Watching a Perfect Parent Brigade hit the comments section never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, articles that appear in my Facebook news feed might not even be relevant to me, but I have to have a read because I know, I just KNOW, that the comment sections will be a train wreck, no matter how innocuous the subject might be.
Last week, I saw an article about a new invention. It’s called the Swipe and Feed– a plastic gadget that snaps on to a baby bottle and holds your smartphone. Essentially, you can feed your baby and scroll with ease. Probably not so useful for the breast feeders- unless you’re willing and able to squish your boob into a plastic circle, but, I digress.
The dad that designed it said he made it to help him get a little work done during feeding times. I read the article about it and thought “Huh, that’s clever!” A friend of mine, who bottle fed both her kids, was lamenting the fact that these weren’t around when her kids were little. And then I read the comments. Apparently, the Perfect Parents saw this little invention in a completely different light. They’d know, being Perfect Parents, how awful it really is. Some of them said they didn’t actually have any children and those are the ones I trust the most, because I know that’s when I was a Perfect Parent, myself.
You Deserve a Mouthful.Apparently, if you are a Perfect Parent, it’s okay to have a go at a total stranger if they meet the following requirements:
1. They’re feeding a baby
2. They look at their phone while they do it.
If they meet those two criteria, you may proceed with your chosen insult. If they happen to be breastfeeding and in public while looking at their phone, you will have the trifecta and may also choose to discriminate against them in some way while delivering your insult.
You are What’s Wrong with the World.
Forget Donald Trump, terrorism, climate change, poverty and disease. Don’t worry about refugees, corruption, misogyny or racism. Looking at your phone while you feed a baby is the real problem here. Feeding a baby and scrolling through Facebook is making other people immeasurably sad. Stop making strangers on the Internet sad immediately. You will, if you care about THE WHOLE WORLD. A Perfect parent wouldn’t be so selfish.
Do You Even Bond, Mum?
I say “Mum” because just about every comment that referred to the parent who fed the child, referred to the mother. I’m not sure if dads just don’t feed babies or if, perhaps, it’s okay for them to use their phones while doing so. I mean, they may well have urgent man-business to attend to. Anyway, the consensus is that not gazing adoringly at the tiny human you feed 26 times a day will prevent you from bonding with them. This is 100% true because I personally remember all the hours my mother spent gazing at my closed eyelids as I drank milk.
It turns out, looking at your phone while feeding a child means you really aren’t fit to raise your children. If you have ever scrolled through Facebook while feeding, please, turn your children in to the relevant authorities. You will surely be issued some kind of certificate declaring you an unfit parent. Display it, so that everyone knows your shame. I’m sure the agencies that deal with unfit parents and children at risk have literally nothing better to do.
I am a Terrible Mother.
Thanks to the helpful and constructive people who share their ignorant, outraged and judgy comments, I now know the truth. A Perfect Parent I am not. I mean, my last baby literally fed for an hour at a time, every second hour. But that was no excuse. I should not have retained my sanity by texting friends. I shouldn’t have entertained myself reading eBooks. There is no way I should have accessed the social media pages or forums that were such an enormous support to me in the early months during breastfeeding struggles and other anxieties.
Instead, I should have sat there and simply stared at my baby. In my defence, I did do that quite a bit. But not for the entire 10-12 hours a day I initially spent feeding. What an appalling creature I am.
What’s your motive?
If you are a Judgy McJudgerson who loves to criticise the parenting of others, what exactly is your motive? Do you believe you are helping? Is your goal to improve their parenting, therefore improving the quality of life for their child? Now, I’m no scientist, but I am capable of making a basic pie chart, which is almost the same thing. So, let me show you the amount of parents who changed the way they parents because a stranger (on the street, in the shops, on a bus or on the internet) offered them unsolicited criticism:
If you really think about it, it’s not surprising. It’s not in our nature, as humans, to respond positively to being shamed, especially when it’s unwarranted. If you are abusing, criticising or otherwise making your disapproval of someone else’s parenting choices known, it says far more about you than it does about them.
Here’s an Idea!
How about we try a different approach. Instead of judging and abusing mums or dads who do things differently to us, we could employ an entirely different strategy. This is how it works:
You see a parent doing their thing. It’s not how you would personally do that particular thing. You make a quick assessment by asking yourself this simple question:
Is what they are doing placing anyone in imminent danger?
If the answer is yes, you can politely let them know. The ball is in their court and you have tried, kindly, to help. If the answer is no, this is your cue to continue living your life without being a jerk to another parent. It’s really not that difficult. You can walk around wearing your invisible Super Parent cape, secure in the knowledge that your way is the best way (for you) without making a stranger feel like crap.
#IBOT @ Capturing Life.
Screenshots via Facebook.
Gifs via Giphy.