You’re right. Someone is glaring at you. Someone is upset with the choices you have made or are making. Someone is whispering behind their hand and it might be about you. You’re right. There is a “they” and “they” are mad. They are mad if you are breastfeeding in public or past the age of one. They are mad if you are supplementing with formula or using a bottle or a pacifier. They raise their eyebrows if you are wearing your child in a wrap or sling or blanket or towel. They tsk to themselves if you choose a stroller instead. They think your child isn’t wearing enough clothing for the weather, or too much for the day. You’re spending too much money or not enough. They talk about whether your child is watching tv or using your phone or tablet. They are angry. They are angry if your child is crying for any reason ever, at all. They define you by the tantrums. Shrieking, even if in giggles, draw an army of disapproving eyebrows. If you have a child you are being judged at some point by someone, somewhere, all of the time.
They are mad. They are writing blogs and articles and conducting research to defend their point of view. They are not content just shaming you with their stern looks and their whispered remarks. They must take to the internet and spread their version of the truth. There are books to be written, interviews to be given. They are mad and they will be heard.
But not by you. They do not have to be heard by you, sweet mama. You who can decide to simply turn a deaf ear, a blind eye. Their fire seeks fuel, the response of one or many, but it doesn’t have to be fueled by you. You have a giggling, shrieking, crying, eating, nursing, drinking, sleeping, waking, walking, running, rolling, miniature and perfect individual, a human being born of your womb to direct your attentions to. You have an explorer in hand (or in carrier or stroller or seat or, or, or) who relies on you to be introduced fully into the world.
And that is the only “they” that matters.