capable of, and we're all better off if we're just honest about the horror that can be a small child with big feelings.
When A Mom Is Constantly Self-Deprecating
To be fair, this used to be me. I absolutely fell hook, line, and sinker for the motherhood = martyrdom thing, and felt like constantly talking about how "incredible" it was that I kept my kid alive for a year, or how horrible I am when I make a tiny, honestly understandable mistake, was the only way to publicly prove that I'm not some uptight mom who thinks she knows it all.
But there's a balance, people! We don't have to do the constant self-doubt, self-hating, self-destructive thing, moms. We deserve to look at our kids, assess how great they're doing, and publicly proclaim, "Yep, I'm a great mom."
When A Mom Throws On 'Paw Patrol' At A Restuarant
I absolute do not care how much screen time you give your kid. Do you know how I get anything accomplished at home? Oh, you know, with the help of my furry friends Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the entire Sesame Street gang.
But Paw Patrol on full blast so the whole restaurant can hear? Get that kid a pair of headphones, mama!
When A Mom Uses An Enormous Stroller
Again, this is less of a "I'm a babywearing mom and you should be too!" thing and more of a, "Wow, how in the world are you finding the space for that cadillac of strollers?!" They just take up so much room, people! And as a mom living in New York City, room is a luxury so very few of us have. So I am in awe of all you moms who push those heavy contraptions to and fro, and am only mildly annoyed when my son asks why he doesn't have his own ride, too.
When A Mom Doesn't Vaccinate
Ok, this isn't ridiculous. This is just science. Vaccinate your kids, people. Please.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.