You will all hate this post. You’ll hate it because you will desperately, desperately want it to be not true. You will read it and say to yourself, “Well, I don’t think that’s right.” You’ll say, “I’m not like that,” but trust me, you are. You may not be like that a lot but sometimes, occasionally, you will find your open-minded, tactful, kind and non-judgemental self being a Mother-Judger.
Listen, I will put my hands up high in the air and say that I used to be pretty damn judgemental. I never verbalised it or bitched about it but, pre-baby, I would sit and look at other mothers (some of them were my freakin’ friends!) and I would judge what they were doing. I would think, “A dummy? Really? I’m never going to let my baby have a dummy.” (Fast-forward to me trying to shove a dummy into the mouth of my screaming 8-week old on a transatlantic flight in the vain and totally unfounded hope that it would shut her up so that at least someone on that flight could get some sleep. She spat it out incidentally but it didn’t stop me trying.)
I know, I know – I hate myself. I’m not proud of it and out of ALL the blogs, that last bit, right there, up above has been the hardest to write because I think to myself, “Where the hell was the sisterhood?”
To give myself some credit, I had no idea what being a mother was like and I totally underestimated the sheer superhero-ness of every, single mother and father alive. My whole world view changed as soon as I was on the other side but, and this isn’t entirely rhetorical, did it change completely?
Can I completely absolve myself and say from the deepest, darkest corner of my soul that I never judge another parent? I’m not sure I can (and I thought the bit before was the hardest thing to write) and I’m betting that, if you look into the deepest, darkest corners of your soul you can’t either.
Why? Going back to my earlier question…where the hell is the sisterhood? Why do we sometimes feel so competitive? So insecure in our own choices at times? Why does our inner-monologue occasionally shiver when we see a parent do the very thing we’ve vowed not to do? Why are we still looking at other mothers, other babies and comparing them to ourselves and our babies?
Honestly, I think it comes back to the main reason of why I write. Because we have forgotten that we are built to do this. We are so worried about whether we have read every book and every article on the internet that when we see someone else doing something different we inwardly panic that we are the ones doing it wrong. In our defence, we are so desperately trying to do it all right that even our judgemental attitude comes from a good place but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.
Yes, some parents will make different choices that you 100% don’t agree with but that doesn’t make them bad people. It also doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you doing a terrible job as a parent. Let’s have faith in our parenting choices, let’s have faith in other’s choices and let’s remember that at the end of the day, whatever we choose to do, we’re all clearing up piss, shit and sick; we’re all existing on three hours of sleep a week and we’re all trying to remember the last time we had a shower that lasted longer than 27 seconds.
Love the sisterhood.