I’ll never forget the first time I got the “Look.” In fact, I was still in the hospital, recovering from having a human being cut out of my abdomen, when it happened. The nursing shift was changing and the new night nurse came in to give me some more of those magical pain pills (that I’m pretty sure are made from unicorn manes and the sneezes of a baby panda).
Nurse: “Aw, he’s adorable. What’s his name?”
Nurse: “…Wow, that’s…unique.”
Yeah. That “Look.”
If you currently have a child whose name would never be found in a 90’s movie about white cheerleaders and football players, you know which look I’m talking about. It’s a look that says “I am 100 percent judging you right now.” It’s a look that says “You are not fit to be a parent.” It’s a look that says “I also write letters to the corporate headquarters of Olive Garden when my meal takes more than eleven minutes to prepare.”
Yes, as the number of unique or unusual baby names has risen, so have attacks of Judgy McJudgerson face.
Not sure you’ve gotten the “Look?” I made this handy chart to help you out:
In my case, the “Look” is usually followed by one of the following two questions:
- You named him after a “Star Trek” character?
- So, I take it you’re a big fan of prisons then?
To which I usually respond with:
- Named after? Pffft. No. Inspired by? Maybe. I like beards. And the way he sits down is really cool.* I don’t know. Shut up.
- I’m about to find out (whips out hatchet).
*Seriously, he does sitting down better than anyone else. Someone even made a montage of it:
In my opinion, it’s none of your business what I name my kid. And vice versa. (Unless, of course, you’re the jag-off trying to name your kid Hitler…don’t be the jag-off who names your kid Hitler). But the Judgmental Name Game is actually a good thing, believe it or not. And that’s because it prepares you for what the next 18 years are going to be like. And by that, I mean every decision you make from here on out will be judged relentlessly by everyone.
If aliens landed and the very first thing they did was walk directly into a Starbucks and log onto the Internet, they would immediately come to the following two conclusions about our culture:
- We worship cats…but only in, like, a totally ironic way.
- Mothers are the worst thing on the planet.
The Internet is practically drowning in “news” articles and blogs about how much we, as a society, loath mothers. You can’t throw a mouse or swipe a finger these days without encountering a headline like:
Top 10 Moms We Hate
Top 10 Most Annoying Mothers
Top 10 Worst Moms At Your Playdate
Top 10 Reasons We Should Make Every Mom Feel Like Crap, Regardless Of What She Does
Top 10 Reasons We Should Burn All Moms At The Stake
There are so many “moms” that we aren’t supposed to be and we have narrowed the confines of what constitutes appropriate mom behavior so drastically that there is exactly only one mom in the universe that fits the bills anymore.
And we all write articles about how much we hate her.
And I’m over it.
Because some days I am the mom in the yoga pants (who has no intention of doing yoga) sitting at Starbucks. And you know why? Because I’m tired and have been up since 4 a.m. and don’t want to wear real pants because none of my real pants fit yet and my kid has been screaming for an hour and I thought a change of location might calm him down and then I might, just MIGHT get 15 minutes to sit down and try to get my newspaper column done so for once I actually get it in on deadline.
And some days I’m that mom who does have her makeup perfectly done and a nice outfit on because my baby actually gave me an extra seven minutes where he was happy in his crib and I just wanted to feel like a woman for once, instead of a puke-covered, crazy witch hair, milking cow.
And you might catch me being that mom who is looking at her phone instead of her kid for a few minutes. Or the mom annoying you by talking baby talk with my infant. And occasionally I’m that mom who cusses. And sometimes I’m the mom rolling her eyes because you are cussing in front of my kid. And sometimes I’m the mom posting way too many photos of my baby on social media. And sometimes I’m the mom who writes about drinking too much on social media.
Stop telling me I’m losing the baby weight too fast. Or asking me what my excuse is for not having six-pack abs yet.
And stop telling me I absolutely have to breastfeed, but just, God forbid, not in public. Or that I’m not properly sleep training my two-month-old. Or that I should be enjoying every. single. moment. of this time because it goes so fast.
And for the love of all that is holy, stop telling me the 44 things I should teach my son.
Being a mom is hard. Really, really hard.
So just get off our backs for a bit.
And go bug some dads or something.
So so true! Glad you said it
I totally relate to you and love reading your blog!!!!
I like Riker. But I’m under no obligation to hold back the face I make when I hear a mom call her sons Jayden and Cade. None.
Riker? Pffft. Sister. My daughter is 17 and I STILL get those geniuses who either misspell or mispronounce her name or give me that “look” — and they’re IN. MY. FAMILY. My mother insists on putting an “R” in my kid’s name. You’ve known her for a long time now. Is there an “R” in her first name? And don’t EVEN get me started on all the odd names in my family. I have 14 nieces and nephews and two great-nephews and the number of “normal” names I can count on one finger. I get the “look,” but I’ve learned to give one back: the “look” that says “Say something. I. Dare. You. I’m a mama/aunt on the edge and I will eat your face off and not even think twice about it.” Once you’ve mastered that look, no one will ever say anything to you again. I can see you some screenshots of my face if that will help. 🙂
Please do. 🙂
Wonderful, well stated. No matter how we parent we’ll always be wrong in someone’s eyes. All you can do is your best and watch them grow up and choose their own path.