Judging — we all do it, you do it, your sister does it, your best friend does it, your mom did it and so did your grandma.
Some of us may do it more than others and some of us may do it quietly and to ourselves.
In this digital age the concept of Mommy Wars is real, and it can be real nasty too. I’m not sure if it is because we all put what it is we are doing with our families out there making it easier for people to pass their judgement or if the ease of anonymity makes being nasty and judgemental too simple.
Being a mommy is hard enough. Please, support each other, don’t judge and react negatively.
We all make our choices for a reason, we think it is best for our family. Things like how you choose to feed your children — formula, breast milk or a combination of the two. Or later on, jarred baby food, organic jarred baby food, homemade baby food or the new to me Baby Led Weaning concept.
It’s like I’m parenting, like we all are really, in a fish bowl. When my mom had my sister and me I don’t think anyone knew or cared how she fed us. Public parenting was only something that happened in public places like the park or a grocery store. Now it happens 24/7 via the internet.
I know we all make those public parenting choices, but it is what EVERYONE is doing. I blog about parenting here. I share stories and pictures on Facebook to help family and friends spread out around the world keep up with me and my family. I interact in online parenting/natural living blogs and sites.
Most moms tirelessly research what it is that they decide is both best for baby and works for the family. In my house, I nursed Miles but supplemented with formula up to nine months when we went to formula only. And at six months we started adding homemade baby food made from a mix of organic and non-organic fruits, veggies, beans and chicken.
It wasn’t as if my Facebook status read: breastfeeding and supplementing but I’m sure those things came up in conversation either online or in person. And there were times that I turned to online support groups for advice on my feeding journey with my son. Many times though, instead of receiving comfort and support I received judgement.
“Why aren’t you exclusively breastfeeding your child? Breast is best!” “You should try relactating!” “Why are you going back to work so quickly, that is damaging your breastfeeding relationship!”
And I know the judgement goes both ways. I’m sure there are judgemental comments made by the formula feeding community to those breastfeeding. I’ve certainly seen much said about those nursing in public or nursing beyond a year.
Can’t we all as moms just say, “Maybe that choice isn’t what I did for my baby, but the ultimate goal is for a happy and healthy baby and mom. If that comes through breast milk, great. If it is formula, that’s fine too.”
And this topic isn’t the only one to create sharp divides in the mommy world — there’s attachment parenting, baby wearing, crying it out, co-sleeping, Tylenol, vaccines, the list goes on and on. And these are just the baby things. I’m venturing into toddlerhood and beyond and I know the mommy judging doesn’t stop at 1 or 2. There’s the issue of public versus private versus homeschooling; whole foods or Kraft Mac-n-Cheese… You get the picture.
But again, we all do it. We all judge. I’m thinking “judge” isn’t the right word for it; there is such a negative connotation to that word, as there should be. But I can’t think of an acceptable substitute for “it’s OK to not agree with the other person’s choice and to think yours is better but it is not OK to have that feeling affect your feeling about the other person.”
The adage, “agree to disagree” is perfect here.
Remember, we are all walking the tireless and at times so difficult journey of mommyhood (or daddyhood) so let’s give love and support, not judgement and contempt.
What parenting choices have you made that you felt were judged harshly? How did you deal with those?