23 Parents Dish On Their Most Judged Parenting Choices

Michele Zipp | Aug 23, 2018 Being a Mom
23 Parents Dish On Their Most Judged Parenting Choices
Image: Stígur Már Karlsson/Heimsmyndir/iStock

happy mom child
Stígur Már Karlsson/Heimsmyndir/iStock

Parenting is full of incredible experiences -- even when struggling to maintain some sanity through them. For every major milestone in a child's life, there may be tears of worry to get there, but then so many tears of joy with every accomplishment. But there is one part of parenting that can be absolutely dreadful and brings out the worst of the worst -- and that's the judgment part. 

When discussing the most judged parenting choices on social media, people opened up about their experiences getting shamed when they dared to be honest and bare their truth. There are so many judgments, and nearly every parent could write their own tome about them. In the interest of time, these most-judged parenting choices are condensed in this list. 

What's interesting to think about is how much we judge ourselves, in addition to others who judge us. We feel imperfect and as if we aren't doing things as well as the next parent. Delving into this list, something positive does emerge. And that is that parents will most likely be judged in some way, no matter what they do.  

Let this be the ultimate lesson to us all. Let's not judge, and let's not let another person's judgment affect us negatively. 

We could also soak in the words of my wise friend, named Jen. She shared, "I’m pretty sure I've been judged from the moment I named my kids until now, 11 years later. However I’ve been way too busy raising them to give a sh*t about what anyone thinks of my parenting!"

Yes! Let's take a look at these judgments, shall we?

  • Having One Child

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    "By the time my daughter was 2 years old, my husband and I had decided she would be our only child. There were a number of factors that went into our decision, among them my very rough pregnancy and the fact that my husband is himself a happy only child. It wasn't a decision we took lightly, but it's one that is just right for our family. And yet, I have been hearing for years that I am doing irreparable harm to my daughter by not giving her a sibling. I've been told she'll be a spoiled brat, that she will grow up lonely and unable to make connections with other people, that she will not be able to cope with my death (?!), that I will regret my decision, and on and on. All this because I didn't create another human being?!" -- Jeanne S.

  • Buying Toys

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    "I like to buy my son Hot Wheels cars when I'm at the supermarket because they are anywhere from 50 cents to $1 at any given trip. I get judged for it all the time, but I love doing little things like that for him." -- Ron H.

  • Breastfeeding a Toddler

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    "People judged the fact that I nursed my son until he was 4. 'If he can ask for it, he’s too old,' was the biggest ridiculous comment I would get." -- Georgia W.

  • Formula Feeding

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    "I faced judgment for formula feeding. As though I didn’t feel guilty enough, or know that breast is best." -- Shannon P.

  • Reading Certain Books

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    "I have been judged for letting my kids read books that others deem controversial. A teacher/stranger reprimanded my for letting my daughter check a certain book out at the library because this woman said it was boring and complicated and not to my kid's reading level. To which I replied that that may be the case but if my child wants to read it, she can and I'd never dissuade her." -- Marla F.

  • Certain Food Choices

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    "I've been judged for trying to only eat humanely raised meat and the least processed foods without artificial flavors or colors and low on the sugar." -- Stana W.

    "I fed my son a strictly organic vegetarian diet until age 5. You wouldn't believe the horrible comments I received about not letting him be a 'kid' because he didn't have traditional junk food." -- Jennie T. 

    "I faced judgment because I will not force my children to sit for meals or eat food that they don't want. Cold cereal for dinner is alive and well in my house." -- Rachel M.

    "I allow my kid fast food and processed food -- McDonald's, Pop Tarts. I actually have really strong feelings about dietary policing as a form of class shaming." -- Phoebe N.

  • Banning Barbie

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    "I've been called abusive for not allowing Barbies. I also wouldn’t let my kids wear clothes with characters on them. My mom had a hard time when I gave back the light-up character shoes and all the plastic toys she bought." -- Georgia W.

  • Allowing 'Girly' Things

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    "We've allowed princesses and Barbies! I'm genderqueer and on the trans masculine spectrum and yet I think both Disney Princesses and especially Barbie are wonderful franchises with progressive messaging that I am totally comfortable with my daughter absorbing. I also don't want to femme-shame her. It's wonderful to like beautiful, sparkly things, to enjoy dolls, and engage in female power fantasies. But I've faced judgment for those choices in feminist circles while also dealing with guilt trips about not dressing her girly enough from extended family." -- Phoebe N.

  • Clothing Choices

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    "I face judgment for letting my son wear 'girls' clothes." -- Jessica P. C. 

  • Co-Sleeping

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    "Co-sleeping -- that's something people have judged me for. I heard everything from how badly I was going to spoil them to how it was going to interrupt my sex life (spoiler alert: You can have sex in other places in your house)." -- Marj P.H. 

  • Allowing Habits That Soothe

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    "People take issue with me letting my 9-year-old still chew and suck on her 'mine' (muslin swaddling blanket) at bedtime." -- Tiffany K.

    "My 8-year-old still sucks her thumb and I know I'm judged for that." -- Danielle V.

  • Hair Length

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    "My son has very long hair and he's called a girl all the time for it. He's secure enough -- at 8 to deal with those who say things to him ... and he has no interest in cutting it. But there are still people close to us who insist he should cut his hair to a traditional 'boy cut' -- whatever that means." -- Mary M.

  • Getting Divorced

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    "I can’t tell you how many people judged that I chose to get divorced and raise my son from 5 months old without a two-parent home. I 100 percent know it was much healthier to have a calm, peaceful environment and no screaming and constant tension. But so many people told me it was a shame and he’d be missing out ... I mean, hello? On what? Fighting, unhappiness, tension? Our way is his norm, and it’s fine. The end." -- Kim A.

  • Daycare

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    "I had several people comment about how we put her in daycare as early as we did (part-time at 2.5 months old and full-time at 3 months). 'Don’t you want time with your baby? You’ll never get that time back' was the common worry. Along with just blatantly rude comments that she was too young. I love my kid more than life, but I needed my work life back, that’s just what makes me happy and sane (and in turn a better mother). And you know what, she’s the most social, adjustable kid ever, and I’m certain it’s because of that decision." -- Brittny D.

  • Being Liberal With TV Choices

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    "I let my kids watch horror films. They love it. Blood, gore ... all of it. I did as well growing up and I haven’t murdered anyone... yet!" -- Leigh C. 

  • Homeschooling

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    "I deal with a lot of judgment over my choice to homeschool my kids." -- Nathalie A.

    "I've dealt with the most judgment over homeschooling, letting my kids play video games, not pushing them into activities, and being brutally honest with them." -- Laura J. F. 

  • Video Games & Screen Time

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    "We have extremely liberal screen time policies. My daughter loves bonding over video games with dad even at 4." -- Phoebe N.

    "I let my kids watch TV and have plenty of screen time. I also tell my kids the mistakes I've made in my life and discuss hard topics frankly with them. I've been judged for all of it." -- Staci N.

  • Not Sleeping in the Same Room

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    "Personally, I've been judged for putting my 4-week-old baby in a room separate from ours, even though it was the only way for all three of us to sleep better. On a side note, my husband was judged by a few of his professors and classmates for having a child while being a PhD student (at age 26)." -- Sophia B.

  • Acknowledging My Child's ADHD

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    "My personal favorite is blaming parents for a child’s ADHD. I’m constantly told my son just needs to 'run around more' or that I need to be more disciplined. Yeah, that’s not it. You’d think those closest to you would see/know that. Unfortunately, they are typically the ones who serve the harshest of judgments." -- Liz R.

  • Medicating

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    "I've faced judgment for medicating early (3 years old) for ASD, also very early into daycare. We couldn’t afford to take more time off, as nice as that would have been." -- Brian C.

  • To Vaccinate or Not

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    "I choose to selectively vaccinate my children and am equally judged by those who are against vaccines as those who are for it. If I vaccinate I am poisoning my children and caving to social pressures and if I don't I am criminally negligent as a mother." -- Nicole L.

  • Having a Planned C-Section

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    "I faced judgment for planning my second C-section. I felt awful enough myself because I wasn’t dilating and my daughter was getting too big for a V-bac. I also dealt with judgments regarding not finding out the sex of either kid. Having a registry! I never expected to be judged for picking out my child’s car seat, pack and play, stroller ...." -- Jen S. P. 

  • Being Close to Grandparents

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    "My son goes to his grandparents’ house every Saturday night. When he was younger he’d spend Friday and Saturday there. My husband and I would stay home most of the time. However, we got so much shade from people who thought we were terrible parents because our son has a great relationship with his grandparents." -- Shannon A.

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