Its very easy as a parent to get caught up in what other people think about your parenting style the way you are doing your job. The smallest comment from strangers can reduce us to a crumpled mess of self-doubt.
Maybe I SHOULD wean him off the pacifier.
Is she right? Should I be worried that he doesnt know how old he is?
Is it really so cold out that Im endangering my child by not putting a coat on her?
Sure, parents make mistakes, because we are human, and being a parent is a very human thing to do.
But maybe we know that our child having a pacifier at his age is completely OK.
And maybe we know that our son doesnt know how old he is, but he is developmentally on track.
And perhaps our daughter doesnt have a coat on because it simply wasnt worth the tantrum.
In general, most peoples opinions on our parenting shouldnt matter. Though it can still hurt to hear you tell me that Im not doing a good job, I can remind myself that if you fit any or all of the following descriptions, what you think of how I parent doesn’t mean crap to me.
1. Youre not my husband.
2. Youre not my mom.
3. Youre not my doctor.
4. Youre not my kids doctor.
5. Youre not even a doctor at all.
6. Your advice was unsolicited.
7. You dont know my kids.
8. You dont know me.
9. Your situation is totally different from mine.
10. Your solution has been tried and failed miserably.
11. Your solution sounds boring.
12. Your solution sounds like it takes work, and I dont want to do it.
13. Youre a lot braver on your keyboard than I bet you are in person.
14. You havent actually listened to what I had to say and instead caught a keyword and launched into a rant.
15. You have terrible grammar, and I cant understand what you wrote or said.
16. You have terrible grammar, and even though I can understand what you wrote or said, I cant stop laughing at you.
17. You started your opinion by calling me a name.
18. You stated your opinion in a condescending tone.
Of course, there are exceptions to these. If my child is in danger, I want to know. Someone I marginally know is aware that my 85 percent of my daughters diet comes from pouches. That person warned me right away when a recall for what my daughter calls the green pouch was issued. Thats advice that is totally welcome, no matter where it comes from.
I also see a lot of Facebook posts alerting parents that they may have incorrectly buckled their children into a car seat. Yes, it is totally OK to butt in under those circumstances.
However, if you are a stranger in the grocery store who is shocked that my sons hair would be so long or an Internet commenter who thinks Im attention-seeking for breastfeeding my daughter in public, I really dont care what you think. Save your energy lord knows we parents can use every ounce of energy we can get.