You step one minute into Mommy world and you can’t help but get criticized. From the lactation consultant at birth to the mommy cliques on the playground, you can’t escape it.

I’ve gotten my fair share of criticism, from loved ones to perfect strangers. It’s pretty remarkable. Like: “You’re harsh,” “Your decisions are selfish—you do what’s best for you, not your kids,” “You’re depriving your kids of key opportunities at a critical time in their development,” “You run a dictatorship…your kids need more freedom!” “You aren’t teaching them enough…or the right things,” “Your kids are misbehaved/out of control/difficult in some way…” “You shouldn’t discipline them the way you do,” “If you loved your kids, you’d ___ (something different than what I’m doing),” “You shouldn’t have a job; you should be at home with your kids,” and, with respect to me still working– “Why did you get pregnant if you weren’t ready to be a mom?”

I’ve got several responses to people who offer such criticism… can I say at the outset that it’s wise to at least listen to it?  I’ve received several helpful tips and even changed some of my parenting skills simply by asking follow-up questions when someone levels criticism. If there’s something constructive there, then why not use it? It just makes me a better parent.

But when there’s nothing constructive there…well, here are some responses to these endless arrows of criticism. Some of them I’ve used, and some of them I’ve just thought…

10.       I am rubber you are glue, what bounces off me sticks to you… In other words, WHATEVER.

9.         Yeah? You should see them when they’re on sugar highs…

8.         You  might not have realized this, but that pride you’re wearing doesn’t look good on you…

7.         You might not like it, but I’ve got a 20 year plan here. Let’s revisit this in 20 years and see how it worked out.

6.         I love them too much not to discipline them. (And once they stop doing stupid things, I’ll stop disciplining them!)

5.         It’s a good thing that it’s okay to make mistakes in our family.

4.         I also wish some of our life situations were different. It’s not ideal, but this is the best of the possible alternatives for right now.

3.         One of my top objectives is that I *like* my kids, not just love them. And I *really* like them. Which is more than what you—or anyone, really—can say about *your* kids…

2.         Oh finally! I’ve been waiting for someone to catch me! They never should’ve let me leave the hospital with these things!

1.         Wow…I’d totally take that to heart…if I wasn’t RIGHT. Need proof? Exhibit A: my awesome kids.