When it comes to parenting, almost everyone will have something to say about the way you choose to raise your kids – from the food you feed them to the toys you buy them.
And it turns out they may also judge your parenting skills based on what you choose to wear during the school run, as one mum has recently found out.
Mum-of-three, Jodie Palmer, sparked a heated debate online after sharing a snap of her wearing her pyjamas while dropping her children off at school.
The 34-year-old from Swindon says she is proud to wear her PJs, but her post was flooded with comments shaming her for doing so, with some branding her “disgusting”, “dirty” and “lazy”.
Jodie has since hit back at those critics insisting wearing nightwear outside doesn’t make her a bad mum and claiming the only people who should be ashamed are those judging her.
The self-employed mum who has two jobs said: “Yes, I am pyjama mum and yes, I dropped my children at school in my pyjamas and unbrushed hair.
“I am not a bad mum because I wore my pyjamas – I wore my pyjamas because I’m trying to be a good one.”
Jodie explained that the photo was taken after a rough night with her one-year-old, she ended up waking up late and didn’t have enough time to get dressed.
“People might look at me and just assume I’m lazy or have no pride in myself or I’m a bad example to the kids,” she explained. “But I am the complete opposite. I had been up pretty much all night with my one-year-old son.
“I had less than a couple of hours broken sleep but I still got up, got my kids ready for school and got them to school on time.
“I just didn’t have time for me, but that’s ok because my priority is them, not how I look to strangers.”
She went on to say that making sure her children were washed, dressed, fed and presentable was more important than worrying about what she looked like.
“My priority is my children, I can sort myself later. They need to be washed, dressed, presentable and fed.
“It isn’t about what I look like that’s the last thing on my mind. I know people have said the kids will be embarrassed, they don’t notice, it’s grown adults that have a problem.
“Some of the comments were so unnecessary and so cruel. It doesn’t affect you so why do people feel the need to judge? People called me dirty.”
Jodie hopes people will try and be less judgemental in the future – as they never know what someone else is going through.
“The next time you see a mum in her pyjamas, why not smile at her instead of judging her because she is probably having a really hard time, but she has made sure her kids are at school and isn’t that what’s important?
“I want mums who might be struggling to know their best is good enough.”
Jodie says she was shocked by the negative reaction to her post, with some people calling her a “scummy mummy” and a “scrounger”.
“I was overwhelmed by the negative reactions but I am strong enough to shrug it off, my biggest concern is the mum who is barely holding it all together. What if someone made those comments about a mum who is struggling and it was the final straw?”
“I am self-employed, working two jobs as a children’s entertainer and I’m a leader with Avon but people automatically assume I’m on benefits and so what if I was? I was called a Universal Credit scummy mummy and a scrounger and it couldn’t be further from the truth but people are so quick to judge when it’s none of their business.
“Since when is being a full time mum something to be ashamed of and used as a critical comment online?”
Jodie stands by her decision to share the picture and added: “We all have bad days and I decided to post my photo because it shows other mums that it is ok to have bad days, we still put our kids first.
“We should be praising mums who are juggling more than ever these days. We should not be shaming mums who are just trying to do their best.”