Parent Judging: Advice Guide for Experts on Other People’s Kids

Several weeks ago, I published an article about a woman who criticized my parenting at a Starbucks. To jog your memory, she stared at me with a petrified look of helpless horror normally reserved for kidnapping victims or people being eaten by fire ants. She might also have been the Starbucks Ambassador for Keeping Children off of Stools. (Stools, as you know, are a top cause of childhood mortality and maiming.)

Parent Judging: Why Is Everyone an Expert on Other People’s Kids?

I was sitting with my family in the little cafe area at Target. (Naturally.) My husband was waiting in line at Starbucks, and my four kids, miraculously, were sitting and/or playing quietly while I worked on my grocery list.

A mom and her two young boys were sitting at the table next to us, and at one point I looked up, caught her eye, and smiled. She did not smile back. That should’ve been my first clue that something was wrong with her.