David Beckham has it all. He's a superhero with a soccer ball. He has a successful, devoted wife and four kids who probably worship him. But even he isn't immune to criticism about his abilities as a dad.
The UK tabloid Daily Mail took offence to the fact that the Beckham's four-year-old daughter, Harper, was using a pacifier or "dummy" as it's known in England.
"Why does Harper, four, still use a dummy?" That was the actual headline. The paper went on to cite "experts" warning of the dangers - speech and dental problems - of Harper's habit if she continued to use the pacifier. Not so between the lines the Mail implicitly blamed her parents for complicity allowing her to continue this nasty habit.
Beckham probably has pretty thick skin underneath all those tattoos, but even he couldn't help reacting to the Mail's onslaught.
"Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts?" wrote Beckham to his 10 million Instagram followers.
"Everybody who has children knows that when they aren't feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it's a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people's children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent..."
This story reminded me that the best parents in existence right now aren't actual parents. In case you don't know: the path of parenting is paved with good intentions. Before you have kids of your own, you swear blind you'll never do (a) and you most definitely will do (b) when you have kids.
Then - bam! - an actual living creature is shoved into your arms, and from that point on, every minute of every day is concerned with picking your battles and trying to raise the best little human you can as you muddle your way through the day until you finally crash on the couch.
Parenting is not an exact science. It's nuanced and it's spectacular and it's messy. David Beckham, you are so precisely right. So who looks like the dummy now?