Perfect Parent Syndrome: The Age of Parent Shaming

I love social media. It’s what I do for a living and it pays my bills. But there is a sub-world in social media that is both a blessing and the devil incarnate. It’s a world that many parents find to be a sanctuary for great advice, camaraderie, a good laugh, a good cry and where “Perfect Parents” go to shame us all.

From TV time/screen time to organic foods, gifts from Santa to letting your kid play in the backyard by themselves. The “Perfect Parents” are always there to tell you that you suck as a parent and a human being, your children are doomed to become drug addicted mass murderers, you are completely wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself constantly. Oh and if you are doing “X” then you “Shouldn’t be a parent”.

There is no room for mistakes in the world of perfect parenting. There are no excuses. No grey area. If you are not perfect, then you do not deserve the honour of raising children. Period. Full stop.

10319799_10154037859845321_1000483012_oThey would never forget it is their day to pick up their child. They would never forget to pack a lunch. They would never forget a birthday party on the weekend. They would never forget a doctors appointment. They would never laugh at their child who got into the bum cream and smeared it all over their face hands and ate some because their child would never be alone long enough to do so. They would never be so tired that they forget to put on pants to go to work. (Thank God for mirrors at the front door). They would never because they are perfect.

These “Perfect Parents” want you to know how perfect they are cause they are right there in the comments section of every parenting article, parenting group, your twitter feed and instagram posts and they are going to shame you until you hand your children over to the nearest police station because you are unfit!

It’s is a phenomenon that is crazy to me! I mean, how quickly they forget that we are human beings that are flawed and we make mistakes. But not them, cause they are perfect!

I remember the summer before grade one, I had a friend who was a grade ahead of me named Shannon. We bowled on Saturday mornings together and we would also meet at the pool in our apartment building and swim together. I remember we used to have these races and she was always so fast, a much better swimmer than I was. That summer, Shannon went camping with her Mom, her little brother and her Mom’s boyfriend near Wasaga Beach. And Shannon never came home. She drowned that weekend. Her mother looked away for a few seconds, maybe minutes to tend to her little brother and that’s all it took for her Mother’s worst nightmare, any parents worst nightmare to become reality.

No parent in our community shamed Shannon’s mom, they wept with her. I remember after my Mom told me what had happened to Shannon she hugged me so tight it actually hurt. Because it could happen to any of them. They were not negligent parents. Shannon’s Mom wasn’t negligent, she was human. Accidents happen, that is why they are called accidents. And our parents 

understood that and supported each other. So what happened to us?

If that were to today, the story of what happened to Shannon would be plastered all over Facebook with the “Perfect Parents” all over it with the “How could the mother allow this to happen?”, “She is a horrible Mother, I hope her other children are taken away from her!”, “This should have NEVER happened, her mother should have paid more attention!”, “That woman should have never had children!”. And these people feel justified in writing this.

I read a great blog by Melissa L. Fenton on her site 4boysmother.com called Stop BLAMING Parents for Accidents. Please. This blog stuck with me because she touched on something we are often told: if you can’t say it to a persons face than you shouldn’t say it at all. She basically asks these “Perfect Parents” if they have the balls to walk up to the parents who have suffered the loss of a child at the funeral for their child and repeat the comments they are so quick to make from the comforts of their own homes hidden behind a phone or computer screen? I’m willing to bet that none of them have the cojones for that.

And that is on the extreme side. What about the memes or posts telling people how many presents they should be handing out to their kids at Christmas, or shaming parents who encourage a belief in Santa telling us that we psychologically harming our children. Give it a break already! I get that it takes a village to raise a kid and our village now includes social media, but every village has a Mayor who makes the rules and I am the Mayor of my village so I make the laws and if you don’t like it move to a new town!

It is getting more and more ridiculous! For example, I’ve seen a Mom in a parenting group ask “How long should I allow my little one to cry at bedtime before I check on him/her” and I’ve seen Mom’s start jumping all over her calling her a horrible mother for letting her child cry it out and list off all the ways she is traumatizing her child. Um that was not the question, thus your answer makes you an asshole, I’m sorry, I meant a “Perfect Parent”!

The question was, in case you missed the subtext: “Help me please! I need reassurance as I cannot stand to sit outside little Billy’s door while my heart is breaking listening to the person I love more than anything get used to being on his own in his crib to fall asleep. What is an acceptable time frame of torturing myself before I can break down his door, wrap him up in my arms and kiss his tears away? And please tell me we are both going to be ok!”

And the appropriate answer if you don’t agree with her parenting choice (cause newsflash it’s not your business to agree) is “It will be OK, you go in when you feel you need to” and if you have used similar parenting method then give the woman a time frame!

And if someone asks an open advice question, lets just all agree to give our own personal advice and not tell other commentators how wrong they are unless the advice phyically harmful like:

“Just do what I do! I slap Billy upside the head six times, tell him to grab the eight ball off the top of the fridge and rack up some lines. Then I make sure he gets my beer while he’s at it cause Mama’s feet are aching from carrying this baby around all day in my belly and I need a little ‘pick me up’. Now sometimes I gotta repeat myself with the little dipshit and tell him to hurry up and bring me a cigarette and to not to forget to light it for me this time. These 4 years olds, I tell ya!”

Perfect Parents are not just hurting the parenting community with the fights they start with other parents who had enough of the shaming it’s also about who else is reading their sanctimommy/daddy stuff. It’s parents who suffered similar losses, had children harmed in accidents, or are just struggling and the last thing they need is this BS. So give it up already!

Parenting is so hard, no one is perfect at it, not even these “Perfect Parents” and let’s be real they aren’t fooling anyone but each other.

*Please note: I got my Feature Image from fellow Mommy blogger dianth. I found her while researching “Perfect Parents” and now I am binge reading her blog. She an amazing blogger and Mom who shared her story of the time she accidentally left her son in the car once. If you got a minute check it and her out!

Dear Cigarettes: I Get it, You Win.

Until almost 5 years ago I didn’t know what life could be like without you. You have had a hold on my family since the day I was born. My first breathes in my home were filled with you so it’s no wonder why I turned to you in an attempt to feel older, cooler when I was 12. You were everywhere, in my house, in my parent’s car, in their hands; you have been slowly destroying all of us my entire life.

I never really knew what food tasted like, what flowers actually smelt like, I never smelt the grass or the ocean because you took that all away from me through them and later I helped you do it to myself. You sucked every joy from me for almost 35 years; joys I didn’t even know existed because you were always there.
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