Are you judging me? I hope so. I know this is not a popular sentiment, nor something a nice girl like you would do. We are all out here in cyberspace struggling to be good parents and wondering why the hell this is much harder than it looked in the brochure. And for some reason or another, we have all decided that it’s a good idea not to judge each other’s parenting. I suppose this is all well and good, if we’re talking about how we handle getting broccoli into our children’s stomachs or making them pick up their socks and turn off the television. But I don’t think there should be a complete moratorium on judging.
Morality, humanity and human safety still have a role here, my friends and fellow parenting warriors. So please indulge me for a few minutes about the myriad of ways that I will judge you as a person and a parent.
If you are raising a bully who assaults, manipulates or otherwise picks on my child or any other child on the playground, the schoolyard or at those places with the jumpy castles that we all go to on the weekend when we can’t yell “don’t jump off the sofa onto your little brother” one more time, I will judge you. In fact, I will probably do that thing where I grab your kid’s arm so hard that I lift him off the ground and put him somewhere, most likely dangling over the port-o-potty, begging not to be dropped in.
If you, in your own rage and frustration, berate your child in public calling them stupid, useless or inadequate and undeserving of your love in some way, I will judge you. In fact, I might even intervene. My large face and garlic breath will be right up in yours with my robust vocabulary giving you some instructions on compassion and respect. This will happen right before I give your child some really nice eye contact, a message of love and my cell phone number.
If you, with your own irrational beliefs about what is safe and what causes harm, decide to skip vaccinating your perfectly normal and healthy child because such-and-such celebrity doesn’t believe in vaccines, I will judge you. In fact, I will design a t-shirt for you that says “I kill babies with my ignorance,” and I will tackle you, force the t-shirt over your head and finish the job with duct tape. I will also probably spray paint this message on your garage.
If you are married, dating, or just in love with someone who is sexually assaulting or committing violent acts against your children, I will judge you. In fact, I will call the police and have you arrested. And I will stalk your boyfriend with my internet skills and make sure that his mom, his employer and his friends know he’s a pervert. You have never met a citizen’s arrest like this one, girlfriend.
If you smoke, drink to excess, or consume drugs in such a way as to cause you to become irresponsible, neglectful or abusive to your children, I will judge you. I will invite you to a surprise party where everyone you know will jump out from behind the sofa to yell “stop that shit!” And then we will put a black bag over your head and put you in a cab on your way to rehab.
If you fail to take your children to the doctor, treat them for illnesses, support their basic educational needs, forget to buy them clothing, let them eat ketchup and only ketchup for every meal, I will judge you. I will also call social services, every day, until they visit you and consider giving your kids to me. I will take them, no matter what, because I have an entire freezer full of hash browns and tators tots to help them get over you.
None of these are a “parenting style.” And truthfully, I probably would treat the neglectful, the ignorant and the violent with just a little more compassion. Just a little, like maybe I would skip the part about putting a bag on your head. But let’s judge.
Really. Children deserve it.

Sarah writes with sarcasm about science, gender, feminism and fertility issues on her blog She is writing a memoir about her experience becoming a parent. Sarah lives in Denver with her wife, two girls and an ungrateful dog. If she had more free time, she would spend it lobbying the state government to make down vests and flip-flops the official uniform of Colorado. You can talk to her on Twitter @sarahanngilbert.


  1. This is very powerful. I think we have definitely taken the judging moratorium too far. As a society, we look the other way when we shouldn’t because we’re all so afraid to be labeled as judgmental. I’m with you…the J Word is not always a bad thing.

    • Yes, especially over safety and basic human rights. It’s a parent’s job to provide a safe and loving home, if thetc won’t do it, someone has to step up and be a voice for the children.

  2. I love this. And yes, for children, your behavior is not just do whatever the fuck you want. Just because you can procreate, doesn’t mean you should and/or you can then do whatever you please. take some responsibility for your actions. No matter what, and if not, yes, I’ll give you the side-eye, or more, if I see your kid locked in the car while you run into Starbucks, I’ll call the cops. Great post.

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