How to Take “Constructive Criticism”

Being a parent is hard. It’s a job that requires no qualifications- but demands 100% effort. Nobody goes to school for this. The most guidance we receive comes from the 90 minute classes on child birthing during the second trimester of pregnancy. The “oh shit” moments don’t start happening until the first night home from the hospital. That’s when we realize that these tiny humans are going to dictate the rest of our lives. Forever. No really. Forever.

The pressure starts before the contractions. Three months into the first trimester, I broke the news to our family. It was a Christmas party. I remember hugging each family member and whispering the news into their ear. The sweetest surprises are the ones that are the most anticipated. Everyone was ecstatic. The putrid droplets of wisdom, long since expired, dropped from their lips like they had been saved, all this time, just for this very moment. But everyone is going to have their own advice. Their own stories. Suggestions.

Parents are good at feeling attacked. It’s not because we are too sensitive or emotional. Becoming a parent is like being signed up to a class, dedicated to telling you that you don’t fucking matter anymore. And every lesson plan is a new piece of advice, conflicting with every other piece of advice you have ever heard. And at the end of each day, you’re told that everything you have done is wrong and that you failed. No matter who you listen to. No matter what tools you use. You are wrong.

Older generations have told me that I am easily offended. I see it every day in the comments section of every controversial facebook meme. I can’t figure out if they honestly believe that their advice is so important that it should be valued above research studies and personal experiences. Social media has allowed opinions to be valued over relationships. It’s easier to delete Aunt Karen on Facebook than to tell her that taking castor oil in labor can literally kill an unborn baby. People want to believe that the advice they followed was the right advice. So much so that they will steer other people to follow it. There is a fight to be right in parenting.

Social media holds my generation accountable for every word we say, every step we take, and every second of our parenting. The more we share, the more we are criticized. There are like, 40 states between my family and everyone I grew up with- but social media makes it feel like they live right next door. I’m faced with the challenge of wanting everyone to be as involved in my son’s life as possible, while not wanting to share the most intimate details and decisions in my life.

I do not let fear of failure or judgement control my decisions. The two faces of facebook became apparent to me when I climbed a mountain with my son when he was 9 months old. My photos exploded with likes and reactions. But my inbox was beaming with questions of criticism and worry.

“Don’t you think that is a little dangerous…”

“What’s the matter with you!? You could have gotten hurt!”


Why the fuck would I listen to that? Is that my responsibility as a parent? To fucking drown in someone else’s worries and concerns? Because my lifestyle as a parent is to go hiking and mountain climbing with my family, do you honestly believe that it gives you the right to have an unchallenged opinion? News flash: Opinions do not have to be spoken and shared every time they run through your head. You can actually just not say anything at all. There’s this really cool thing that I’m allowed to do as a parent. I’ve been doing it for a while now actually and it’s working out great. I don’t really have a name for it but I highly recommend that you try it. Don’t fucking respond to people’s criticisms or questions. Ignore them. It’s fucking amazing, I’m telling you. I literally get to decide how much negativity people dump into my life. And I do it all by not giving a fuck.

It’s ironic because the generations that are the quickest to accuse millennials of being “too sensitive” are the quickest to get hurt when you don’t accept their opinions blindly. Don’t let social media tell you how happy you are allowed to be.



Everyone at the zoo thinks that they are a photographer. I don’t mean the ‘casual selfie next to a giraffe’ type of photography, I mean- ‘You just stepped in front of a single mom pushing her stroller so that you could get the best angle of a monkey shitting into its hand’ type of photography. I have 3 good reasons why this is fucking idiotic and you people need to stop.


  1. You look ridiculous. We live in a world where vanity takes precedence over humility. No one is humble anymore. I say hello to people every single day, only to have them avert their eyes and continue walking. They would rather listen to the words of a song through a set of headphones than ever engage in friendly conversation with a stranger. No, you’re not an introvert, you’re an asshole.
  2. You are fucking rude. If you have ever taken a course in photography in your pathetic fucking life, you would know that you cannot just obstruct public areas so that you can get a shot. You can certainly use public areas but you must realize that, just because you decided to pull your camera out, does not require anybody to respect you.
  3. You are not experiencing the moment. That picture is forever documenting a moment that you missed. It’s not a memory of your family enjoying the zoo. It’s not a memory of anything. Nobody cares about personal photographs except for the people who take them or the people in the photograph. You can wallpaper your house in photos of animals but everyone who visits is going to think you’re ridiculous.


I watched an 8-year-old child nearly push over an elderly woman today and her family was so distracted by the fact that she was trying to jump out of the photo that they did not even scold her. They didn’t even acknowledge that their child physically assaulted an elderly woman with a cane. I got to silently watch the entire scene as I impatiently waited for the child to listen to her shitty parents. I’m sure in 5 or 6 years that young girl will be a little piece of shit trying to fill public spaces with her vanity too. I think back on that moment and wish I would have done something. Like, apologize for the young girl who obviously didn’t realize that she wasn’t the center of attention. It’s not her fault that her parents are idiots. But one day it will be.


I don’t care how you correct their behavior- if you correct it. If you cannot stand to point out your child’s flaws, how are they ever going to know that they have any? You’re raising your kids to pose for pictures. You’re not raising them to apologize, show empathy, or even conduct themselves with respect for others. Take a step back, really think about the individual that your child is becoming. It’s a hard journey, becoming a parent. No one is perfect. But you cannot walk through life pretending that no one else is there. Put your camera down and be present.