Item #217 I didn’t know before I had kids: The world is a highly judgmental place for parents. You’re judged if you do and your judged if you don’t. This is what I feel like the world is telling me:
On having a baby
World: I only gained 20 pounds with my baby. I didn’t even wear maternity clothes until I was seven months along. Then after the baby was born, I was so determined to get my body back in shape I got up in the mornings and walked with her in the stroller and did exercise videos. It just made me feel better to get dressed, put a little makeup on, and get active again.
Me: Really? I was giant. People used to stare at me in my eighth month and pray I wouldn’t give birth in their company. Then after the baby was born I looked like a zombie waking up from a coma in the morning — and if I’m honest, in the evening too. I had a hard time putting on real clothes, so getting it together to go on a walk was out of the question.
In the store
World: I love kids, they’re so cute. Hmmmm. But yours are yelling. That’s ridiculous. You need to do something about that.
Me: Sorry, he’s getting a tooth and he’s fussy today.
World: Well, then you should leave the store. I never had this problem with my kids./When I have kids they will never act like this.
Me: It took me an hour to pack everything up and get here. If I leave before I get the few things I can’t order online, who knows when I’ll get back. I’ve gotta just push through, get our stuff, and ignore your dirty looks.
On sleeping through the night
World: When my daughter was born, she slept through the first night! She dropped her night feeding at 5 months and has slept 12-13 hours straight since.
Me: What?! I still get up most every night with either my 1 or 2 year old. I’m so tired. Five months, huh?
On boo boos
World: Oh no, he has a nasty scratch on his face. How did that happen?
Me: Yes, poor guy fell on a toy.
World: Did he now?
Me: Um yes. He’s just learning how to walk. He’s a tough one, though.
World: Tough? He’s just a baby, does he really need to be tough?
Me: Actually, I mean that he didn’t even cry, he just … never mind.
On having boys 16 month apart
World: They’re not twins … how far apart are they?
Me: 16 months
World: Wow. Do you know how babies are made?
Me: Pretty sure, yeah.
World: My kids never had pacifiers. No siree. I threw it out the window on the way home from the hospital.
Me: If you want me to take his out you can hear him yell if you want to. Oh look, they’re bringing out your trophy they just finished polishing in the back.
World: Too much TV is not good for children.
Me: Yeah, I try not to let them watch too much, but sometimes I need to get a few things done.
World: Why don’t you read books to them instead?
Me: Well, my kids are interested in about two to three books at a time, and that takes about 10 minutes. And like I said, sometimes I need a little distraction for them while I make dinner or just catch my breath. Anyway, LeapFrog is making more progress teaching my son his ABCs than I am.
I’m making light of all the comments we hear, but really all this “advice” the world is so quick to share is difficult not to take to heart. Everyone has an opinion on what they think is right or wrong in the world of parenting — and it’s probably not what you or I are doing.
There’s enough judgement out there. As fellow moms, I propose the next time we start to judge each other for doing things differently, we take a second and decide to support one another instead! With all the impossible standards and false ideals to live up to, we don’t need pressure from each other. I’m on your side, Mama!