5 ways to take parenting criticism in stride

Whether face-to-face or behind a screen, here’s how to deal with judgment from other parents. 

5 ways to take parenting criticism in stride

As a new mother, it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. When I was

pregnant, I remember browsing through mommy forums that were filled with

concerns about developmental milestones, requests for help with disciplining, product suggestions,

and, yes, judgment from other parents.

The last thing a new mama wants as

she is picking up the countless new skills needed to succeed as a parent is

judgment from other mothers. Yet, criticism and disapproval seem to be some of

the easiest things for mothers to stumble across these days, whether others are

dishing it out face-to-face or from behind a computer screen.


When new mamas seek out advice

(and even when they don’t), positive and re-affirming counsel is often

overshadowed by hurtful remarks that can leave a lasting sting.

Of course, disagreements

among parents are natural. That is how we grow and learn as adults. However,

constructive techniques for asserting parenting opinions are often overlooked

for more negative tactics.

When giving (and receiving)

advice from other parents, it’s important to keep in mind that parenting values

vary from culture to culture and from family to family. As long as our children’s

well-being is kept in mind, there’s no right or wrong way to handle the many

challenges we mamas face on a daily basis.

Do some parenting practices have

better outcomes than others? Sure. But, there is usually an interaction between

parents’ strategies and their individual children.

For instance, guidelines

from the AAP recommend breastmilk for promoting optimal nutrition in infants.

But it is important to remember that these guidelines are based on averages.


some cases, children may have allergies to compounds found in breastmilk or may

need more than a mother is able to produce. In other cases, breastfeeding may

negatively impact the mother-child relationship by placing excessive strain on

the mother.

For some reason, though, having a

new baby seems to give others carte blanche on offering up unsolicited opinions,

judgment, and criticism...even when they aren’t familiar with our unique little

ones. The next time you find yourself in the midst of an unwanted critique,

refrain from putting your fingers in your ears and singing La La La! Instead,

try a few of these tips to combat the pressure!

There’s no such thing as a “Super Mama.”

Before you start to believe that you are doing everything wrong for your

child, remind

yourself that there is no such thing as a “perfect” parent.

Many of us strive for perfection, but as long as we are just trying our best to promote happy and healthy children, no one can

ask for more—and neither should you.

Put your foot down when you need to.

When someone is pushy with their

suggestions, politely draw a boundary and let

them know that you’re using the method that works best for you and your family.

“I appreciate the

suggestion. I’m so glad that baby-led weaning is working for your family. My

child really enjoys purees.”

It can be hard to stand up for your

choices as a mother, but it also feels sooooo good to assert your beliefs when

you feel the need.

This is a

two-sided coin. If you have a different parenting technique from another mama, try

to remember that the method that works so well for your little one may not work

for another child.

If raising children was black and white, things might be a

lot easier for parents...but they certainly wouldn’t be as interesting.

Talk it out.

Find someone to confide in that can relate to your concerns. It could be your partner,

friend, or a family member you trust.

Sometimes venting our parenting

frustrations to supportive loved ones can remind us that we are doing the best

we can and that we aren’t alone in our struggles as new mothers.

Keep an open mind.

If someone is kindly sharing their

thoughts or advice on parenting (even if you don’t agree), be cognizant

that their input is most

likely well-intentioned.

Especially when parents have children who are older

than yours, you might be surprised at how often you find yourself later

following the advice you once scoffed at.

Our own plans for how we will raise

our children can change drastically as our tots (and our parenting philosophy)


Don't take it personally.

In any domain, be it parenting or otherwise, if

someone is unduly harsh in expressing their opinion, the most important thing to

remember is that it is likely more about them

than you.

Parenting choices are personal, so it can be hard not to take

criticism personally. But, if it riles you up, take a step back to calm down

before responding.

Better yet, take the high road and simply don’t respond at all!

No one

knows your situation as well as


and there is no need to explain

your parenting decisions to others.

No one has

all the answers. But, keep an open mind (and an open ear) and you might just

pick up a few useful solutions that will help you reach your parenting goals.

You may even pick up a few tidbits to share with other curious mothers along

your journey.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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