Moms: Can We All Just Cut Each Other Some Slack?

mom meme

I’ve been told I like to poke the bear. What can I say? Stirring the pot can be amusing, especially when I see people react so strongly about things that are so subjective in the parenting world. So when I saw a post on Scary Mommy recently about “6 Pieces of Unwanted Parenting Advice and How I’d Like To Respond,” I had a feeling there’d be plenty of know-it-alls in the comments section. Sure enough, the Judgy McJudgersons were out in full force. One piece of advice this father (yes, SM does get posts from fathers on occasion!) didn’t want to hear was to let his little girl cry it out. If you haven’t been popping on blogs like this at all in the last few years, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, presses people’s buttons like whether or not to let your child cry it out. I dare say this beats out the vaxxers vs. the anti-vaxxers – it’s that contentious. Of course, I couldn’t resist adding fuel to the fire of some of the more outrageous comments. One woman said that it’s been proven – PROVEN – that kids who have been allowed to CIO become starved for affection and that it damages their brains. You know what? I’m not even going to look for the crackpot science this woman was claiming she was basing this on, as there is no way/no how anyone would be able to prove a link between those two. How would they be able to isolate all the other factors involved in a baby’s upbringing? Ridonk! When others questioned this woman, she called us all a bunch of “cunts”. When all else fails, lash out with the most offensive word you can think of because that demands respect, right? Eh, maybe not.

Here’s where I stand on this contentious debate and my own experience with it. When my first son was about eight months old, I went on a girls trip. The majority of the girls on the trip had kids that were younger than my own, sleeping through the night, and yet I had a boy that was waking up once, if not twice, per night. I was determined to try CIO as soon as I got home. I’m an older mom and got pregnant at 34. Here’s the bottom line on that: I’m tired. Like, a LAWT. I’m not saying it’s not worth it … it’s just the honest to goodness truth. I knew we’d be up against it, as I’d read how this would very late for me to try out this method. Sure enough, however, four (admittedly agonizing) nights later, I’d had a near perfect sleeper. So my husband and I did it with our second child and, again, it worked like a charm.

Here’s what I’m NOT saying – everyone should let their babies cry it out. The truth is, this is such an individual decision. Some moms are younger. Some moms might naturally need less sleep than others. For me, I was a walking zombie and needed something to change, as my life was becoming a nightmare due to sleep deprivation. If you’re one of the ones who can get up every night with your child to soothe him or her and not be a zombie, MORE POWER TO YOU. If you’re more like me and feel like you are suffering due to lack of sleep and decide to do CIO, you’re good, too, as babies can learn to self-soothe. Sorry, I refuse to believe this causes brain damage or that your child is going to be the next Jeffrey Dahmer if you let him or her CIO. It’s a matter of what works for YOU, the parent.

Getting back to the point at hand, when are ladies going to realize we all live in glass houses? Glass houses that likely show a lot of dirty shit, perhaps a few child hazards, and maybe even some unkempt kids. Who are we all to judge? And the funny thing about it is, most of the time these comments appear on Facebook. Don’t these women realize that, unless they have figured out a way to set your privacy to the highest there is, we can likely see stuff about them … and a LOT of stuff. It’s not like they are some anonymous person sending seriously hurtful stuff out into the ether and none of us can see them. We might see photos of them drinking when their kids are around. We might see pics of them feeding their kids preservative-filled foods (the horror!). We might see them doing something that’s probably not suited for a parent. And that’s why we should do this when it comes to judging someone else’s parenting style: ZIP IT.

I’ll never forget the most awful instance of this I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of stuff on mommy blogs. Mary Tyler Mom is a HuffPo blogger who chronicled her experience of losing her four-year-old daughter to cancer. During one of her entries, she mentioned getting her daughter, Donna, food at McDonald’s after a hard day at the hospital. And someone said something to the effect of, “Perhaps that’s why your child has cancer. You’re feeding her poison.” Here’s the real kicker. Donna was already long dead since this post. MTM had continued posting the entries, as she was helping to raise awareness about pediatric cancer … not that this woman would have cared either way. Anyone who is willing to spew such venom has a hatred to the core that no love could likely penetrate.

I saw this same kind of thing recently when a woman wrote an article about how she and her boyfriend had her son strapped in their car seat wrong and he died as a result of it. Can you imagine how painful it was for her to admit their wrongdoing? She was doing it so others wouldn’t have to go through the same heartache. Instead, the commenters wanted to crucify both of them for their heinous act. What else can we do to them? They’ve already lost their little boy – should we stone them to boot? Had someone seen the mistake earlier, by all means, speak up. Now that the tragedy has occurred, let’s console her; not condemn her.

I’ve even seen seemingly innocuous things like a photo of a dad on the DILFs of Disneyland Instagram site (hilarious, btw) turn into a “burn him at the stake” kind of thing for a dad wearing his bjorn wrong. People need to get off their high horses! It takes a village but, sadly, there is a village somewhere missing a bunch of judgmental assholes.

We’ve all seen the “think before you speak” meme. Well, here’s my take on the acrononym:

Before you type something on a parenting article, do this:

T – Do you know this to be TRUE? More importantly, why are you saying/typing it? Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s what this person needs to hear at this moment. 

H – Does it come from the HEART? Is it HURTFUL or HELPFUL? 

I – Will it make this person feel INEPT? IDIOTIC? INSANE? If so, don’t type it. 

N – Can you honestly say you’ve NEVER done this? Remember our glass houses. 

K – KNOW something that could help this person? Pass it on. If not, KEEP it to yourself. 

Phew … there, I said (typed) it.

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