You may have heard this saying, “Know Better, Do better” and I feel like it probably started with good intentions. But it’s basically become the mantra for the pitchfork people. You know, the Perfect Parents who love to point out what you’re doing wrong in the most superior way possible. This is the kind of thinking that leads some moms–Actually, ya know what? Let’s just call them bitches.
Let’s just call them bitches.
Because that’s what they are. So it leads some bitches to come up to a new mom in a grocery store and say “You know you’re not supposed to put your car seat in the cart like that, right? Because if the cart falls over the car seat doesn’t come unlatched and you could kill your baby.” *Flustered mom says* “No! OMG! My baby!” Frantically tries to rearrange her cart and the bitch walks away smiling smugly and calls over her shoulder, “Know better, do better!” And that new mom is traumatized and going to cry herself to sleep that night, thinking she’s a terrible mother in over her head. Or, the bitch will attempt to say that kind of thing to someone who just isn’t having it.
Picture it: Florida, 2014. I had two of my girls strapped into a double seater grocery cart at Sam’s Club while I was trying to load the groceries I’d just bought into the van. The van was still full from a road trip and I was frantic trying to find space for $300 worth of groceries. It was hot as Tartarus and I was airing out the van so it wouldn’t be a sauna by the time we got in. I had one foot on the bottom so the cart couldn’t slide. A little old Southern Belle type of lady comes over to me and says,
“Oh, Honey, You really shouldn’t leave your kids in the cart like that. What if the wind picks up?”
It’s freakin’ Florida in August. There’s been zero wind for 5 months. So I say, “Oh, no worries, I’ve got it.” Gesturing to my foot on the bottom. She looks doubtingly at my foot,
“But you have a baby in there, it doesn’t take long for that to pull those girls away from you.” “I’m right here, Lady, they’re not going anywhere.” She looks at me like I’m casually telling her it’s ok to slaughter puppies. “I just don’t trust the carts; they could blow over any minute.” I furrow my brow and say “The cart isn’t going to spontaneously blow over. What am I supposed to do, Lady? I only have so many hands.”
She then starts to back away because I’m not being apologetic like she assumed I would be and says “I’m not trying to be ugly, I’m just trying to help.” I stop putting groceries away at this point and give her my full attention. “Well, you ARE being ugly. If you wanted to help, load up my groceries into the car while I fan my kids and feed them grapes.” She just shakes her head and walks into the store, people in the parking lot wondering what the hell just happened.
And, honestly, I’m wondering what the hell just happened, too. Where does she get off thinking that I need the kind of help that offers no substantial help but only criticism? I mean, it was obvious I was struggling. She had to add more to my plate at that exact moment? Why? Best I can figure is she just wanted to take that moment to pounce on a vulnerable mommy and make herself feel superior. But just because I’m struggling doesn’t mean you can pounce on me. And you shouldn’t freakin’ pounce on anyone. That’s freakin’ terrible.
And saying it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram isn’t much better. Don’t take a picture of a mom and then write her an open letter. That’s just a dick move: to publicly shame her for making parenting decisions you don’t appreciate. Unless she’s like, blowing smoke in your kid’s face, or doing something CPS would care about, she probably doesn’t need you throwing your advice her way.
That new mom has enough shit on her plate and racing through her mind and weighing on her heart. When you see that baby, you just go say how cute it is or just mind your own business. If you read that and think, “She may not know better and I could be saving that kid’s life!” let me just go ahead and stop you now. You’re not going to save that kid’s life. Mostly because most mom’s reaction to this won’t be to calmly fix the problem. She’ll either completely lose her mommy confidence or will think, “Screw that bitch, I’ll do it my own way!”
But also, because the chances of that kind of thing actually hurting the child are legitimately slim. If your reaction to that is “But why risk it?” I want to hit you in the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Bad judger! Bad! Because it’s not your kid. That mom is doing the best she can. And if you make her question her parenting skills that will shake her confidence and she’ll probably slip up on something else. Like driving. And then you’re actually responsible for killing a baby! Baby Killer!
Sounds ridiculous, huh? So does fear mongering every little thing and making a mom feel bad about herself. So now you know better. And as they say, Know better, Do Better. So just shush more.