I wouldn’t have done it that way.
How many times have I heard myself utter these words and then bite back hard.
What I thought would be the ultimate experience to end all comparisons, has only served to make me even more judgemental – I’m a mum who judges other mums and I’m sick of it!
When you’re pregnant you look at mums and think “I’ll never do that” – you make a note of everything they are doing wrong and vow to never go down that road. I was adamant that LR would never sleep in the bed with us, she would be in her co-sleeper from day one. What a sweet notion. She started off her first week in the co-sleeper and then moved between Mr H and I. It was safe. It was comforting. It meant I literally had to just roll over with a boob out to feed her. It gave me a rest. Now, she’s in her own cot but I miss the ease of bed sharing.
When you have a baby, you eye up those that are pregnant and send a few patronizing smiles their way thinking “they have no idea what they’re in for”. We don’t offer them advice, but rather throw it at them and get offended when they don’t use it.
Mothers watch others mothers noting everything they do which perhaps doesn’t fit the norm and comment to our partners about Mother A’s weird schedule or Mother B’s lack of skills when it comes to getting Baby B to sleep. Etc…
As much as there is a sense of comradery among mums, there is still the shadow of judgement that looms. Why? Because secretly we’re all hoping that we’re doing better than anyone else; Because we need to reassure ourselves, and pitting our choices against someone else seems like the best way to get that much needed affirmation?
Whatever the reason, it needs to stop.
It’s exhausting. It isn’t fulfilling. It doesn’t build anyone up. It doesn’t enrich our own lives.
I’m totally guilty of it. And don’t pretend you haven’t thrown some judgy glances around.
We’re constantly bombarded by ridiculously high standards of mothering – train your baby to sleep at 3 weeks. Use this product and your baby will be an angel. Drink this lactation smoothie, which costs a fortune, and your boobs will be like fire-hoses – and by beautifully skinny, make-up-clad, Insta-mommies who make motherhood look like a L’Oreal advert. And where do we fit in? Cowering under the duvet covers wishing that someone else would pick up our screaming child so we can catch 45 minutes of sleep.
I need to understand, to appreciate, the beauty in everyone’s routine and choices.
Some mums like a strict feeding and sleeping schedule.
Some mums will spend money on expensive baby items.
Some mums get help.
Some mums get wine.
Some mums didn’t wash all their babies new clothes.
Some mums don’t wash their babies.
Some mums don’t like sharing.
Some mums take on the world. For others, their baby is their world
It doesn’t just stop at the those with kids though. Then there’s the judging of those who don’t have and don’t want kids, who air their disdain for our choices as if they, by not choosing to have babies, have defied all of history and sit in a higher league than us. Enough.
Please don’t mock us for being gooey-eyed freaks, honestly, you really DON’T KNOW what it’s like until you have your own human. We did 9+ months of seriously tough work – yes it was a choice – and so we’re bound to be besotted and frankly, irritating.
If you don’t want kids. Great. If you do want kids. Great. There really is no difference.
Why must we be fighting and judging each other on something so trivial when we should be breaking down stereotypes and female oppression. Us mums should be celebrating and helping other mums because we know how hard it is and how the world now views us (that’s a whole other blog post).
In closing, let’s remember #judgymakesyouugly – you, dear pregnant lady/mother/childless wonder are awesome but so is the chicka next to you.
From now on, I’m going to try and regard you as higher than myself.
I’m going to praise your decisions for raising your child and I’m not going to try and push my ideals on to you.
I will love your choices….
Unless your choice is not to put seat belts on your bouncing kids. Then I will smack you.