Dear Moms: STOP Playing The Martyr! Love, Non-Parents

Mom Martyr

We get it, parents never get a day off. But non-parents NEVER get a day off from hearing about it.

Dear Moms,

First of all, I would sincerely like to thank you for doing the tireless and often thankless work of raising the next generation, and also for taking the time to share them with all of us. Just because some of us don’t have or desire to have children doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested or impressed with the hard work you do in raising tiny human beings every day.

How do we know it’s hard work? Because while parents never get a day off, non-parents never get a day off from hearing about how parents never get a day off. You tell us all the time about your long resume of “chef, maid, accountant, chauffeur, etc.” all done in yoga pants with messy hair, a wine/coffee IV and a disdain for laundry and dishes.

Now many of you write funny, loving and entertaining stories about motherhood — much like many moms did through a baby book and Polaroid pictures so many years ago — that I’m sure your children will appreciate when they get old enough to care. Reading about these parenting moments is great because it’s an authentic part of your life. And of course, non-parents understand that being a mom isn't always sunshine and rainbows; everyone has struggles and pains and complaining is a part of the human condition. (Not to mention, given the scope of social media these days, we're all given a platform to do it on a regular basis.) On those bad days, writing can be cathartic and liberating, and most of you write about those miserable days with respect, love and an understanding smile.

But then there are those who take it a bit far and trade in authenticity for Facebook likes and 15 minutes of Internet fame. Perhaps you saw someone else sharing a picture of their child in the middle of a temper tantrum or a messy house and the hundreds of “likes” that it got and thought you had to post one to compete, to prove that you, too work hard and deal with the pains of a petulant child and piles of laundry. Time for a shower? No way! Time to tweet about needing a shower? Of course!

Instead of coming across as authentic, your posts started to come across as exploitation at times, a collection of complaints that should probably be kept to yourself or at the very least, off the Internet for the whole world to see. Because while you love your children — that’s never in doubt — we don’t love hearing about or seeing posts that make them look spoiled, bratty or out of control. It’s not because we don’t want to support you, but rather because we don't want to cringe at what your children might think if they knew.

Imagine how you would feel if someone shared pictures of you during a particularly bad bout of PMS or in the middle of an argument with your husband. Imagine if I posted every day about how difficult my job was or shared pictures of coworkers having a really bad day. Would you be comfortable with that? As your friend, I want to be there and lend support when I can, but I don’t want to cringe at a photo depicting the dirtiest of your laundry (both in a literal and metaphorical sense) or serve as a cheerleader for you doing your job, an incredibly hard job that many of us non-parents will never know.

But please remember that your children are people who will grow up to read what you write. Maybe once in awhile just let them be kids without documenting things for the shares and the “likes.” In fact, keep some moments for yourself — and for them. And remove “mommy martyr” and “parental paparazzi” from your resume. It’s full enough already.


A non-mom who also prefers yoga pants and has a disdain for laundry and dishes


Explore YourTango