Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

There Is One Thing I Judge Other Parents For, & I Always Will

Ad failed to load

As a rule, I try not to judge other parents for anything. I mean, I know I'm not supposed to. I know that, instead, we should try to understand that parenting is hard we're all just "doing the best we can." But here's the thing: we're not always "doing the best we can." Because we're parents, but we're also humans, and humans are often lazy and selfish and have poor judgment and do any number of things for any number of reasons other than being "our best." So there is one thing I judge other parents for, and always will, because I can't always "be my best" and I know other parents aren't being their best either. In fact, I would argue that we rarely do "our best" in most parts of our lives, because that would mean doing actual work, and most of the time, there's nothing we want to do less.

To be fair, I do believe that when it comes to our kids, parents absolutely do something that is at least a close approximation of "our best." So maybe we aren't doing our best compared to the actual best we can do, and certainly not compared to some mythological ideal. But relative to the effort we throw at everything else, maybe we are doing "our best" as parents. It's not the best we can do, but eh, it's the best we're realistically gonna do, so let's appreciate that at least.

But out of the countless (no, really, don't even try) things I routinely mentally shame other parents for, there is only one where the judgment goes deep, like all the way to the point where I decide these parents are probably not very good people on the whole. When I see kids rocking wildly expensive designer clothes/accessories/gear, my capacity for understanding ceases to exist.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

There are almost too many reasons why kids having expensive sh*t is illogical, immoral, and frankly, kind of embarrassing.

Like, for real? This is the extent to which you've been convinced that your value as a human is determined by the expensive things you can cover your body with that you need to drop that kind of money to cover your kids in them, too? At least adults will be able to theoretically wear and/or use something for longer than a few months.

Ad failed to load
There are almost too many reasons why kids having expensive sh*t is illogical, immoral, and frankly, kind of embarrassing.

My bigger problem with the practice of dropping major money on baby and kid stuff, where the exponentially higher price is not tied to any increased value of a practical nature, is the high rate of poverty in this country. The unequal distribution of wealth and resources in the world is disheartening enough to consider as a whole, but I don't know how you can look at a 9-month-old baby in a $655 Gucci jacketshe doesn't give a f*ck, mom and dad, and any adult who is impressed is a tragic mistake of human evolution — and not also immediately think about 15 million kids in the U.S. who are living in poverty.

And I get that most parents, not just the comically bad spenders, could theoretically do more to tighten their own budgets and give more of their resources to families in need. Of course we can. My kid could be wearing second-hand clothes instead of stuff from Old Navy, and then I might have more money to donate. I feel like when it comes to kid stuff — that you're not going to have for very long before your kids' size and/or development will outgrow it — you should spend as little money as possible for things that are of solid quality. I like that sh*t from the Gap doesn't cost a lot, but will likely not fall apart immediately. Most of my kid's clothes are still in good enough shape to donate after he's done with them, and that's nice.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

But this really isn't about having a morality d*ck-measuring contest. We could mostly all be doing more, and almost none of us centers the concerns of the impoverished in our communities, and elsewhere, when making our budgeting decisions. I'm not even asking other parents to do that. I just find it so hard to not be enraged and nauseated by wrapping your baby in things that clearly say "we have so much more than we can ever practically need."

Buying designer stuff for your kids goes so far beyond paying a little bit more to have something that's a little bit better. It's about status. It is about showing off how much you have, which feels like a very real act of violence against the billions of people in the world who will likely never even have enough to check off basic boxes like "safe," "healthy," let alone "comfortable."

Ad failed to load
So there it is, guys. I judge other parents, and I do it a lot. I'm not even that sorry.

When the most consideration you demonstrate for people who have less than you is to make sure you're presenting them with as many visible signs of your superiority as possible, it's hard for me to imagine that you possess any of the basic human qualities that are needed for raising kids to be even vaguely decent people.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

So there it is, guys. I judge other parents, and I do it a lot. I'm not even that sorry. Because, in my defense, it's not like I vocalize any of these judgments. OK, except for right now, I guess. But certainly never to the actual parents I'm judging. I'm not better. I never think I'm better. I might be doing what I consider to be better at the specific thing I'm judging them for, but I'm almost definitely half-a**ing some little aspect of parenting that doesn't mean quite as much to me, but means a sh*t ton to someone else who is probably, quietly judging me, too.

We're all judging each other, and hopefully, at best, we're staying silent in our judgment, and we won't be perfect at that either. After all, we're all just doing our best.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Rompevr's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}