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Parent on Parent Harassment

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

A well worn banality is that parenting is hard. What people talk less about though, is that parenting in front of other parents is what actually puts a parent on edge.

Parents live to judge other parents. It’s almost as if, to make up for how exhausting parenting is, judging and making fun of other parents is a way to gain some energy back. Similar to the witches from Hocus Pocus retaining their youth by preying on the souls of children. The weight of judgement is especially heavy on first-time parents, as my wife and I are. The stereotype is that first-time parents are overly cautious, helicopter-y, and have no idea what they’re doing. I would argue that those with four (or more!) kids have even less of an idea of what they’re doing on a fundamental level, but I digress.

You know the side-eyeing, can see one spouse lean to the other, hear the snickering. And slightly dejected and downtrodden the only recourse is to lean over to your partner and gently say, “fuck those guys, isn’t that kid a little too old to be pushed around in a stroller?”

But see? You get to do it too! The journey of judgement is harsh, but also takes place on a two-way street. Making fun of other parents becomes a side hobby. Boy, doting much? Or the other end of the spectrum, are they just letting this kid have free reign of the place?

It’s not all catty warfare though. There’s a certain camaraderie between parents too. With each condemning gesture, there are twice as many nods of support. Just as parenting is a team effort between partners, it can be a communal effort between groups of parents. For example, one might forget to pack wipes on a trip to the park, another has three packages of wipes in their car. Water bottle lid leaked? We’ve got you covered. Thought you packed the baby sunscreen but got butt cream instead? No worries.

“Now, y’all see those parents over there measuring formula with a digital scale? Amateurs!”

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