Stop the Mom Bashing!

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Parent the best way you know how and ignore outside opinions.

“Leave me alone!” I remember this Michael Jackson song from years ago in which he was expressing his disdain for the media attention he was receiving and his pleas to simply be able to live his life the way he wanted sans the judgment and criticism of others. I thought of this song just recently when I saw some postings on Facebook about Beyonce and her nursing her child in public.

I wondered if she wasn’t secretly humming this song in quiet desperation to not have the public judge her choices as a new mother. You might say that it’s the price Beyonce and Jay-Z pay for being public figures. That is, because they are in the public eye, their every action is subject to our scrutiny and they should just deal with it.

I agree to a point. Yes, they are public figures and their lives are basically on camera 24/7. Along with the success and fame they enjoy comes the onslaught of public opinion. But where do we draw the line?

Beyonce was criticized for nursing her newborn baby in public. Britney Spears
was torn apart for putting her child in harm’s way when she had her child on her lap in the front seat. Madonna was criticized for adopting a child from another country. Angelina Jolie is bashed for having too many children out of wedlock. The Duggars are ridiculed for having too many children.  The list goes on and on. I even just read
about a potential law that would qualify single parenting as a form of child abuse!

Do you see a pattern here? It seems to me that there’s a bit of “mom-bashing” going on. And this happens not only in the world of celebrity but right here at home too. Let’s face it.  We all have a critical eye on what is good and bad parenting and what is best for children.

I’m guilty of it myself even with my solid stance of purposeful parenting. The other day I saw a child in the front seat of a small compact car. Yes, he had his seat belt on but was way too small to be in the front seat. As I expressed my dissatisfaction with this action by the child’s parent, my son said, “Mom, that’s not your kid. Forget about it.”

And on some levels, he was absolutely right. He was right in that I should not be criticizing another’s parenting choices. And maybe he was even right saying that I should forget about it. But it bothered me.

Far be it for me to claim that my parenting skills are above reproach. But when I see blatant mistakes that put a child in harm’s way, it strikes a cord and my “mama bear” instincts want to reach out and protect the child. I suspect if I were to have approached that parent and told them that their child should be placed in the back seat, my “I’m just trying to protect your child” intention might not have been viewed as such.

Was my son right? Should I have just forgotten about it?

Every parent makes decisions about their child’s well-being and care. None of us do everything perfectly. But all of us try to. My guess is that the parent who placed her child in the front seat was not intentionally trying to put him in harm’s way. Just like the celebrities out there who don’t always make the best decisions, us “commoners” don’t either.

The point is this however. We are all doing the best we can, trying to figure out the best way to parent our children. The last thing we need is criticism and judgment. Most moms and dads work hard to be a good parent. We have good days and not so good days.

When did parents become fair game for criticism by the masses on everything from potty training to food choices to extracurricular activities? When did our every action become the reason for why all that’s wrong with our children? When did our innate motherly instincts become so compromised so as to be ignored in favor of the latest celebrity parenting trend?

Perhaps we’re all looking for a place to point a finger due to the craziness going on in the world. Maybe parents are an easy target, just as politicians, or “fallen celebrities”, or teachers, or coaches, or TV, or food companies, or, well… anyone!

What would happen if instead of pointing fingers, we instead offer to lend a helping hand? What if we learn to extend compassion and consideration instead of a fiery look
of disapproval?

What if…we all were just a bit kinder to one another?

I sure hope we can get to such a place because parenting is tough enough. Couldn’t we all use a little more help? I know I could. How about you?

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024