Courtesy of Gemma Hartley

Honestly, I Don't Care If You Judge My Parenting

Ad failed to load

In the light of recent tragedies, it seems as if judging parents on the internet has reached a fever pitch. I still feel a visceral shock at the fact that there are people ready and willing to judge a mother grieving the loss of a child, but it seems like everyone feels entitled to point out the failings of parents — sometimes to the point of extreme cruelty. Luckily, I am subject to judgment as a parent only by what I choose to share with the world, rather than having my parenting defined by a narrative that is out of my control. But honestly, I don’t care if you judge my parenting.

Being a parent in this age of social media condemnation often feels like swimming in a tank full of piranhas. God forbid you let one drop of your blood stain the water, lest you get eaten alive. And we aren't just judged by our “bad” parenting moments, but by every decision we make as parents. As mothers, we're often subject to scrutiny no matter what we do, no matter how we flip the coin. To make it worse, there is no “right” way to parent. It's always this vs. that, a sloppy dance wherein we're just trying to do what's best for our children and ourselves. But no matter how hard we try, there will always be someone somewhere who thinks I’m a godawful, terrible, should-have-my-kids-taken-from-me mother, and they’re going to want to tell me all about it. And I'm done fighting them. For good.

courtesy of Gemma Hartley
Ad failed to load
Judging me for my parenting choices isn’t going to change the way I parent. I’m not going to read some drawn-out vitriol against me and suddenly see the error of my ways.

On the one hand, it’s pretty unsavory to think that there are people in this world who literally live to tell mothers like me how I am failing, especially when I already feel like I'm struggling to get by so much of the time. Seeing so much tremendous hate towards mothers who are earnestly trying to do right is seriously sickening. On the other hand though, I really couldn’t care less that there are people who waste their time judging my decisions about how I choose to raise my children, because it says a whole lot more about them than it does about me. If someone has nothing better to do than lurk and say mean things in the comment sections online, that’s a moral failing on their behalf, not mine. If someone is truly concerned with the world going to hell in a hand basket, there are more productive ways to deal with that fear than sitting behind a computer screen shredding my lack of mom-talent to pieces.

Judging me for my parenting choices isn’t going to change the way I parent. I’m not going to read some drawn-out vitriol against me and suddenly see the error of my ways. The truth is, even though I write out so much of my parenting story for the whole internet to see, I don’t do so to provoke controversy or invite criticism. I’m not spouting off my parenting decisions so people can tell me how horrible I am, and I'm definitely not doing it so people can tell me how "perfectly" I've got this whole mom thing down. I enjoy sharing my life because I want other mothers to know that they aren’t alone. Sometimes I do it because I like to know I’m not alone, either. I know that putting myself out there means I will be judged, but it doesn’t mean I have to care about those judgments.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Gemma Hartley

Honestly, choosing to let my kids watch TV or occasionally eat non-organic macaroni and cheese for breakfast is not going to make or break the whole damn world. Even my larger failings, like trying to control my temper during my kids’ tantrums or wondering how on earth I am ever supposed to figure out balancing work and parenting, are ultimately going to shape my life more than anyone else’s (including my children’s). Life will go on. The world will keep turning. And your judgment about whether or not I am doing a good enough job at being a parent does not and will not change that outcome.

The business of raising tiny humans — of being their everything all the time, round the clock, always — is exhausting enough. I don't have time to worry and stress out about what someone who doesn't know me or doesn't know me well enough thinks of me and the job I'm doing. I don't have time to impress or inspire you. I'm just trying to get through the day.
Ad failed to load

So you can save your holier-than-thou parenting judgments for someone who cares. Or give them to me. It doesn’t matter much either way. Because I couldn’t care less about what you think of my parenting. Only I know the depth and complexity of my story, and I refuse to let strangers on the internet or real life define the way I feel about myself because they’ve read some excerpts from my life. The business of raising tiny humans — of being their everything all the time, round the clock, always — is exhausting enough. I don't have time to worry and stress out about what someone who doesn't know me or doesn't know me well enough thinks of me and the job I'm doing. I don't have time to impress or inspire you. I'm just trying to get through the day. I have more important things to worry about than what the world thinks about me. I have a family to love and take care of. I have a life to live. And unless you're an intimate part of that equation, my life will go on with or without your commentary.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack