Monday, April 11, 2011

Judgmental Moms & Parents

I've been reading a lot of "Mommy-blogs" lately. I'm not currently working, and have found myself with a few hours (aka nap time) to peruse the web. Each blog I've come across is unique. Each mom has a different story. Each mom has a different perspective. Each mom has a different situation. The one common thread I've found in every blog I've read is judgement.

I feel that in most cases, Mommy-blogs are outlets for mothers to tell their story. Blogs are a way to bring awareness to different situations and circumstances. Blogs are a great way for mothers to network and connect with mothers that have similar values. But it never fails in the wonderful world of the internet that some angry person has some kind of negative judgement. Always.

It really bums me out, and disappoints me. It also made me take a hard look it the mirror. By reading all kinds of snarky comments and arguments, I've realized that I'm often guilty of making snap judgments. My husband has brought it to my attention a few times. I'll be walking through the mall and utter "you've gotta be kidding me with that outfit". I'll be helping out at an event at the skate park that we own, and I'll be making judgments about the other mothers, and what they allow their children to do. The more I think about how judgmental I am, the more upset I get. It's something I'm very actively trying to work on.

This weekend I realized just how judgmental everyone around me can be. I had conversations with multiple family members that made me feel like they disapprove of certain parenting decisions that John & I have made. It made me furious.

Parenting judgments are so easy to make. I don't think that any two sets of parents make the same choices. To co-sleep or not? To co-bathe or not? TV or not? Vegan, Vegetarian, or  not? To breastfeed or not? Potty training now or later? Transition from crib to bed now or later? Solid foods at 10 months, 12 months, 18 months? Wean at a year, 2 years? Baby leashes or not? Vaccines or not? Antibiotics or not?

That's just the tip of the iceberg. It seems that all parenting decisions can be called into question by internet readers. It amazes me. I don't think I could ever look at someone and say "you're doing it wrong" unless they were being careless or reckless. If a baby is happy, healthy, and flourishing then who's to say what's right or wrong? Parenting, to me, is a religion of sorts. Your children are the center of your universe, and you do the best you can to help them grow to be happy, productive, loving adults so that they can pass on those values to future generations. I'd never dream of telling someone that their religious beliefs are wrong. I may not have the same beliefs, but who says I'm right? That's what faith is all about. Parenting is the ultimate act of faith. Faith that you know what's best. Faith that you are making the right choices. Faith that you can do this.

Moms in my life, you are all wonderful. We all have very different views about parenting, but we can all agree that our world's revolve around our babies. Let's embrace our differences, and show our children that being so judgmental is nothing more than adult bullying. Live and let live, and show a little bit of love while we're at it!

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