Now, if there's one thing that I know about motherhood, it's about mothers being judged. Why? Because my own mother was judged from pretty much the start. It makes me really sad though. I mean, parenthood is already fraught with worry and self-doubt as it is, without others contributing to the stress with judgement. What's ironic though, is that she was a considerably better parent than those who were judging her.
However, I'm proud to say that, although my siblings and I have had our troubles, we've actually turned out to be really decent human beings with good hearts and strong souls. The same can't be said for many of the kids whose parents were so busy telling my mom how things should be done.
It's inevitable that, as a mom, you are, at some stage going to be judged on how you are bringing your children up. I recently found out that I'm pregnant, and I'm already mentally preparing myself for the judgement that will come. Read on to find out how moms are secretly judged...no doubt many of you will find some of your own experiences here. And hopefully you'll feel better, knowing you're not the only one.
15 My Parenting Style
Astonishingly, nearly 70 percent of parents feel that they are bring judged on the decisions that they make for their children, while three-quarters are given advice without actually having asked for it. The percentage of parents who feel judged on their parenting style comes in at a whopping 43 percent!
Julie Scagell, writing on ScaryMommy.com said: "Parenting styles ebb and flow with who we are as people and often, more importantly, who our child is. It is not static.
My parenting style is a direct reflection of who I am as a person, right this minute. To say I am laid-back is an understatement. Sometimes I am lazy. But I am also driven and slightly obsessive. As a mother, I tend to fall more on the free-range side. I like to watch from afar and let my kids make mistakes. I believe they should have their freedom."
14 What I Feed My Kid
It will not come as a surprise to find out that the areas that moms feel most judged on is their child's diet and nutrition. Hell, it happens even before baby is out, with all the questioning about if it will be breast or formula.
Sarah Knutson on ScaryMommy.com has some wise words to anyone who is considering being judgemental: "Listen, until you see me force feeding my toddler a double-double, please don’t intervene (and even then, please assume good intentions and go about your business). I breastfed because it worked for me. I am a healthy adult product of soy formula.
We can’t all afford a 100% organic diet. I would have probably gone completely nuts if I had decided to make my own baby food, while other mothers revel in the creativity."
13 For Choosing Formula
When Annie Muscato was buying formula for her daughter at her local store, a stranger felt the need to 'inform her of the inferiority of her choice.' Afterwards, Muscato wrote a heartfelt letter to the stranger and posted it on Facebook. Here's a short extract:
"Dear Stranger in Target, you didn't need to tell me, "breast is best" as I was buying a can of baby formula, because I already know. I know that my baby immediately did skin to skin and ate from my breast within an hour of her birth, because it was important to me.
But, let me tell you what else I know. I know that my baby began screaming after she ate. Writhing in pain. Inconsolable. Finally, we tried the hypoallergenic dairy protein free formula you saw me buying today. And the screaming lessened. And my baby started smiling. She started interacting. She started sleeping."
12 For Extended Breastfeeding
There's something about breastfeeding beyond two years that puzzles me. Though I might think differently when I have my own baby, who knows. Stephanie Baroni Cook is one mom who breast feeds her three year old daughter, and is tired of the stigma.
"Even if some of my supporters are no longer on my side, I know that science is. I am also 100 percent confident in my decision to extended breastfeed and have been doing it for so long now that I no longer rely on everyone's support to get through this.
I don't need other people to validate my parenting decisions, especially this one, because when I look at my little girl breastfeeding in the comfort of her mother's arms, finding rest and peace in the storm of being a three-nager, I already know I've made the right decision. And that, for me, is more than enough."
11 For Being A Stay-At-Home Mom
I want to be a stay at home mom. That's what I've always wanted and I'll be damned if anyone tries to stop me. SSSHoey wrote on the WhatToExpect form about being judged:
"My mother in law hates it, we make enough money for me to stay at home and my husband works one job in the marines but I keep getting poo for it. Anyone else?"
Mrs WPSpencer had a rocking reply: "I've had a couple of people say things like that, but honestly I don't care. I love being a full-time wife and mom and so does my husband. Anyone else can take their opinions elsewhere. I don't let anyone make me feel like I'm inferior or that I am not contributing, because I know I am. I would have your husband tell his mother that y'all are happy with your life and she needs to respect that."
10 For How I Gave Birth
Giving birth is the most difficult, the most personal, the most emotional experience a woman is ever going to have with her body and to be judged for it is just horrendous.
Sarah Ivens is one mom who was judged for having a C-Section: "I didn't think anything of my experience until a few months later when a 'friend' asked me something bizarre. 'Do you feel less of a woman because you had a C-section? Less of a mother?'
Shocked, I replied: 'My birth was different but it was a very real birthing experience for me, and although it wasn't what I'd hoped for, how can I regret anything about the way I met my son?' She backed off but I was furious. After a couple of years being unable to conceive, and then two miscarriages, how dare some judgemental know-it-all cast a cloud over my greatest achievement?
9 For My Postpartum Body
When shopping in Target, Kelly Diane Howland was approached by a woman handing out flyers for a company providing tummy tucks. Pissed, and rightly so, Howland took to Facebook to express her thoughts. Here's a little of what she said:
"Can we PLEASE not perpetuate the pressure, the impossible expectations, and therefore keep alive the insecurities that we newly postpartum women face regarding our new and changing bodies as we enter motherhood?
Instead of leaning into superficial ideals imposed upon us, can we PLEASE start bucking the system and instead start praising each other for being the amazing, life giving, creation birthing vessels that we are? My body doesn't need to be wrapped or squeezed or changed. It needs to be valued and revered for the incredible life it just brought into this world. THAT is beauty and THAT is all it needs."
8 For Sleep Training
How parents sleep train their children is, it seems, sadly, everyone's business! Emma Purdue at the SleepTrainingConsultant had this to say about the heavily judged issue:
"Some mums choose to use gentle sleep training methods, and some mums chose more cry based methods. There is not right or wrong way to work on your baby or toddlers sleep. There is just the right way for your family, and judging another families decision to use a different technique to you, doesn’t make you a better parent. Or a better person.
Every time we judge another mother for their parenting decisions, we are closing our self off to a potential friendship, and missing the opportunity to have our lives enriched by meeting someone either in real life or virtually, who parents completely different to you."
7 For My Kid's Behavior
I cringe when I think of my poor mother having to deal with my tantrums when I was little. I cringe when I think of all the people who would stare and shake their head disapprovingly. I wouldn't be surprised if she would have just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear.
Writer Jenny Studenroth has a dose of reality for those who judge: "When you put down a stranger's parenting, you're likely putting your own misplaced anxiety of guilt onto them, and in the moment you're making them feel defensive and angry, especially when it's a sore spot. Trust me, I wish more than anyone else in the store that my little girl didn't feel compelled to smack me across the face. But she's one-and-a-half years old and we're working on it."
6 By My Mom
I imagine that being judged by your mom must the most infuriating and upsetting things in the world. I'd like to think that my own mom would never think about judging me. NetMoms.com forum user Self.beyondthebump typically gets along with her mom, and tries to ignore the fact that she's the 'silently judgemental, talk behind my back type.'
"My husband and sister have reported some things that are bugging me lately. Maybe they aren't a big deal and I'm overreacting, but now that she is being judgmental of me as a mother it is really bothering me.
The fact that she doesn't have the gall to say things to my face doesn't help. She made those early days hard for me because I could just feel her judgment. She rolled her eyes when I took my baby back because he seemed hungry. But she never will say a word to my face."
5 By Other Moms
As I mentioned in my introduction, my mother was constantly judged when I was growing up, and mostly by other moms. Being judged by your own mom takes first place in making you feel like shit, but being judged by other moms comes in at a close second.
Curiously, judging is something that moms often love to do. But you can break a mom with judgement. I know my mom felt under pressure for much of my childhood, to bring us up in the most wholesome ways possible, because that's what many of her 'mom friends' were doing - limited TV, sugar only on weekends, porridge for breakfast in the morning instead of Lucky Charms - that kind of thing.
But she shook loose before long, and kids would come to our house in droves to get away from their constantly wholesome regime.
4 For Choosing To Vaccinate
I think the debate about whether you should vaccinate your child or not will go on until the end of days. Tara C Smith writes about why she decided the vaccinate, despite the furious judgement.
"I’ve done my best to keep my kids healthy and safe. I nag about bicycle helmets and make sure they’re getting exercise. I make them eat vegetables. I don’t move the car until everyone is buckled up. My older kids were in booster seats for what felt like forever, as both were on the small size for their age. Vaccinations are just one more part of this arsenal.
I’m well versed in the safety data and know that most vaccine side effects are minimal. They don’t cause autism, or SIDS. They do save lives and prevent disease by training the body to recognize and fight germs."
3 For Not Making Baby Food
I will admit something, I'm actually looking forward to making baby food...primarily because I've re-discovered my passion for being in the kitchen and creating new concoctions!
But, I will always have a stash of ready-made baby food in the cupboard. I can still remember the chocolate pudding my mom used to feed me out of a jar...and look at me, I'm alright! Me and my three siblings were fed from jars and I don't respect my mom any less.
I would never think about judging a mom who chose to not making her baby food. Never. I want to make it, but I know that the likelihood of that happening is pretty minimal. It's a really shitty thing to do to look down your nose at a mom who just hasn't had the time to puree an eclectic selection of fruits and vegetables.
2 For What I Let My Kid Play With
We had toy guns in our house. Toy swords too. And it never did me or my siblings any harm. Studies have actually shown that there is no real link to toy guns and future real-life violence. (You can breathe easy now.)
But some people think that playing with guns sends the wrong message, that it 'makes light' of what's actually a deadly weapon. Other people see it as a way of kids exploring valuable themes and feeling empowered by 'being a hero.'
Despite judgement, Jane Reily Mount lets her kids play with toy guns. "We let our kids play with toy guns, but we have a strict rule of not pointing or aiming at the face. My husband spent his childhood around guns and hunters. Therefore, he has taught our children to hold even a toy gun with respect — in other words, pointed at the ground when not aiming.”
1 For How I Dress My Kid
When I was five years old I started to be bullied, and one of the targets for the bullies was the fact that I wore different clothes to them. In my family, the latest fashion trend wasn't a priority, plus, we didn't have the money to shell out on expensive clothes, so my siblings and I wore hand-me-downs and clothes from the thrift store pretty much all of the time. The parents liked to get a word in too, and would snigger and talk behind their backs.
The bullying became so bad, that my mom had me change schools. Kids can be real little bastards sometimes. Anyway, we continued to wear hand-me-downs and thrifted clothing all the way though our childhood (and I still do) and, I like to believe, developed a thicker skin which has helped us to learn to cope when we encounter narrow mindedness.
Sources: Reddit.com, Romper.com, DailyMail.com, ScaryMommy.com, Parenting.com, WhatToExpect.com