Dear Judgy McJudgyson, if that’s even your real name…?
Why do you do it? Silently judging parents and how they parent, particularly if they parent differently from you. Does it come from your own insecurity? Are other parents’ methods making you question your own methods? No one wants to think they’re not doing right by their child. You are having doubts. In this competitive sport that parenting has become, your way is the only way.
However, your silent judging isn’t so silent anymore. I can hear you.
You’re staring at me. You’re pointing and whispering-“I can’t believe she’s doing that” saying that/allowing that” Well listen up Judgy McJudgyson, so what if I am?!
Somehow every parenting decision I have ever made is fair game for criticism: Did I find out the sex? What kind of birth did I have?, Does my child have his own room? Am I going to breastfeed?, Why am I still breastfeeding? Do I allow my child to watch TV?, Is he still in nappies? Oh.My.Effing.God!, Are you going out? Without him?
“Oh” you say, “I’m not doing that” (eye roll). Why do you care whether or not my child watches CBeebies 12 hours a day, eats ice cream for dinner or spends most of the night cuddled up in my bed instead of his own?
Do you know what’s really helpful? I am cramming my heart and soul into raising my son, struggling with a myriad of everyday, normal woes, financial, health, work -whatever – when I am judged by you. Super mum, who arrogantly knows just what to do. It’s amazing. And oh so welcome. Because that’s what I need: a kick in the teeth by someone who’s got this mothering thing in the bag.
Your judging has sadly become part of my mum culture. I try to keep my opinions to myself, my own mum taught me if I’ve nothing nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all. And this is (mostly) how I live. I remove myself from the situation. I do not need your opinions and I do not need you.
I know I’m never going to stop noticing how other mums do their thing and wondering how my own choices stack up. I think it’s fine to notice. It’s fine to discuss our differences. Whatever works-right? I know I’m not like you. I hope I’m not like you. I never want to make any mum or parent feel the way you make me feel.
We are supposed to share our war stories with each other. Offer a hand, an ear or a cup of tea. I’m on an island and I can’t swim, for fucks sake pass me a fucking life belt!
It’s become the norm to mercilessly judge our fellow parents, yet behind closed doors we share the same worries and angst. We should be mindful of each other’s feelings. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten, that we’re all on the same team. What’s that African proverb….? Oh yes, It takes an entire village to raise a child.
Well listen up Judgy McJudgyson, you can roll your eyes at me and point your finger all you like but you and I are the same. We are mums and we need each other, so Mum the fuck up and join this village!
Lindsay McLindsayson x