As parents we are being judged.
By neighbors. Family members. Friends. Other parents. By-passers. Those auld ones who raised their kids like 100 years ago and think they know all the answers. And people who don’t have kids of their own.
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone feels the need to give their two cents either verbally or with the side eye dagger. And frankly, it’s getting a bit old.
All of the above have different ways of judging. The quiet kind is the one that gets me the most. On second thoughts, I detest the outspoken one just as much.
The quiet judgers think they are smug not realizing that their judgment is so very obvious. The outspoken ones seem to feel they have more expertise and knowledge and force their opinions upon you. Sorry, I don’t remember asking for your opinion, but keep talking while I take notes.
(Did I miss the memo that everyone has suddenly become a parenting expert?)
Stop with the side eye for a second, will you, and listen. I wasn’t born a parent. I got thrown into this at the deep end and I am skidding through this parenting thing sideways.
I am not perfect. I don’t claim to be. I am doing the very best with the knowledge I have and the tools I’ve acquired.
Parenting isn’t black and white; there is no clear right and wrong way. Parenting is organic and what is right for one family or child is not necessarily right for another. Parenting is very much based on trial and error as well as the parents’ set of beliefs. Different people have different beliefs. No brainer, right?
Parenting is personal. It’s emotional.
My parenting style and decisions are dictated by a number of things like personal beliefs, my own upbringing, research, emotions, values, gut feeling and by my children. What works for one child may not work for the next. Knowing the ultimate effect my parenting will have on my kids is impossible. Give it 20 years or so.
I do, however, believe that I know my kids best. I work within those given parameters and ride the waves of parenting with an adaptable, open mind. I try to be a good mom. My motivation is love. That’s all I’ve got.
I know when I’m being judged. It stings. The judgers only see a snapshot of my parenting or my kids, or an interaction that is missing context. I am parenting 24/7 with 4 little ones running circles around me, all of them at different stages in their development with different demands, challenges, and different temperaments. I encounter many judge-worthy situations. Some smaller; some bigger. And I pick my battles wisely.
Contrary to common belief, motherhood isn’t wonderful all of the time. *Dramatic Pause*
Some days are shit. *Dramatic Pause*
And it’s bloody hard. I am constantly questioning myself and my choices. Sometimes I am too strict; sometimes not strict enough. Sometimes I give in. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I am inconsistent. Sometimes I make wrong choices and learn for the next time. Every day is trial and error. Every day is a learning curve. Every day I grow in love, patience and compassion. Everyday I try to keep myself in check.
In our home we foster a secure, warm attachment with them so they know their needs will be met and they have a place to go for comfort. They know they are loved. I show up for this gig every day, with open arms and a heart full of love. I give a shit. And not being perfect in the judgers’ eyes doesn’t make me a bad parent. Parent guilt is a bitch as it is without the judgment. There is enough stress in parenting without letting judgment add to it.
The next time you are obliged to judge and want to give me THAT look, stop yourself. Just stop it. And give me some credit instead. What I need is compassion, understanding and support. Give me a pat on the shoulder and don’t judge me for the things that don’t matter.