shoes

There are two incontrovertible truths about parenting. First, people without children always seem to have plenty of advice on how to raise them. And second, buying shoes for growing kids is a massive pain. Leave it to social media to combine the two.

In a recent post on a private Facebook group called Aussie Banter, a woman who admits she doesn’t have kids yet (but plans to) unleashed a rant about parents who buy their children cheap shoes.

The screed was captured on Reddit and begins as an “open letter to mothers who shop at Kmart or other big chain stores for your child’s shoes.” The woman gets right to the point:

You lot disgust me and don’t deserve children and should not of (sic) had children. I see this everyday! Pathetic mummies sending their feral brats to school with no-name Kmart shoes and no consideration for your child’s feet.

And it’s all about consideration for other children’s feet:

It ruins their feet later in life because there is not proper support, and they’re synthetic, unbreathable crap, and that’s the final truth! It’s putrid and irresponsible if you can’t afford proper fitted shoes, you should be focused to do parenting and money management courses, instead of blowing all your money on crap.

Needless to say, she ends with the wisdom that comes from knowing she will not do the same when she (eventually) has children (because she loves them, naturally):

When I have a child, it will only have the best of everything because I will love and care for my child unlike you feral scabby excuses for parents, and I know how to manage money. Don’t like my rant, scroll on scummy mummies. No negative comments, thank you. Signing off, concerned future mum.

The comments on Reddit are dominated by parents more amused than angry about the rant from someone without kids.

“I always say I wish I was as good of a parent that I thought I was before I had kids,” one commenter wrote. “‘My kids will never…’ ‘They won’t even know what McDonald’s is.’ I think my minivan somehow breeds French fries.”

Another said, “My mom says, ‘People without children are experts in child rearing.’ Just so there’s no confusion, she means that sarcastically.”

It’s true that no one has more smug certainty about how to be a mom than someone who hasn’t done it yet, but what about her central point — that getting cheap shoes makes you a bad parent? In that case, you can drag me off to Mom Jail immediately.

I don’t mean to be mommier-than-thou. I know how annoying that can be. But unless you’ve had a kid who can — with no exaggeration — go up four sizes in a single year, you have no idea.

My oldest son is really tall. At 14, he’s something like 6-foot-3. And you know what they say about tall kids: “The child who towers over the others on the playground will, yea verily, force his parents into crippling debt if they insist on buying Jordans.” I think it might be an ancient Greek proverb.

Like the non-mom who penned the rant (though with less self-righteousness), I tried to buy my son nice shoes when he was little. Heck, I tried to buy him nice everything. Then two things happened: 1. We had more kids, and 2. He started going through clothes and shoes so quickly that I realized he barely wore them before he outgrew them.

When you know your kid will wear those flip-flops or snow boots for a grand total of three months, you start to realize that “the best of everything” is going to drive you to bankruptcy. This is why moms are constantly handing each other large bags of hand-me-downs in near-perfect condition.

As of now, my son wears a men’s size 17. When we go to buy him shoes, we have to go to that one dusty rack in the back of the store that only has old man slippers, a pair of work boots, and (if we’re lucky) a pair of reasonably cool sneakers that won’t require a second mortgage. I have no time for shoe snobbery.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not angry at the woman who suggested that all of us who buy cheap shoes are terrible parents. But I do hope that when she does have kids, they have enormous feet.

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