First of all: I’m not a mom. I’ve never been pregnant, I have no children, and I have no plans to have children within the next few years. However, I have some friends and acquaintances who have had children, and I’ve noticed something in observing their experience…
They face a LOT of judgement.
It’s sickening how much judgement a new mom faces, and it starts before the baby is even born. Everyone seems entitled to know the sex, the name the parents picked, the mom’s diet, whether she’s getting enough nutrition, if she has a glass of wine on occasion, whatever. Everything a mother does is, apparently, up for critique once she announces her pregnancy.
I can’t help but roll my eyes.
Today while I was scrolling through Instagram, an old friend posted a picture of her new baby with a caption apologizing for being “that mom” that posts a ton of pictures. I felt a fire of rage start to burn in my stomach (and that has led me here) simply because she shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for that. In a perfect world, she wouldn’t, but I know in this world it’s “uncool” to post a ton of pictures of your new infant.
So basically it’s uncool to post pictures of what’s bringing you joy.
The judgement doesn’t stop at birth: is the mother breastfeeding? Did she leave her baby with a sitter too soon? Did she take the baby grocery shopping too soon? Is she staying at home? Is he? If not, when are they going back to work? Did they hire a nanny? How soon did you start on solid food? Shouldn’t your baby be sleeping? When will you have another?
As I said before, it’s like everything mothers do is up for critique. It drives me crazy and I don’t even have a kid. I’m almost afraid to have children BECAUSE OF mommy culture. From what I can see, mommy culture isn’t supportive unless you’re making the same choices. And you’ll never please everyone, so you’re going to face judgement at every turn anyway.
Here’s what I think: if it’s not your child, it isn’t your place to judge.
As long as the parents are doing their best to not cause harm, leave them alone. Unless they’re naming their child “Shithead” or something equally as damaging, keep your mouth shut about the name they picked. They don’t need to know you knew a bully in high school with the same name. Lay off the subtle, backhanded criticisms that sound like “I don’t know how you do it” or “I could never just stay at home all day” or “I just couldn’t imagine leaving my kids.”
Moms, Dads, get on with your bad self and post as many pictures as you want. If people roll their eyes and say “another one?!” as they scroll past, that’s their problem. Don’t let someone else’s irritability impede your joy. And if you don’t want to post pictures, that’s YOUR choice, not something that can be decided by your Facebook friends.
If it’s not your kid, do yourself and the people around you a favor and keep your negativity to yourself. It also doesn’t make you sound wise, like you’d think it does- it just makes you sound judgemental and mean. And no one wants to share things with people who are judgemental and mean.