Judgement. This is something mums gripe about all the time, yet no matter how many times articles go viral or Facebook posts slam the haters, it just keeps on going. In today’s over-sharing culture where we all know WAY too much about what’s going on in other mamas’ lives, it seems like everyone has an opinion, when few are actually entitled to one.
Something so simple as a Target run stresses me out. Not only because I have two kids to wrangle and a grocery list to remember, but more so because I’m always on alert that judgement from strangers is coming my way. From social media to the checkout line, all eyes are on mums to do things perfectly. And I am sick of it.
Listen, I’m not a b*tch. I am actually one of the most meek and empathic people you’ll ever meet. But when it comes to my kids, and criticism of how I’m parenting, Mama Bear comes out. After three years of putting up with rude comments and glares, I’ve come up with some pretty decent come-backs for the sanctimommies and other haters. I keep them at the ready to be used when needed.
1. “…And your medical degree is in which field?” This is a personal favourite because it seems every Thomasina, Delia, and Harriet (that would be the modern-mommy equivalent of Tom, Dick, and Harry) has something to say about other mums’ birth plans, choice to vaccinate, feelings in favour of or against circumcision, and so on. I get that she spends a lot of time on the Internet reading propaganda that supports her position, but sometimes this special brand of sanctimommy needs to be reminded that she is not an MD and she needs to back off.
2. “Did you want to borrow them, since you know so much better?” I mean, really, since you have so many wonderful insights into what my kids should be doing and how I should be forcing them to do those things. By all means have fun trying, since in your eyes I’m failing because my 3-year-old is whining in public. Gasp.
3. “We’re allowed to be here. Get over it.” I could not even begin to count how many times I’ve received a sneer or comment from some rude onlooker about the behaviour of my toddler in public. And look, I get it. If this was the lobby of the Plaza hotel, it would be a great idea for me to remove the toddler swiftly and let everyone get on with their day. But this is a supermarket, and my cart is full, and unless you’re management, get out of my face and let me check out please and thank you.
4. “You’re welcome to go eat somewhere else.” In response to the looks of disgust or comments about my choice to breastfeed my child in public. Laws in every single state allow a mother to breastfeed anywhere she is legally allowed to be. So if you don’t want to “look at that” while you’re eating, you can go away. I’m not going to nurse my child in the bathroom — sorry not sorry!
5. “Wow! Really? I had NO idea!” This is a pretty all-inclusive one. My most recent application was when some moron stared at my fully bundled child and then looked at me declaring, “It’s really cold out. Babies should be at home in this weather.” I mean, another way to handle this is to offer them the lovely job of dropping your toddler off at preschool and running all your errands for you so you can sit at home and drink hot cocoa with the baby. Since it’s too cold to bring her outside and all.
6. “Next time I’ll definitely consult you before making any choices about my own kids — thanks!” This one is best used on grumpy old ladies and other randoms who drop critique bombs on you as you walk past, unassuming.
7. “We’re actually not looking for advice on that topic right now.” This is like the antidote to the last one and I reserve it for interloping family members who prefer to spend holiday dinners pressuring us to let our baby sleep on her stomach or start on solids early.
8. “You should’ve flown private, huh?” To be used when handling a fussy baby on a plane, and being shhhh‘ed.
9. “Thank goodness she has a mum to worry about those things!” This one is like all-purpose flour. You need it on hand at all times.And when all else fails, my personal favourite is a good old-fashioned…
10. “F*ck off.” ‘Nuff said.