Must We Judge?

Last week I felt myself being judged by another mother.

I wont go into the why and how but there was an implication about my priorities. My husband and I are very lucky that we live close to both sets of our parents who desperately love being involved in their grandchildren’s lives. We also have reasonably good sleepers and settlers which means we are able to take couple time whilst the grandparents babysit (and our children are beside themselves with excitement when Nana or Grandad comes to put them to bed!). We do this maybe once or twice a month. We do not sacrifice time with our children to go out drinking or partying. Last time we went out it was for my birthday, for dinner and we were home at 9.15pm.

When I met my husband it was a bit of a realisation for me. I had never believed that kind of love existed. When we got married and decided to try for a family, we promised ourselves that we would always make time for each other. We knew that children would become the centre of our world but we didn’t want it to become to such an extent that our world as a couple was completely dependent on them. We wanted to remember why we had children in the first place – because we are in love with each other because of each other, not because of our children.

Then we had children and we fell in love all over again; with our babies and with each other as parents. Our world revolves around our children. It is as sure as the Earth moves around the sun. But just as we don’t base every moment of every day on the position of the sun, what it’s doing and what it might do at bedtime tonight, we don’t base our entire life’s movements around the children. If we do this parenting thing right, our children will be all grown up and independent in eighteen years. They may have even left home. And then, we don’t want to sit down for dinner and realise we don’t have anything to talk about because for eighteen years we have centred every thought, every moment, every conversation on the children.

I have always felt like I need to explain myself when people judge me for my parenting (even if it’s just implied judgement!)

But I’m not going to do it anymore.

Because if anyone thinks I don’t love my children with every part of me, just because I go out for dinner with my husband sometimes, then they don’t understand me well enough to warrant my time. If they think I’m selfish because, for three hours, I’d like to put on a nice outfit which doesn’t have baby sick on the shoulder, eat food without having to feed a baby whilst I’m doing it and focus on my relationship with my husband, then I’m guilty of being selfish.

I don’t judge other mothers for doing things a bit different to me. If someone plans to stay in for two years to be there for their children every night at bedtime then I admire their commitment. If a mummy chooses to exclusively breastfeed, forgoing expressing and bottle feeding, then I’m totally blown away by their selflessness. If a parent chooses not to return to work to be a stay at home mum or dad, even if it means living with less and giving up some luxuries then I am (mostly jealous!) but also in awe of the patience and dedication they must have.

But just because I go out a couple of times a month, turned to bottle feeding (not so that I could go out but because I found it emotionally exhausting and I was heading for PND at the physiological demands I placed on myself because of it) and returned to work in favour of looking after my children 24/7, it does not mean I am any less committed or dedicated to loving my children. My children have shown me another love that I never knew existed.

So instead of criticising Jane next door because she went out on a hen do last night, and wondering if this means she doesn’t care for her child, let’s all worry about our children and focus on what Jane does for her children. Let’s recognise that she takes her little boy swimming every week and that, at three years old, he can already swim ten metres. Let’s remember that she took him on holiday to Italy where he heard different languages and tried new foods. Let’s reassure ourselves that she takes him to the park most days.

Let’s, as parents, build each other up for doing our best at a blooming difficult job. Let’s build each other up, not knock each other down. Because not often do people tell parents “you’re doing a wonderful job.” Maybe we should try and do it more.

Cuddle Fairy
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32 Comments

  1. So true. We each parent differently. I have already found that I'm questioned, as per my own post, about every single little thing, and I'm only 13 weeks new to this parenting business!! Am really enjoying reading your posts 🙂

  2. Oh some people can't control their jealousy and find it difficult to be happy for others. The best advice I ever had was that the best gift you can give your children is a happy parent. it sounds like you are not only doing a good job but a blooming brilliant one xx

  3. What a great reminder! I too am trying to avoid judging others, as it doesn't get me or anyone else anywhere! With my children, I want to build them up and not tear them down – because they deserve that! Thanks for sharing! #candidcuddles

  4. What a great post! And so true – I'm so over the judgement that comes from others around me. I want to build others up around me, which in turn makes me feel GOOD! I love that feeling 🙂 Thanks for sharing! #candidcuddles

  5. How incredibly inspiring! You're absolutely right. As parents, we need to support one another rather than judge. No two parenting styles or belief systems are completely alike. Yet we all love our children and work hard to do what's best for them. You deserve a nice evening out with your husband! I believe that doing so makes you a great mom because you're demonstrating what a healthy marriage looks like and also getting some relaxation time so you're ready to take on the next day with your children. Great post and quote! Thank you so much for linking up with #candidcuddles! 🙂

  6. I love this post!I haven't been judged for going out (I have been out without the baby once and my parents had her as they rarely see her due to me living so far away and we were only out two hours) but I do get judged for expressing milk and giving one bottle of formula a day as my boons started to get sore as she wanted feeding loads and I found that giving her one bottle allowed me to recover. Doing this means I can now breastfeed for longer as if I hadn't done this I would have just given up.
    I think every couple with kids and babies do need a little time to themselves as although having kids is an amazing thing and I love every minute of it it can be stressful and I know if we don't spend a very small amount of time without her then we will be under strain in our relationship and surely having a happy relationship and environment for a baby to grow up in is better than not having any time without the kids at all and being a little stressed out?
    Xxx

  7. Completely! We all do things differently but whatever we do it is with ourselves and our children at the forefront of our minds! I could learn a thing or two and get evening babysitters every now and then to have some us time! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  8. Everyone has their own idea of parenting. I check myself pretty quickly when I begin to judge and take a look at myself, because there are more things someone could be noticing about me. Yikes. And they would be right!

    Visiting from fortheloveto

    Sandi

  9. Parents do have a bad habit of talking negatively about each other – mostly the moms really lol It's not right to criticize another parent's style, everyone is different & so long as we all do the best we can & what' 's best for our children then there should be no judgement. Thanks so much for linking up with #candidcuddles

  10. There are few things worse than judgmental parents. There's nothing wrong with making time for yourself and each other, or bottle feeding, or pretty much anything you do that you feel is in the best interest of your family! We need to support other parents, not bring them down! #twinklytuesday

  11. Some people just love to judge others. It's bizarre and baffling, and I think underneath it might be due to feeling anxious about their own parenting skills. And I agree by the way that taking time out for yourself and to spend time on your marriage doesn't mean that you're a bad person — quite the opposite in fact. I suspect there might be a bit of jealousy going on there. #justanotherlinky

  12. Popping over from Just Another Linky (and I'll see you at candid cuddles I'm sure) =) Very well stated. I do not have children but know that all relationships need to be nurtured. Kudos to you for taking the time and not letting people get you down for it!

    Come share your crafts, DIY's, recipes & up-cycles at #2usestuesday (Mon PM to Fri PM) & your pinnable images at #Pinbellish (Fri AM to Tues AM) over at Sarah Celebrates if you don't already!

  13. Dear Jane, so sad that some folks have so much time on their hands. Just yesterday, I was thinking about how I don't have time to assess other people's parenting because I'm too busy trying to figure out this parenting gig for myself. I also find that we're often guilty of what we accuse others of, and as such, I'd rather focus trying to improve on the lack that I might perceive.

    Good on you not to feel the need to explain yourself. You don't owe the commenters an explanation for your parenting. You know your family needs and you know how you're working to meet them and make family life work for you, AND THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH!

    So lovely you've got grandparents so close by and so important that you and your husband continue to invest in your relationship. No one has children for children, but usually as an expression of love which many end up neglecting. Really, it's fab you continue to invest in your love, it can only lead to more love. 🙂 #CommentLuv

  14. It's crazy that people judge you for giving yourself a break, making you more relaxed and easing your pain which in turn meant you could breastfeed for longer! You are doing what's best for you and yours 🙂

  15. Absolutely – I had a friend who was 'told off' at a baby group for bottle feeding – by a woman who didn't know she'd had a mastectomy – I think the woman felt a bit of an idiot once she was told!

  16. Sometimes we go a few months without going out but then we realise we should have some time for us and we'll book a night at the theatre or something 🙂 It's so nice to properly reconnect

  17. I know – I think we all make snap judgements about people – but I'm trying to do it less – and I definitely don't voice judgements in a way which puts others down!

  18. I think you're right – a lot of other peoples judgement comes from jealousy – in all areas of life I think. If we remember that, hopefully it eases the pain of the judgement a bit!

  19. Ooh this sounds fab – I've only been at the blogging thing a month but am going to start branching out into different aspects – recipes, etc so I'll be sure to remember to pop on over 🙂

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