What do you do when someone, a stranger, makes a comment about your parenting? The first reaction from the moms in my son’s playgroup was to tell the person, “Mind your own f-ing business.”
I still regret not seriously telling off a man who made a comment to me about my letting my 5-year-old son pick “treats” off the shelves as we shopped in Whole Foods last year. I was hugely pregnant and terribly sick from around the clock “morning sickness.” My husband was at work late that evening and I absolutely had to go grocery shopping after I got home from work because we had nothing in the house for that night or for school lunch the next day. I dragged myself off of the couch and threw up into the kitchen garbage can to drive 15 minutes to the store. When we got there, I paused every aisle or so to dry heave. It was dinner time so it was no wonder that my son was hungry and I had no energy to fight when he pulled things off the shelves. So yes, I let him have a few snacks. But that meant dried veggie sticks, organic yogurt tubes and a fruit leather strip. Afterall, we were at Whole Foods. It wasn’t like he was picking candy off the shelves. As we were leaving, some guy getting into a sports car (meaning he either had no kids or had a mid-life crisis and had left his family) made a snide remark about my son’s “dinner.”
Of course it doesn’t matter and I’m sure the guy forgot it before he was out of the parking lot. But it just eats at me that I let someone treat me that way, that I let him question my parenting.
The problem is that we let these people feed into our insecurities about our parenting. We all want to give our kids healthy, unprocessed foods at every meal. But you know what, I’m not always up to cooking and more than I’d like I reach for the frozen foods or a box of macaroni and cheese (the good kind of course). And of course I hate to use the television as a babysitter. But sometimes I have to in order to get work done or to clean the house or feed the baby. So we need to let go and be secure knowing that we are good parents, no matter what strangers say!