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Parenting and Criticism in the Age of Technology

Parental criticism has been around as long has there have been unruly children. I’m pretty sure that when cavemoms brought their brood to dine on a mammoth someone gave them the hairy eyeball because they were doing it all wrong.

So much and so little has changed in the internet age. The internet has opened the door for a whole new avenue of mom-shaming. So what’s a mom to do? There are many reasons why not reacting is the best reaction.

Criticism: here’s my story.

I was having one of those epic parenting days; two trips to the store with both kids and zero meltdowns. I even managed a shower, nap, and to get my face waxed. Then a comment on a little “HAHA” post I’d shared on Facebook sent me for a loop. I had posted about how my daughter put all the ornaments back on the tree after I took them off because she didn’t want Christmas to be over. Cute. Sweet. Funny even, but then one of my parent’s friends, someone I’ve known my whole life posts, “Who is in charge?” with a smiley face. Suddenly, I’m steaming mad and feeling defensive.

When we receive parenting criticism sometimes it's tough to take the high road.

First of all, a smiley face does not make up for being rude. Second, how is this supposed to be helpful? I don’t know if it is because social media offers more of a look into the less-than-pretty moments of parenting, or if it’s easier to make comments while hiding behind a computer screen–but I know that many of us have had this happen.

Stares and frowns used to be the worst judgment and criticism of the way you are parenting your children.

Now, it seems like the internet has opened the stage for any “biddy” to give his or her two cents on you and yours. Honestly, the tree event never even struck me as my child misbehaving. I was smiling and amused when I posted, but this one comment skewed my whole view of the situation. Was I being too lax? Was my daughter’s behavior disrespectful in some way I didn’t see? The answer is simply, no. 

So what’s a mom to do? The tell off in my head is a doozy. I could’ve called this person every name in the book, questioned his parentage, and challenged him to a duel. But in the end, I’ve decided to let the comment pass, because

you know what?

-When I decided to become a parent, I went into it knowing that not everyone was going to agree with the decisions I make for my family, and that’s okay. 

-It’s way too easy for people to say stupid crap on the internet. That goes equally for this guy’s criticism and any witty retort I come up with. 

-This isn’t a situation in which a peer has some wrong information. This is not a teaching moment. He already raised his children and nothing I am going to say is going to change his view. The only reason to reply is to somehow defend my parenting and avenge my honor. While this would make me feel better it’s not the most mature route. 

-I’m probably being oversensitive about the whole thing. In truth, when you put things out there you have to accept that not everyone is going to think you are sunshine and peaches. 

-While I may not be perfect, I am actually pretty proud of the mom I am. I work two jobs. I parent solo most of the time. I pay my bills. And, I took my 10-month-old and three-year-old to the movies by myself and was complimented by a stranger for how patient and kind I am with them. Haters gonna hate, but I’m not going to let them bring me down.

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