Parenting is probably the most judgmental field around. The idea of being a 'good' or a 'bad' mum, although frowned upon, is in every new parents' mind. Whether we have one newborn baby, or seven kids aged 0-20, we all have our opinions.
In person, we try and limit what we brag about, moan about, and definitely how much we judge other parents. Online however? No such qualms exist.
I give you, The Usual Suspects.
Mum who doesn't know how good she has it
This mum is like nails on a chalkboard to most parents, new or otherwise. She has a really good baby, a really easy time of it, and yet insists she is doing terribly. Yes, it's all relative, and we all have our hard days, but worries like "No matter what I do, my daughter wont sit in her bouncy chair for longer than 45 minutes" or "My baby is 9 days old and never sleeps for longer than four hours at a time" are going to make you unpopular.
Ditto with parents who complain about how difficult taking their kids on long haul flights multiple times a year is. Oh, I'm so sorry you're going on holiday... Again.
My unhelpful answer: I hope God sends you twins next time.
Can I give my 1 year old raisins? Can I put any sunscreen on my daughter? What kind of towels are best for my baby's skin? Should I wake my twins up, they've been sleeping for four hours? Can I eat chocolate while I'm breastfeeding? My baby ate 4oz and normally eats 4.5oz, what should I do?
My unhelpful answer: Do whatever you want. it doesn't matter.
My son has had this rash for three days. It started like this... - shows photo - and this morning I woke up and it's like this. - shows additional photo - Has anyone experienced anything like this before?
My unhelpful answer: YES. Doctors have. I guarantee they've seen lots of rashes. You might even say it's their JOB. The next one of these I see is getting a visit from social services.
By the Book Mum
This mother is generally a first time mum, although not always, and has been fooled by books and faux friends into thinking her baby is able to be programmed according to a schedule laid out kindly for her in pre-read literature.
She is puzzled as to why at the six week mark, her newborn didn't immediately start sleeping through the night. Why at six months, her son doesn't love pureed cauliflower and lentil mush, made exactly how it was outlined on page 28. Why after exactly two hours of playtime, her baby doesn't seem sleepy.
"My baby is 6 weeks old, and doesn't seem to be able to sleep through the night. He generally sleeps 4 hours, and then 3 hours, and then anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours. I'm so tired, and if I try not feeding him, he just screams! How can I routine him?"
My unhelpful answer: Babies cry. Newborns need feeding often. Routine is not a verb.
Disguised as a question, but really a blatant showing off fest, they normally start like this.
"Is it normal that my 2 month old is making loads of noises already? This morning I swear she said mama! What's that about?"
"I'm just wondering if it's okay that my 7 month old took his first steps today... like is it safe for his ankles as he's soooo teeny?"
"Has anyone experienced a week old baby sleeping for eight hours? My baby has done it two nights in a row now, and is putting on weight really well, and the midwife said it's fine, but do you think I should be concerned at all?"
My unhelpful answer: Shut up. NO ONE CARES.
This one might in fact be my mother-in-law. To every question, and every response, she basically answers "That's really dangerous." Sounds easy at first, but it's actually a challenge finding negative answers to some posts.
▪ Baby in his own room? Nope, death by neglect.
▪ Baby in my room? No way, attachment issues.
▪ Which formula? You should be breastfeeding.
▪ Should I stop BF now? Yes, do you have separation issues?
▪ Can my kid have crisps? No, she'll become obese.
▪ Should I give her carrots? No, she'll choke.
▪ Experience with trampolines? Broken bones.
▪ Experience with bikes? Car accidents.
▪ Experience with cuddly toys? Suffocation.
My unhelpful answer: I'm surprised you were brave enough to turn on the computer. Especially Facebook, don't you know, someone is hacking into your account and identity thieving you RIGHT NOW.
Not interested in giving or receiving advice, this lady truly subscribes to the idiom of one woman's rubbish is another's treasure. Except it generally isn't. "For sale, 24 bottles and teats." "10 cloth nappies, nearly new."
What?! How can you think anyone wants those? More annoying still, "for sale, various toddler toys, all need a good clean but in good condition."
So clean them! Surely that would make it a more desirable sale?
My general rule: If a charity shop won't take it, we probably don't want to spend a tenner and drive to Frogmore for it either.
Noticed any other Usual Suspects to add to my list?
Elisheva Sokolic works in publishing and journalism, and writes wherever people will let her, including Drafted Magazine, motherandchild.co.uk and on the backs of cereal boxes.