It’s not unusual for parenting posts to go viral on social media.
A sleep deprived new parent just has to type something hilarious, moving or true and the post will be shared by parents around the world. Parents who are just as tired, frazzled and overwhelmed as the original poster. Parents who can identify with the message and feel better knowing they’re not alone.
Sometimes, parenting posts go viral for all the wrong reasons. This week, Sanctimommy shared a new mama’s rant on their Facebook page. The rant isn’t about how boring it is to change nappies all day long, or how tiring it is to have a nocturnal baby, it’s a judgemental rant about other parents.
The anonymous new mama is just two weeks into her parenting journey but figured that was enough experience to qualify her to publicly judge other parents. As you can imagine, the post has gone viral as other parents have been quick to call the anonymous poster a douche.
The post reads:
“It bothers me how much being a parent has turned into a martyr profession. Our children are not an excuse to be dirty, or lazy, and are not a parent’s scapegoat for whatever. Being a parent doesn’t mean leaving food under the couch, and never showering. I’m only two weeks in but so far I’ve managed to get enough sleep, cook decent meals for my family, keep my apartment clean, spend some time with Jaime, and my newborn is happy, well fed, well loved, bathed and in clean clothes and clean diapers. I see these ‘cute’ little parenting blurbs all the time, but I disagree with them on every level. No, I don’t accept that with the birth of my child came acceptance of a dirty house. If my child managed to smear peanut butter all over my curtains that tells me that I’m not watching them close enough. Food is eaten at the table, not while running through the house.”
How Do You Like Them Apples?
Once you’ve stopped laughing, this post might actually start to make you angry. Who is this mother of a two week old and why is she criticising your peanut butter painted curtains? And, most importantly, where does she live? Few things would be more enjoyable than peeking into her pristine apartment on the day when her clean, controlled world finally comes crashing down around her. Maybe you could even have a quick word with this Jaime person and let him know that it’s not really on, that his judgemental wife is stuck doing all the cleaning and cooking just two weeks after giving birth.
There are so many brilliant things about this viral post, like the fact she thinks she’ll be able to implement a ‘only eat at the table’ rule during toddlerhood. Or the fact that she’s planning to watch her toddler each and every second of the day. How will she get all the tidying done if she’s following her child around like a hawk?
Let’s try to be compassionate towards this new mother, however. Let’s remember that, even though she claims not to be, she is in the midst of those overwhelming newborn days where you can’t help but question every single thing you do. And, let’s all think back to our own beginnings and the things we thought before we were parents. Or the things we thought before our babies grew into toddlers, as we looked on disapprovingly at the raucous gaggle of toddlers wreaking havoc at the coffee morning.
The truth is, when it comes to parenting, you have no idea what it’s really going to be like until you step foot in the trenches. And by that point it’s too late to turn back, even when you realise that you are badly equipped and not at all ready for this next step.
So, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that one day, not far from now, she will regret her online rant. One day she’ll trip over a pile of laundry, find a biscuit smushed into the DVD player and realise she’s just like the rest of us. That parenting isn’t orderly, controlled or tidy. That it’s hectic, chaotic and beautiful.
The problem with the post is not that the mama is smug about being able to still do all those things, it’s that she’s judging those who can’t. She wouldn’t exactly be first on your list of play day invitees, would she? It’s ok to not find parenting hard. It’s ok to have a baby who sleeps pretty damn well. It’s ok to find breastfeeding easy and natural. It’s ok to have a beautiful birth experience that made you feel empowered. What’s not ok is making other parents feel bad because they don’t. Everyone has different priorities, different choices and different babies. Don’t judge other parents based on your assumptions. Enough of the judgement now. Can’t we all just be happy on this journey together, regardless of our differences?
Recommended Reading: Check out BellyBelly’s article 10 Big Tips For Visiting A New Baby – And Being Asked Back.