Every parent thinks they’re the best parent on the planet (this includes yours truly!). I think that is a good thing in some ways – we triple check everything that we do for our children, and do it only once we’re satisfied that that is the best thing we can do for our child. This argument of course excludes the differences in the general reasoning ability of people, logic, world views, cultural differences, receptivity to external ideas and so on.
However, there are some who take this to heart too much. They believe that they’re absolutely the best parent on the planet, and they’ve always done everything right for their kids (who are actually pampered and spoilt). They don’t allow for differences between various parenting methods and refuse to accept that there can be different ways to bring up kids – all of which may be equally successful. If another parent does something that they didn’t or wouldn’t – they become a terrible parent.
The result? Judgement, lots of it. Needless to say, this is followed by a desperate need to voice out their judgement about the terrible parent to many others – in the hope that they will agree with, and validate the judgement of the judging parent (let’s call him/her A), which automatically means that they now think A is an amazing parent for being able to know what is right in terms of parenting and being able to spot other parents’ errors.
In my 10 months of parenting, the one thing I’ve absolutely abhorred about parenting is being judged endlessly and invariably made to feel like a terrible parent ALL the time!
You use diapers for your baby? – Judged!
You give him formula? – Judged!
You use a rocker/bouncer? – Judged!
There is a small rash on your baby’s face? – Judged!
You’re returning to work after having a baby? – JUDGED GUILTY! (Mother of all judgements, this)
Baby’s clothes are too light? – Judged.
Baby’s clothes are slightly stuffy? – Judged!
You’ve not kept black tikka on your baby’s forehead??? – WHAT! YOU MUST BE A TERRIBLE MOTHER!
The list is endless. If I tried to list out everything I’ve been judged about, it would take about 5 hours, perhaps more. It doesn’t just stop at the judging though – these judges (mostly moms, I honestly don’t know how much men discuss parenting) are very eager to go and tell others about the poor parenting they’ve seen someone do.
Sample this: A (The judging mom) says to her friend/relative – I don’t think new mom B has any milk at all; her daughter who is a couple of weeks old doesn’t seem to be passing much urine. Her diapers are so light!
A (a few months later): Her daughter is 1.5 years old, and she is still breastfeeding her! After the first year, a baby doesn’t get any nutrition from breastfeeding. Now it is very difficult to wean.
Note, it is not just the content, but also the tone that the judgement is pronounced in. How does it matter to you whether a new mother has milk or not, or how long she breastfeeds her baby?
Just to clarify: The WHO recommends that we breastfeed our children for a minimum of 2 years. The baby in question seems healthy and robust, and doesn’t appear as if she was overfed or underfed at any point!
Parenting is a field where there is a huge amount of information and a wide variety of choices available – right from what vaccinations you put to what brand of toys you buy, to knowing exactly what growth spurts are happening in your child’s body at this very moment. We’re mostly educated women of the 21st century with access to these information and choices.
As long as we’re resourceful and make informed choices and decisions for our children, I think they’ll grow up to be fine. I’m sorry; but I don’t think we gain much from the judging moms themselves, because what they say is based on their opinion, and I would rather base my decisions on fact and research. I have got ire from people for following the “internet”, but that deserves a whole post by itself.
The best parenting decision I took – is to not be perturbed by judgements. I used to feel bad every time someone hinted that I am not a good enough parent, but not anymore! I am not going to stop feeding my baby on his 1st birthday, and I’m not going to do so many other things for baby V in a certain way, because “someone said so”, and I could not have been more confident of any other decision I’ve taken in my life!
So all you judging moms, feel free to judge me. See if I care! And watch this space to see just how awesome baby V turns out as he grows up!