Julia Stiles can do without the internet’s advice, thank you
Julia Stiles has been introduced to the world of internet mommy-shaming after posting a photo of herself wearing her six-week-old son in a front carrier. Now, she has responded to the criticism with a new Instagram post inviting sanctimommies to stop harassing others and, instead, just shut up and dance.
On October 20th, actor Julia Stiles and her husband, camera assistant Preston Cook, welcomed their first child, a boy they named Strummer. Stiles announced Strummer’s birth on Instagram but did not share any more images of her son until last week, when she posted a photo of herself with the little guy in a front carrier. The Sanctimommies of Instagram said, “Oh Julia, we’re sorry we missed your birth announcement. Here’s a backlog of shame for you.”
It appears that many of the original comments were deleted, but here’s one I found that will give you a taste of what Stiles must have been dealing with:
“Baby can be in carriers only when is sitting by itself. Carriers haven’t got sides support and small backbone of child and hips are exposed to danger because of its heavy head. Even if a carrier has side support is not recommended for newborns. Just look at the picture and see how baby fits in it. I can’t even see its head. I’m fresh at babywearing (only nine months of carrying), but I’m in full contact with experts of babywearing after many European schools.”
Our friend here, who has attended many fine European baby-wearing schools and has expert contacts in the professional baby-wearing community, wants us to know that newborns should not be in carriers until they can sit up by themselves. That’s news to us, and it will surely come as a shock to the many companies who sell carriers made to fit newborns.
And without getting into the issues of head weight and hip dysplasia (Lord, give me strength), this is a single photograph taken during a single moment of Stiles’ day. I feel pretty confident that her child isn’t in that sling in that position for 23 hours a day — although, as the mother of a baby who only stopped screaming when she was held to my chest, I don’t know that I could blame her even if that was the case.
But this, of course, is the internet, where if you post a photo of yourself cuddling your baby at the beach people will slam you for exposing your child to sharks.
Stiles was not having it. She responded to her critics with this post:
It was brought to my attention that in the previous photo I am not holding my baby correctly. Wow, I didn't expect that. What was supposed to be a shout out of products I like, suddenly becomes an invitation to comment on my baby, and my ability as a mother. That's the internet for you, the carnivorous plant from "Little Shop of Horrors". I was trying to keep much of my son's image private, including, I guess, his little feet. And it was just a photo taken at home, not how I normally carry him around. Thanks for the concern, anyway. Yes, Mothers, always read the safety instructions. But also, Instagrammers: instead of writing snarky comments about a 5 week old, try dancing around your living room to a Clash record. It's way more fun.
“It was brought to my attention,” she writes, and I think we all know what tone she’s using there, “that in the previous photo I am not holding my baby correctly. Wow, I didn’t expect that. What was supposed to be a shout out of products I like, suddenly becomes an invitation to comment on my baby, and my ability as a mother.”
Yup, that sounds about right.
As we’ve all seen time and time again, there is nothing about a mother that the internet can’t judge. There is no photo you can post that doesn’t demonstrate all the ways in which you don’t love your children.
Stiles explains the way she has her son in the carrier (though she shouldn’t have to) this way: “I was trying to keep much of my son’s image private, including, I guess, his little feet.” As a celebrity, photographers are going to be hunting for photos of her son constantly. It’s not hard to understand why she would want to hide away as much of his precious self as possible. And, as she writes, “…it was just a photo taken at home, not how I normally carry him around. Thanks for the concern, anyway.”
Stiles ends with a suggestion for the Instagrammers who chose to take the time to criticize her parenting: “…instead of writing snarky comments about a 5-week-old, try dancing around your living room to a Clash record. It’s way more fun.”
Thank you, Julia, for your A+ use of sarcasm and for recommending an alternate activity for mommy-shamers. You keep that baby as sheltered from the public as you want and try to ignore the people who will always find something to criticize about your parenting.