A letter to my Judge

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!

Yours Sincerely,

Lindsay McLindsayson x

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Girl Gang – We is a sisterhood, innit?

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It has been 20 years since The Spice Girls released ‘Wannabe” (man I am old!) and I remember it well. Rumoured to have been written in just 20 minutes, it topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks, eventually becoming the best-selling single by a female group in the world, and selling over 7 million copies worldwide by the end of 1997. Wow.

The Spice Girls helped pave the way for us women ( I am not forgetting there were plenty of empowering, legendary women previously… but that’s a different story…). The Spice Girls were trailblazers of independence, assertiveness, ambition and sexuality. They knew the power of a sisterhood. They gave us Girl Power, and are the epitome of Girl Gang.

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I was part of a small clique whilst I was at school, back then I was the runt of the litter, adopted by a group of sassy girls after a few years of loneliness. They were my Girl Gang.

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We lived the 1990’s. We survived falling in a bog (you know who you are) on our Duke of Edinburgh Award, we sang our heart outs to Oasis and Pulp, and pretended we didn’t like Take That, we used fake ID’s to get into clubs (it’s rude to ask a lady her age!), and covered for each other with boys, parents and teachers! There was an unspoken agreement of support and unity. Despite spending all of the 1990s sat on a wall in the worlds tiniest mini skirts, we had each other’s backs.

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As an adult I’ve (without intent) formed a grown up Girl Gang. They don’t differ too much from the young girls I knew 2 decades ago. I’ve worked with them and lived with them, partied with them, cried with them, travelled with them and said goodbye to them. These women have supported me during relationship woes, carried me home drunk, carried me through the mud at Glastonbury (whilst 6 months pregnant) planned my hen party, been my bridesmaids, cooked me meals, ate my meals…. I’ve missed them and I’ve loved them. They keep me sane and focused, and wild and drunk (less so now I’m a mother-that would be irresponsible…) They do not all live in close proximity, and they are often busy but, I have them.

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I lost myself when I became a mum, I was lonely. I didn’t know how to combine my old life with this new one. Until now.

Last week I went for dinner with a group of mums in my local area. We are a local Facebook group, a Whatsapp group and a mum group. These women are beautiful and strong. I have gotten to know them in the last couple of years. Most of them are women I have met at coffee mornings and baby groups. They are all different. Some of us are women whose paths would never had crossed if we hadn’t become a mum at the same time. In some cases, it’s the only thing we have in common. As I sat there scoffing my face with pizza and red wine, listening to these women talk and laugh together, I looked around at these mums and I realised something. I am once again part of a girl gang.

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We can chat, or we can cry. Drink too much coffee, drink too much wine (hic!), talk about our husbands and our kids, talk about work or lack of it. We can bitch and vent, and laugh. Or we can simply just be (netflix and chill?). Sometimes theres a birthday or a playdate or a happy hour but always, its us, the Mum Gang.
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I am thankful for my Girl Gang . We are there for each other no matter what. Just like our 90’s sisters before us, we have each other’s back. ‘We is a sisterhood, innit?’ 🤘🏻

 

Lindsay x