Because parenting is, you know, so easy, don’t worry—there’s always the panel of judges watching your every move and waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on the mom shame that plagues us all. Everybody’s a critic, and they sure as hell want you to know it. We’ve all experienced some form of mom shame and no matter how much armor you wear, it still sucks. And since commiseration is an excellent form of therapy, here are a few of mine:
1. Right after I gave birth, the lactation consultant came in and was trying to get my daughter to latch, which she would not. With no small amount of derision she sighed exasperatedly and told me, “Your nipples are just too small.” Wow, thanks. Welcome to motherhood.
2. After a trip to the river, we stopped by the grocery store on the way home. My daughter and I were both barefoot, and yes, we looked like hippies. Baby was pushing a “customer-in-training” kiddie cart, and the amount of dirty looks we received was actually astounding. One woman actually stopped us and said, “Aren’t her feet going to get dirty?” Um, yes, they are. She’s a child, that tends to happen.
3. In the same vein, when the checkout lady scans food that has been opened because my daughter was throwing a fit in the store and a snack was the only answer, she handles the package delicately with two fingers as if it contains various diseases. Obviously, checkout lady has no children, or is too old to remember grocery shopping with them.
4. “Should she really be playing with that?” a stranger asked me when my daughter was holding my iPhone. Since this is the 21st century and she’s actually learning while she plays, yes, she probably should.
5. “You look so cute! I love your outfit.” Sounds like a compliment, right? Until it’s followed with, “Oh, that’s your baby? Wow.” Because obviously you can’t be a mom and look cute. It’s an oxymoron.
If I wanted your opinion, I’d have asked for it.
6. Various family members that come visit are utterly appalled that you didn’t safety lock every cabinet, put corner covers on the tables, and/or bubble wrap your entire house. If I wanted your opinion, I’d have asked for it.
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7. A balloon was tied in a slipknot around my daughter’s wrist, you know, the kind that is specifically made so it doesn’t get too tight. A stranger stopped her and said, “Oh sweetie, tell your mommy that’s too tight.” *Insert eye roll.*
8. “She doesn’t talk very much for a 3-year-old.” Yeah well, you talk a little too much for a 50-year-old. For some reason, it’s OK to tell children not to talk to strangers, but when they don’t talk to strangers, they’re labeled as “shy.”
9. “She’s so tan!” translates to, “Dear God, put sunscreen on your child or she’s going to get cancer.” Listen, we’re Israeli, OK. Being tan is in our blood. No matter how much I lather her in SPF 40, she’s still going to be brown.
10. “Isn’t she a little old for a pacifier?” Oh, I’m sorry, did you prefer that she cried instead? Explaining to a stranger that my toddler hasn’t had a nap due to various reasons that are none of their business and that her blankie and paci are her sole comfort when she’s tired is just a little too much work for this mama.