A pediatric nurse practitioner posted about a rude response she gets to a certain parenting question and shows us we need to be more respectful of other parents' choices.

By Zara Hanawalt
July 22, 2021
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An image of a woman holding a megaphone.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

In today's installment of "why can't we all just be more respectful of people's parenting decisions even when they don't quite look like our own?" we present to you the story of a pediatric nurse practitioner who loves their job, but is less than thrilled with some of the rude comments they encounter while doing it.

The NP penned a Reddit thread to discuss one particular breed of rude comments, and it's hitting on a larger point here: not every family's situation looks the same, what works for one family might not necessarily work for another, and the best thing we can do is be mindful of that. For example, if sending your kids to daycare doesn't seem right for your family? Well, that's totally fine—as long as you keep in mind that for some parents, that's the right option.

Unfortunately, not everyone got the memo that slamming this particular parenting choice is just not okay. Back to that Reddit thread from the NP, a parent who has chosen to send their daughter to daycare (and is very happy with that choice). "What really irks me is when I ask a parent in the office if their child goes to daycare (need to know infection risk, will they need a note, etc) and they respond with 'oh god no,'" the NP writes. "And sometimes it's followed with a whole monologue about the ills of daycare. I want to be like, who do you think is watching MY kid while I'm here taking care of yours?' It's just rude."

The original poster is correct: It is rude. Not to mention incredibly tone deaf. For many parents, daycare is the only child care option (hiring a nanny isn't always feasible, nor is staying home and giving up an income). Of course, there are also parents who can't afford the sometimes staggering costs of daycare either. Despite this, judgmental thinking where child care arrangements are concerned persist.

Of course, parents who choose to send their kids to daycare are not the only ones who feel shamed for their choices. I did not work for the first five months of my twins' life, and the judgment I received when I explained that I had quit the job I had in my pre-baby life was real. And friends of mine who employ nannies also get side-eyed for what is often seen as a luxurious or privileged setup.

Whether you stay home with your kids, send them to daycare, use a nanny, or enlist family members to step in and provide child care, all that matters is that you are comfortable (financially, emotionally, and otherwise) with your setup. Because as a few commenters point out, there's no perfect solution, and there are pros and cons to every scenario.

"My almost 2 year old went to a speech therapist for an eval and they asked if he went to daycare and when I said yes they were thrilled because they said daycare is better for developing speech," one commenter writes. "So there's pros and cons to both. Some kids who stay home until school have a really hard time transitioning. But being able to be home with your child is precious time that you can never get back. Both are good options. The shaming helps no one."

Another adds that this sort of unconscious shaming exists within friend circles as well. "My friends are supportive of me working, but they are either SAHMs or work part time with family to watch their kids," she shares. "[In] our group texts sometimes they start talking about how they can't imagine trusting someone who is not family with their kids, not being with them 24/7, or complaining about private school costs (our daycare costs more than private school and it's not a high end daycare, they are just in a small town with lower costs). I usually check out during these conversations because they hurt. My daughter has been in daycare since 10 weeks old. It's been great and I love her school and friends, but being one of the few moms in my group who works full time, it sucks hearing the comments."

Another commenter adds: "This is all interesting to me. My wife is a SAHM. Everyone we talk to about it kinda looks at us like we're robbing our children of many things. They usually say they like daycare for the education and socialization or something to that end."

Again, once you become a parent, sometimes it feels like you. Can. Not. Win.

The good news? Several other comments here prove we can all coexist and even be supportive of parenting choices that don't resemble our own (imagine that!).

Take this one: "I see no reason to remark on other families for using daycare or being stay at home parents—we are all trying to do the best things for our kids. Mom/parenting wars seriously suck," the commenter writes. "Also, I'm on notice to be more sensitive at my pediatric appointments now lol I don't think I've said anything remotely offensive but I'm definitely going to be more aware that aggressive mom opinions aren't cool lol."

Amen to that!