You know, I'm bad with criticism, because I lack practice with it. I'm a people-pleaser, a good student, and extremely non-confrontational. I also shy away from things that are difficult or I'm bad at. I do all this, basically, to avoid criticism.
When required to describe me, my teenaged classmates could come up with nothing more interesting than basically "Not a bitch". Which felt like damning with faint praise, and even this mild comment sent me into a spiral of self-examination back then, when my skin was translucently thin, just like every other 15-year-old.
My skin's a bit thicker now, but I have also surrounded myself with people who are too nice, or too polite, to be mean to me (or, you know, tell me the truth if it's anything but flattering). So dealing with criticism doesn't really come up often, except when I am so silly as to put myself on the Internet where total strangers can tell me whatever they like, working with whatever small subset of relevant information I may have provided to come to possibly erroneous conclusions.
If my blog had a bigger readership maybe people would pop up here to tell me that I'm crazy or terrible or a bad person, but I think for the most part, readers of blogs like this one are a pretty self-selecting lot: if they don't like it, they don't read it, and they certainly don't bother to comment. It takes a certain type of hater with a lot of time on their hands to read a blog they hate just to make nasty comments.
So when I read what someone said today, my first instinct was to get on the defensive. But you don't understand ... you don't know ... you haven't even met me so you are unaware of what a nice person I am ... let me give you more information. Also, to convince myself that the critic has vastly different views on parenting from mine (possibly true) and that they're an idiot anyway (probably not true, but I am as much as stranger to them as they are to me, so who knows).
Then I took a few hours to let it rattle around my head. It's still rattling, to be honest. Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up with my faith in myself and my processes restored; it's not that I think I'm the most fantastickest parent on the block, or that my kids are the most perfect humans ever produced, but most of the time I'm pretty happy with the way things are going along, and willing to overlook my small defects in the areas of keeping floors clean and serving vegetables at every meal (for instance). (Those were not things that were criticized by the critic, but maybe they would have been had I provided that information.)
Mostly I have faith in my children's genes, which are good ones from good people, to triumph over the day-to-day foibles of their minder; and in my own intentions, which are for the best.
It's a little too easy, with fingers bouncing on keyboard, to say things you'd never say to a stranger standing in front of you, without taking the time to make them a little more palatable by coating them in manners and prevarication and the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes that makes the Internet a refreshingly frank place to be, but mostly it just hurts people's feelings and makes them less receptive to whatever it was you were trying to tell them.
So there. I've taken my criticism and turned it right back around. Hah. It's much easier to give it out than take it.