I judge other parents. Frequently.
The author states:
I do care that you feel that you can reach out to your fellow mothers without judgment or shame.
I do care that you feel supported.
As a mother TO a mother, I SUPPORT you 100%.
Seriously, because anything less just sucks.
Kick judgment in the ass.
Just support each other.
While the sentiment is lovely, the reality is that, no matter what we say, we ALL judge. Where I differ in opinion from the author (I think) and from other people who are against judging, is that I think that being judged, or even the perception that you are being judged, actually makes you a better parent.
I am going to break this down. Often for some people simply saying “I breastfeed” leads someone who does not breastfeed to feed judged. On the other hand, “my kid sleeps all night in a crib with no night wakings” may lead to a cosleeping mother with a child who wakes several times, to feel judged. I cannot say for sure what the intention of the speaker is, but sometimes, often innocuous statements, make us think – “hmmm, she seems to really like breastfeeding, maybe I’ll look into it with my second”, or, “why do I feel bad when people talk about breastfeeding and what can I do about it”?, or “I am happy with my decision to formula feed and I’m happy that she has a good breastfeeding relationship”.
My kids often watch too much TV or eat too much junk and when I hear “my kids only play with organic wooden toys and eat raw food grown from our garden”, I have a tendency to cringe, but when I examine my feelings, often, it’s because I don’t want my kids to watch too much TV or eat too much junk. In fact, due to things I’ve read and people I have spoken to, things that could be perceived as judgments, my kids do not watch TV during the week, and junk food is limited to special treats.
I would hope that if I am doing something not so good, that my friends can point it out to me. I may accept what they say and look into it, and I may continue what I am doing because I believe in what I am doing. Conversely, I hope my friends know that any judgment they may perceive from me comes from a place of concern.
Life happens and I get that we all make different decisions and we can’t always go back, but we can go forward, armed with new information and new research and new perspectives. I used a stroller with my first and not with my second. I don’t care if people use a stroller, but if asked or if in discussion, I will share my experiences. Same goes with other things.
I have no doubt that there are people out there who love to say “you are a bad parent because”, but I like to believe that those people are few and far between. Often we are on the receiving end of some judgement from someone who is likely well meaning but perhaps ignorant to our situation. If we are strong in our beliefs, then the judgement will roll off of us. If we are not strong, maybe it will cause us to think.
For me, the simple fact remains that I do not support people 100%, “as a mother to a mother”. Abuse, etc, aside, I don’t agree with many things like CIO, or spanking, and while I may not overtly tell someone, I will not support, and will attempt to gently suggest that they try something else.
Judging and being judged isn’t always a bad thing. It keeps us on our toes, makes us think and research and often reminds us of why we made our decisions in the first place.