Sorry, I’m Not Sorry

I’m Lindsay. I’m these boys’ mom.

I’m a bad mom.

In full disclosure I’m also the CMO at Jiobit, where we’re building a tiny location tracking wearable to help parents keep track of their kids. I joined this startup after the founder (friend and former colleague) told me about how he lost track of his 6-year-old son at a crowded city park for 30 minutes. As a mom and stepmom of 4 boys (ages 1, 3, 11, and 13) I could relate immediately. When he explained his idea to build a solution to a problem we both had, I was in.

So why am I a bad mom? Because turning to technology to help solve a parenting issue makes me lazy. It means I have no control over my kids behavior and am too distracted to parent them. In fact, it means I have no business being a parent at all.

At least, that’s what some of the comments on the Facebook ads we’ve run would leave me to believe.

My two youngest kids messy, misbehaving, and out of control. Probably due to my bad parenting.

Parenting shaming is real.

Every parent will face it. The internet provides the perfect curtain for shamers and trolls to hide behind as they attack and judge. In response to our introduction of a product that can tell me if my child wandered off or if they arrived home safe after school, the shamers pounced. Here are a few things they had to say…

Technically you could say that we asked for these comments by paying to reach a large audience on social media. In other words, we paid to be shamed and criticized. I acknowledge that. And while I do believe we’re all entitled to our own opinions I feel that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Here’s an example of what I mean…

Sometimes it’s hard to bite your tongue.

Marketing 101 would probably teach you not to engage with these types of comments but, as a mom, I felt compelled to smack it down. As I thought more about it, however, I actually felt bad. I don’t think parent shaming happens because people are mean. I believe it’s a result of our own insecurities and frustrations because, as we all know, being a parent is the hardest job in the world.

This is my not-so-perfect son refusing to smile during a photoshoot we paid hundreds of dollars for. I can’t even pay for perfect!

Parenting is hard and sometimes even sucks.

Even though Facebook feeds might suggest otherwise, I know that my husband and I can’t be the only parents living through toddler tantrums, unsuccessful potty training, and sleepless nights. We aren’t the only ones batting with middle schoolers to express gratitude, accept technology limits, and keep eye rolls to a minimum.

And yes, sometimes parenting sucks. Especially when I worry that I’ve screwed something up or that something bad may happen to one of my kids. My goal is not to screw up and minimize any risk of something bad happening.

That’s why I’m all for using technology or any other shortcut to help make my job a little easier. Not because I’m a bad mom.

There’s so much pressure to raise perfect, well-behaved, respectful children that we feel the need to defend and justify our own decisions, even at the expense of other well-intended parents. I’ve been guilty of it myself but I can tell you that the second I’ve said something like “My kid would never wander off” is the second I find myself crawling around Target looking under clothing racks.

Behind every parent’s decision is a good intention.

We should all remember this. Who are we to shame or judge a parent who’s doing what he or she believes is best? Instead, we should embrace and support one another through this journey. If we can do this, perhaps we can get to place where we’re making decisions based on what’s best for our families; and not based on what others might think of us.

I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Have you had an experience with parent shaming? Do you have any parent hacks you’d like to share? If so, please comment below, or reach out to me at lindsay@jiobit.com. I’d love to hear from you.