We all do it we can’t help ourselves, we judge others and I for one have never hidden from this fact. I love to people watch, I could sit on a sun bed on the beach, mojito in hand and watch the world go by as I make, albeit harmless but snap and most likely incorrect judgements at unknowing strangers wandering past minding their own. I know, I have a pang of guilt as I wrote that, but I know I am not the only one. We all pass judgement on others like it or not. However since becoming mum there is one thing that has eaten away at me, made me feel inadequate and unsure about how I am parenting – judgey mums and below are just a small handful of topics that I have felt judged on over the last 18 months.
1. The original hot topic, breastfeeding. Damned if you do damned if you don’t. Judgey passers by scorn you for feeding your child in public leaving mums hiding on toilets to feed their children, which quite frankly is a disgrace, but they just want to evade the please stop feeding your child in front of me…under your top… your boob, that I can’t see, is offending me stares or worse comments. On the flip side, you pull out your powder and hot water and you can feel the disapproval from breastfeeding mums. I did both, breast and bottle with both my babies and I didn’t care much for the breast part **shocked gasps..sacrilege**. I found my feeding journey incredibly tough and I ended up expressing milk for both my babies, every three hours. It was a difficult time to say the least. When out and about feeding my breast milk through a bottle I convinced myself that people could tell it was breast milk..as if and when feeding formula I would jump at the chance to explain my story. WHY?! Who cares, feed your child how you want to feed your child and don’t feel judged for it, we are all doing our best for our children so lets leave it at that and leave your judgemental stares at the door.
2. Nursery. There is the ‘I won’t send my child to be looked after by people who won’t look after them as well as I do camp’ and the ‘I think nursery is good for them and their development…not mention a few hours to clean the house would be great’ camp. Whatever the camp pitch up a tent and reside happily in it, but mums, lets not judge our fellow mums for their choice, whether it is out of necessity or not. Neither is right nor wrong. If you and your child are happy and it works for you then what’s the issue? My little girl goes to nursery for a day and half a week, I am at home during this time with my baby boy on mat leave, so it is not strictly necessary. However, she really enjoys it, Toby gets some one on one time with mum and I have some time to do all the things I am too busy to do when they are both home. Yet I couldn’t help but feel reticent about admitting to my child being in nursery, when I am not at work because I felt judged about this choice. Why?! It cannot be right that the judgement of others over choices that work for our family make me feel that way. Agree or disagree with my choice, I don’t care just respect it as my choice.
3. Working. Go to work and you are the cold parent who doesn’t want to spend every available minute with their child, stay at home and your not teaching work ethic and taking the easy option. Being at home is not the easy option, trust me. I have worked harder in the last 18 months than I have done, through a law degree, law school and a career as a lawyer. My current job is 24 hours a day 7 days a week, no holiday no sick leave no spare 5 minutes to have a wee in peace – SAHM you have my utmost resect. Workings mums, you too, you battle rush hour, endure long hours on no sleep and come home and there is dinner, bath time and bed time to contend with and if you’re lucky a tantrum to boot. I am still on mat leave and haven’t made a decision about my future but whilst discussing it with someone and I mentioned the possibility of going back to work I was met with ‘so you’re going to choose your job over your kids then’. I felt pretty awful after that, is that how the world will see me? Am I bad person? A bad mother? Shame on you for making me feel that way and shame on you for being so closed minded to the needs and necessities of other mums. Have an opinion by all means, you are entitled to it but don’t use it to make others feel bad.
4. Weaning and pre made baby food. Oh my goodness did I feel full of shame when I pulled out my Ella’s kitchen pouches or shop bought fish pie to look around and see other babies tucking into lovingly blended organic fruit, or last nights separately made curry that was made without spice or salt. I obviously didn’t love my daughter enough to make her a separate dish. That or I was so busy feeding a newborn, making dinner, tidying the house or trying to stay awake long enough not to face plant said curry I simply opted for the easier option. It got us through the day during a difficult time and I am OK with that so mummy judgy pants if you’re not then that’s on you.
4. Sleep training, another uber divisive parenting topic. We are all obsessed with sleep and getting our children to sleep through the night and we all have different ways of getting through the night. Whether you advocate ‘controlled crying’, co-sleeping or nursing to sleep, whatever your method, that is up to you. You may not agree with another mums choice you may in fact fundamentally disagree with it but don’t berate another mum who is battling through sleepless nights at her wits end willing to try anything to get some sleep. The world will not end because mum and daughter share a bed, get over it.
Mummas, I could go on and on listing everything I felt (and probably have been) judged over since being a mum and I doubt I am the only one. Chances are we feel bad enough all by ourselves, we are loaded with mummy guilt and second guess our choices daily, what we don’t need is someone else doing the same to us. I am a big believer in ‘whatever gets you through the day (or night)’ and if its not your child and you’re not there you don’t get a say, well not a judgy dos and dont’s say at any rate. Considered, respected opinions are welcome, critical comments absolutely not. We’re all mummies and we all love our children and do our very best by them, so how about everyone sticks together and respects their fellow mums and how they parent and say hey well done you, you’re doing a fab job, you’re child is well fed, happy and healthy, and they’ll sleep through the night, eventually, promise.
So to all you mummas (and pappas) out there, big love and respect, keep going as you are – unless you’re judging other mums, stop that, its just not cool.