The picture below is from Elizabeth of The Mom Pledge, a pledge created to stop moms from bullying other moms online. Elizabeth calls the face her daughter is making in the photo— "OH NO, YOU DIDN'T!" For the rest of this post, I'd like you to refer back to this picture whenever I mention those words.
I've been very lucky in that I haven't encountered a lot of trolls on my blog. There was one woman who criticized me for advocating the "Cry It Out" method of sleep training (cold turkey, SUCKA!) There was a small batch of negativity over "5 Tips for Servers with a Small Child at the Table" (all in good fun, people!) And it's almost impossible to forget Angelina Jolie's #1 fan. You know, the one who called me "a homely stay-at-home nobody" for making fun of Angie's shoes? (Somebody's got to learn to pick their battles.)
I have, however, experienced my share of "parental criticism".
It's just in REAL LIFE.
What is it about having a child that gives all strangers the right to act like your mother? They know most of us have my our own mothers to deal with, right? Mine, at this very moment, is thinking that Mazzy needs her diaper changed. Even if I changed it five minutes ago.
My favorite piece of unsolicited advice came from a stranger at the airport when Mazzy was around 14 months. I had her in the Ergo carrier and we were boarding a plane to Utah when the man behind me said— "Oh look at the spoiled baby!"
"If you give me her pacifier, I'll throw it out for you."
(OH NO, HE DIDN'T!)
Well. Thank you, kind man. The only reason Mazzy is sucking on a pacifier is because I've been waiting for someone to volunteer to walk it over to the garbage. It has nothing to do with keeping her quiet so I don't piss off fellow passengers. Or trying to hold onto my last shred of sanity before I need to occupy a very mobile toddler in a shared coach seat. Nope. I'm just weak, lazy and raising a spoiled brat. Take the pacifier, new friend! While you're at it, take the baby! She can sit with you on the plane and for the next five hours, you can teach her everything she needs to know about how to succeed in life!
There was another instance when a passing stranger asked Mazzy's name. When I told her, she replied— "Why would you give a cute kid such a funny name?"
(OH NO, SHE DIDN'T!)
In what universe is this an acceptable line of questioning from someone I've shared nothing but the sidewalk?
Here's another example.
Recently, a woman went up to a pregnant friend of mine on the street and said— "You must be due any day now!" When my friend informed her that she was due in November, the woman said— "Well, then you must be having twins!"
(FUCK NO, SHE DIDN'T!)
Isn't it common knowledge that unless someone is wearing a "baby on board" t-shirt with an arrow pointing to their belly, you should keep any burning questions to yourself?
One thing seems clear— having a child is your one-way ticket to public scrutiny.
Another item to add to "The Joys of Motherhood".
Right after having an endless supply of diapers when visiting Grandma.
What's the worst thing a stranger has ever said to you (on the street or on your blog) regarding your parenting or pregnancy?
UPDATE: I took the top ten comments from below and pitted them against each other in a comment competition for "The Worst Unsolicited Parenting Advice". Click here to check it out.