Why Judgmental Moms & Dads Are Ruining Parenting

soapboxWhat’s one of the first things you do when your kids hit an important milestone? If you’re anything like me, you post it on social media.

One of the best parts about having kids is watching them grow, and there is no span of time that sees as much rapid progress as the first year of life. From the time they start grabbing things to rolling over to taking their first steps, kids are maturing at warp speed and social media allows us to document these milestones and celebrate them with our friends and family members on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Well, it SHOULD be a celebration, but that’s not always the case. Mainly because a lot of parents are judgmental, sanctimonious pricks.

Sam is a HUGE baby. He’s 3.5 months old and creeping up toward the 20 lb mark. With the exception of a couple of bottles of formula, MJ has been exclusively breastfeeding him the entire time. The only problem is, it hasn’t been enough lately because her supply isn’t keeping up with his overwhelming demands.

At the same time, Sam is displaying a lot of signs that he wants to eat. He’s reaching for our food at dinner, opening his mouth and chewing when food is close to him, and drooling up a storm when we eat in his vicinity. Also, he’s had some pretty nasty gas lately even though MJ has altered her diet to remove almost all dairy in an attempt to make him more comfortable.

So we decided to mix a little rice cereal in with his breast milk and spoon feed it to him. And he LOVED it! Seriously, he ravenously devoured it. He didn’t spit up or have an ounce of trouble with the spoon — it was a completely seamless transition. And with Sam finally feeling full, he’s also less gassy and sleeping better to boot.

Sounds pretty positive and great, right? Yet the first thing MJ said to me was “Don’t put the rice cereal thing on Facebook. Everyone will get on their soap boxes and talk about how bad it is for him and I don’t want to deal with that.” (I’ve since secured her permission for this post)

And she’s absolutely right. Because, unfortunately, too many parents are judgmental assholes.

We know the AAP recommends breast milk only until at least six months. We are not idiots and we do a lot of research. But Sam is gargantuan and he wasn’t getting enough breast milk even in the bottle, so we’re supplementing once a day with some rice cereal. It’s not massacring his digestive system and we’re not poisoning him as the La Leche zealots would have people believe. We’re doing what’s right for our baby.

Yet there are some holier than thou parents who simply cannot wait to jump up on their soap boxes and happily tell you all of the things you’re doing wrong. And that sucks.

It comes in all forms too. Some people just launch right into an attack on how harmful this is and what an irresponsible parent you are for engaging in it. Others aren’t quite as blunt, masking their obvious contempt behind link after link after link to studies (often with highly questionable sources) that support their way of thinking. And the rest of the criticism comes via passive-aggressive bullshit like “Wow. Seems early for rice cereal. We plan on breastfeeding exclusively for the first year and then introducing homemade, all-organic wheatgrass tofu that’s been blessed by the Dalai Lama. Because, you know, we care about the health of our child.”

It doesn’t matter whether it’s breastfeeding vs. formula, rear facing vs. front facing, circumcision vs. intact, spanking vs. no spanking, or attachment parenting vs. cry it out — the bullshit is always the same, always unnecessary, and perpetually obnoxious.

Parenting is hard and no one gives you a manual. Hell, even if there was a manual it’d be no good because every kid is different. So can we all do each other a favor and just relax with the judgment and condescension about these topics? You are free to raise your kids however you’d like (within the confines of the law that is), and I urge you to do so. I also hope you’ll have enough respect to leave me the hell alone when my choices differ from your own.

Because they will be different. We all come from different backgrounds with a variety of beliefs and manners of upbringing. That’s a good thing. So it always leaves me scratching my head when some parents just won’t stop telling people they’re wrong. Why is it not enough to raise your kids your way? Why do ALL parents have to be convinced to switch over to your methods? Does it make you feel validated? Do you feel better putting other people down under the guise of “Well I’m just trying to help?”

For instance, did you know there were a whole subset of parents glued to their TVs when William & Kate took their baby home from the hospital, specifically to pounce on whether or not their car seat was properly installed? If that was you, you suck. At everything.

Most parents are already insecure and constantly worrying that we’re not doing a good enough job — they don’t need to have that feeling amped up to 11 by fellow parents on soap boxes. Unless you’re asked specifically for your two cents, I’d urge you to respect other people making perfectly valid and informed choices by SHUTTING THE HELL UP. You can still think you’re right and you can cloak yourself in the warm self-satisfaction of always knowing what’s best for everyone.

Just keep it to yourself.

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22 thoughts on “Why Judgmental Moms & Dads Are Ruining Parenting

  1. Wow.

    I agree with you completely. Completely! There are WAAAAY too many judgmental parents out there, only too willing to share their judgments with the world. You’re absolutely right when you say that every child is different. As parents when it comes to a lot of things, all we can do is a little bit of research and then trust our gut instincts. That’s it. Unless you see someone seriously endangering a child (you know, if you were letting your 3 month old smoke a cigarette while riding a mechanical bull) then people need to shut it and keep their unsolicited opinions to themselves.

  2. Well said. I think parents start off lacking confidence in their decisions. Then a couple of things work out well, and that creates a Judgeymonster, where they feel all-powerful, like some freakin guru. But nobody really knows what to do with their kids, let’s face it – we’re all kind of making it up as we go along, with the help of a bit of research and gut instinct. So that’s why I never understand why parents are more empathetic about each other’s choices, like “Oh, he/she decided to go with that – not what I did, but I hope that works out for them”, but alas we get Facebook Fights instead. Ugh.
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  3. Everyone just needs to stop worrying about everyone else. Is there obvious harm to someone being done? No? Then CTFD or ESAD. My kids are my kids, I know what works, you STFU.

  4. Well said! Good parents already question everything they do and they really don’t need anyone adding to it. I question every last thing I do but like you said, no two babies are alike. I’m finding that with having fraternal twins. What one does isn’t necessarily what the other will do. The first time one hit a milestone and the other didn’t I questioned my parenting skills for not being able to have the other keep pace. Then I realized that they’re two different babies, why put that kind of pressure on them to be the same. Had I gone to social media they probably would have had me call all kinds of specialists right off the bat to make sure the other got checked when in reality it was just that they’re on different schedules.

  5. My son was 8.15 when he was born. While not as big as Sam (mine wasn’t 20 lbs until the 5 month mark) he was an INSANE eater. Nothing filled him up. I had him on formula (I didn’t breastfeed. He turned out fine much to the shock of my ex in laws) so at 3 months, he started on rice cereal, 3 times a day. And he shut up. He was finally not squalling all hours of the day. He played. He gabbed, he had his focus elsewhere other than on his hungry tummy for once. He’s 4.5 now. And I’d say he turned out just fine.

  6. I guess we raised our children wrong too. We did breastfeed until 6 months, but we supplemented as well. Now we have an artist/entrepreneur, an engineer, a doctor, and a special ed teacher. Gee, I wish we had done it right when they were infants.

  7. Thank you for this. I’m getting really tired of this whole mommy debate. I get a lot of praise for the way I parent our child, but that doesn’t mean that I’m perfect nor does it mean that those who aren’t following my lead are doing it wrong. Our child possesses a lot of personality traits that mirror our own, which means we have better understandings of our child’s needs, whether an outsider thinks so or not. I’ve even been judged for breastfeeding my child… I mean, there’s nothing you can do that won’t bring judgment. I volunteer at my son’s school and I have encountered a lot of children. I can say that there has only been one child where I’ve been concerned about the parenting as it seems that he comes from at least an emotionally abusive or neglectful environment. We need to worry about THOSE kids. Not the kids who are running around barefoot in the summer or the kids wearing safety helmets to walk down the street.

  8. Of course, don’t judge anyone except the La Leche League. Because being there to support mums who want to breastfeed is so awful of them. Giving up their time voluntarily to help parents and all.

  9. I just discovered you, today, through a Huffpost article about lying to your children (which I loved). I just wanted to tell you that I’ve been at my desk for 2 hours reading your back-log of blog posts and I have to say you are AMAZING. You are everything I wish my friends and family could be. You are a wonderful father and you and MJ are doing a crazy good job. You are an excellent writer. You write about REAL parenting shit in REAL, HONEST ways. Thank you for sharing your parenthood with the world. Seriously.

  10. Oh, man, this is like three-quarters of my Facebook list. My spouse and I are planning on having kids in the next couple years and the thing i dread most is not even childbirth, but afterward, having constant streaming unsolicited judgment from everyone. There are people on my friends list who think you’re not really a real woman or you are not feminine if you don’t have children or don’t breastfeed or you don’t eat your placenta. (Seriously, someone said “You’re not really a woman if you don’t have kids.”) And everyone is so judgmental about the age of having kids, “You’re selfish for waiting until after 25.” I won’t be sharing hardly anything about my pregnancy/ies or children online. Anyways, this article made me feel good, knowing there are others out there who think like you.

  11. thank you thank you thank you. I read an open letter to formula feeding parents about 12 hours ago saying we are victims of this that and the other and its not our fault we’ve been brainwashed blah blah blah. And it’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep! I keep thinking about it and being so angry about what kind of small minded individual takes it upon themselves to insult the intelligence and parenting choices of others! It’s really upset me and in my frantic search of the internet for reassurance that I am not in fact the devil mother for feeding my son formula (I know- pretty sad :-/ ) I came across this and I am starting to realise that I’m not the only one who feels judged for every little decision that doesn’t comply to the letter of the WHO guidelines! Thank you!

  12. Lol, so true. I love the truthful reference to the leleche league! And, my baby was but a gargantuan, but she too was hungry. Thankfully, DB didn’t exist yet, but enough people told me I was depriving her if Brest milk. I was pumping out gallons. She was getting everything I had!

  13. Hello. I loved this post! I just wanted to add…. I don’t know about anybody else, but I can’t stand unsolicited advice from friends and family who don’t even have children! It mostly comes in the form of stupid facebook memes, but there have been real life instances, too. A friend actually called us bad parents, because we let our 3-year-old have junk food at a fun fare. A fun fare!!

  14. I also had issues with La Leche League. My baby was committing one day and Grunting while breast feeding and I called them for advice before I went in to pediatrician the next day. They are super helpful to a point but when I texted the person after my pediatrician appointment and told them my baby was put on Zantac for reflux she wrote it is a shame that my baby will be unnecessarily medicated. She was pushing for me to go to a pediatrician that specializes in tongue tied even though my baby already had his clipped at a month old.

  15. Hi there,I check your blog named “Why Judgmental Moms & Dads Are Ruining Parenting – The Daddy Files” regularly.Your writing style is witty, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about proxy server list.

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