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Man Says He Married A 'Psycho' Because He Knew She'd Become A 'Cool Mom'

Photo: TikTok
Ashley Hartig TikTok

Ashley and Derek Hartig have over 1 million TikTok followers. According to their bio, they’re high school sweethearts, now in their twenties, “sharing it all” on social media. 

In one recent post, the young dad said he ‘married a psycho’ because he ‘knew she’d made a cool mom.’

Using the tag #momtok, Derek said “She’s been like this for 5 years,” while filming Ashley sitting in a booth at a restaurant with their son. She smiles widely for the camera, dancing and pumping her arms in the air, while their son does the same. 

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It appears that Ashley is joking around with her kid to entertain him while waiting for their meal to be served, an act that comes off more like a method of playful parenting than ‘psycho’ behavior.

Of the 2,028 comments, the majority of them praise Ashley for her vaguely dynamic approach to motherhood. 

“I don’t see a psycho, just a beautiful mom that needs to let her energy out and give inner child love,” commented one follower.

“You picked well,” said another. “We love fun moms,” commented someone else.

That women in general and moms, in particular, are consistently judged and labeled based on public perception of who they are is one damaging aspect of a society trying to keep women in certain rigidly defined boxes. Women are already highly scrutinized for their parenting; labeling them as crazy while they do so, even jokingly, can cause harm.

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Calling women 'psycho' sets a dangerous precedent of men defining women’s actions, and making moral judgment calls when they do. 

We live in a world where moms carry the majority of the mental and emotional load of parenting, even in households where fathers are present. According to a 2018 article by the Center for American Progress focusing on the unequal gendered division of labor, working mothers take on both paid labor and the “majority of unpaid household and care work.”

The article makes the claim that “most working mothers come home to a second shift of unpaid work that includes household labor and child care,” and that “working women and men do not have equal experiences when it comes to how they spend their time on paid and unpaid labor.”

The CAP report found that “when total time use is compared between mothers and fathers of young children, mothers spend more combined time working, doing household labor, and caring for children than fathers.” It's no secret that most mothers are the default parent, and moms who aren't the default have to actively work to make that true.

While Derek and Ashley are clearly just having fun on a night out with their kids, casually throwing around words like “psycho” to describe people’s behavior not only demeans women, it stigmatizes those combating mental health struggles. 

The narrative of calling women “cool moms” defines them solely by their parenthood, and holds them up to impossible standards, which is damaging to both parents and their children. The bar that moms are measured against is already set too high— let’s not force them into rigid definitions of how we think they should be. Let’s let moms be moms, and have that be enough.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. As a former postpartum doula, she covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.