Firstly, I need to apologise for the stupidly long gap between posts, I have no excuse beyond being a Student, Single, Broken mother of 3 kids. I will try and do better, but in all honest I probably won’t. Its the quality not the quantity, right?
So, Judgement. I frequented internet forums ‘for mothers’ for far more time that was healthy when my children were small. I initially signed up for a few to get advice about feeding, and sleeping and weaning and all the terminally boring shit that feels oh so VERY important when you have babies and toddlers. What I didnt expect was to find some amazing people who would become life long friends and also some of the most batshit crazy people I’ve ever come across.
Like, seriously so far round the bend they can see themselves coming back.
Until then I had no idea that people cared how you fed your baby (breastfeeders are Nazis and/or mummy martyrs, formula feeders are borderline neglectful wimps who just can’t cut it),where your baby slept (If your baby sleeps in your bed you are ruining your husbands life, if you baby sleeps in a cot you are setting him/her up for a life time of abandonment issues) or if you worked outside of the home or not (stay at home parents are boring, sad people with no life of their own, working mothers hate their children and why would you have a baby for someone else to bring it up?). Some of the most epic arguements i’ve ever witnessed occurred over mashed potato and whether it’s ok to leave your child in a car to go and pay for petrol.
Of course most of us came out of those sleep-deprived, hormone-driven early years, grew up a bit and realised there is far more to parenting than those kinds of choices. And they are CHOICES. Its not right or wrong, just different ways of living.
Which brings me back to the subject of judging.
There was a meme flying around facebook this week of the very beautiful Wentworth Miller and how a few years back he’d packed on a few lbs and wasn’t it oh so funny, ha ha ha. Except it wasn’t. For him. Because those pictures represent a time when he was suicidal and eating was the only thing that stopped him succumbing to his compulsion to end his life. Not quite so funny when put into that context, huh?
And its the same with parenting. I’ll let you into a secret. Parenting? its fucking shit at times. There are the times when its so utterly tedious that watching dust settle would be more fun. There are times when you are so tired you want to cry. There are times when you have to make decisions for another human beings life…. and when you don’t feel grown up enough to decide what to eat for breakfast, that’s scary as hell. We all just get through it the best we can, we are all good at some bits of it, and suck at other bits of it.
So, when you’re sitting and thinking ‘that mother’ who goes out every weekend is a cold neglectful person, or ‘that mother’ who is screaming at her kid in Tesco to shut the hell up…..you’ll judge.
but then stop. think. consider…..this is a tiny snapshot of her life. You didn’t see her getting up 20 times a night, all week long and the only thing that keeps her from going under is the thought of some time to herself at the weekend. You didn’t see that she just lost her job and that she has 20 quid to last 2 weeks for food, and she needs to concentrate on getting the most she can out of that money.
We all judge, we are all human and as such we form impressions based on our life experiences whether we mean to or not. And that’s ok. What isn’t ok, and what I think is what matters is that we question WHY we make the judgements we do and recognise when we’ve judged wrongly, and unfairly.