Monday, 4 March 2013

Judgmental Moms

Do I come across as judgmental? Do personal opinions equal judgements against others? I don't think so.

Home from our annual trip to Disney World last week, all warm and fuzzy and full of love and stocked up on another year's worth of happy family vacation memories, comfy cozy in our own home and our own beds and trying to settle back into the routine of real life for another year I sat down last night to attack my inbox - a disaster, despite letting all employees, employers, contractors and subcontractors know where I was and how to reach me and arranging for coverage while I was away. And then, having tackled all work-related crises and non-crises and checked in with family for a back-in-town hello, I got to the non-urgent stuff.

Including an email from a blog reader - which, a half-dozen reads in, I'm still seething about.

The writer was a fellow mommy-blogger letting me know that she's a fan and that she thinks I'm doing a wonderful job raising my kids. It was meant to be encouraging, it was meant to show solidarity, it was meant to let me know she agrees with my parenting methods, congratulating me on doing everything right. BUT. It was also full of smug, sanctimonious, self-righteous judgement of other parents - implying that by doing things differently, they're doing it wrong.

I can't agree with that. I think we're all doing it right.

We're all doing the absolute best we can with what we have to work with. Single parents, at-home moms, working parents, breast or bottle, daycare or nanny, spanking or time-outs, meat-and-potatoes or organic plant-based diet, piano lessons and soccer and swimming and sunny southern vacations or public transit to the public park - we are all doing the best we can as parents. There is no right way to do it. There are no right answers to all those parenting questions. We do the best we can. We figure it out as we go.

We have wonderful mornings of fun with our kids at the park, and afternoons when we lose it and snap on them and scream at the top of our lungs because they will not stop whining; cozy hours curled up with board games and cards and heart-to-hearts, and moments when we would cheerfully strangle someone for five fucking minutes alone; bedtime stories and snuggles when we feel like our hearts will actually explode with love, and long nights spent staring at the ceiling in tears, wracked with guilt because we're doing everything wrong.

I have my own opinions about what I think is the right way to do this parenting thing. For me. I don't for a moment suppose that what I think is right for me is necessarily right for everyone else, or even anyone else. I share my parenting opinions and experiences on this mommy blog because I have opinions and experiences, and sharing them is an outlet for me. It's from the vast pool of different parenting options and opinions and experiences shared online and in magazines and at mommy playgroups that we expand our viewpoints and refine the choices we make as parents. I blog about my choices simply to throw my two cents into the mix.

I would never presume to judge another parent for the choices they make. Frankly, I couldn't care less what kinds of choices anyone else makes - nor do I have time, between work, family, kids, school and sports to put much thought into it. Breastfeed or don't. Sleep train or don't. Stay at home or go back to work. Put your kid on a leash in the mall, sit on your iPhone at the playground, hover six inches behind your children on playdates, let your six-year-old walk to school alone. I don't care what the hell you do, to be honest. I'm sure you have your reasons, I'm sure they're very good reasons, and I don't judge - just as I'm sure you won't judge me for the choices I make for my own reasons.

Agree or disagree with my opinions - if I'm putting them out there, I can only expect that. I don't think I'm right all the time. I don't think I'm wrong either. I have good days and bad days with my kids on this parenting journey. I make massive mistakes and have moments of absolute joy. I'm muddling along, learning as I go, doing the best I can. Just like every mom. And just because I choose to share my own choices and opinions doesn't mean I'm judging you for yours - but, for the record, if you choose to judge me for mine, I don't actually care.

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