I had my first child 10 years ago, and ever since I’ve always managed to find a judgy parent at work. It’s the lady who asks how your child is doing, and when you respond, she gives you that nasty lip curl that seems to say, “You have no idea what you are doing,” followed by a grunt, and some advice on how they did it right with their child and you are doing it wrong.
They never judge you over anything really important, mind you. It’s usually over things like potty training, getting your child to sleep at night, and when to take their paci away. These are the parents who, when you show your co-workers a picture of something funny your child did over the weekend, they comment on the dirty dishes in the background, “I can’t stand dirty dishes. I don’t know how you handle that. I’m getting anxiety just looking at that.”
And here’s the thing: I don’t get it. I just don’t. I don’t know what makes a parent think that because their child peed in the toilet before someone else’s that makes them a better parent. I don’t understand why a woman in the workplace feels that they can judge another mother in the workplace because they didn’t pump at work — or because they do pump at work. There’s no way to win. I don’t understand why a father can teach his daughter to ride a bike after work, tell the story in the break room, and another parent can chime in about how that father did it all wrong.
Total parenting buzzkill.
So here’s the thing: If you are a working parent, your life is already difficult. You are going to work each day, probably leaving before the kids are up. Sometimes you get home before the kids are in bed. Sometimes you have to pick between work meetings and time with your children, and it all feels like a tug of war. Then, to make it worse, there is always some judgy butthole of a parent (or non-parent, even worse) in your office who makes you feel like you might suck at this whole parenting gig.
And here’s the biggest problem, I am not convinced that the judgy parents in the workplace realize what they are doing. I think some of them think they are helping. Some of them think that this is all well-intentioned advice. Some of them do it subconsciously because the one way they can feel better about themselves is by putting other parents down.
So if you are reading this, and you have ever given unsolicited parenting advice or offered snide remarks to a coworker, you might just be the judgy butthole in the office. If you have ever listened to a parenting story in the break room and then told that parent how much easier it was for you because you did things differently, you might just be the judgy parent in the office. In fact, if you have ever given another parent in your workplace something other than encouragement and support, you are most likely the office a-hole.
And to you I say this, “Knock it off.”
Parenting is, hands down, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This includes going to college and every job I’ve ever had. What I find the most challenging is trying to juggle providing for my children while also being an engaged, hands-on, present parent. It’s not easy, and the last thing I, or any parent, needs is someone in the workplace making themselves feel better about their own parenting by projecting their superiority complex onto others.
Listen — this is a village. Parents need to support each other, not just for the sake of our own sanity, but also for the sake of our children. I need to go home and feel confident in the fact that I know my children well enough to raise them right. And having someone at work put me down or guilt me over unimportant garbage isn’t helping me or anyone else, for that matter.
So knock it off already. Don’t be that person.
If you think you might be that person, take a step back and reflect on your interactions with your co-workers. Think about whether you show support (or even indifference) or act like a dick head. If it’s the latter, then make a change. Iron out the problem. Because the fact is, no parent needs your criticism. We just don’t. We don’t need your clapbacks. We don’t need your gossip.
And if you can’t do that, try shutting your stupid face for once. We’re begging you.