Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Judgment

I've been wanting to blog about this for awhile and have been trying to decide which angle to address it from because let's face it...as soon as I throw out a belief I have or a parenting choice I've made, people reading this have an opinion of me and they will judge me based on that opinion. It's really hard not to, and I get it because I do it too. Usually I don't mind when I feel judged by others because I'm pretty confident in my choices...but still. Mothers judge other mothers. Maybe not out loud, but they do in their head every day. And how can you not? Obviously the choices you make for your family are the ones you feel are right, so if someone else does it differently, it seems wrong.

For the most part I truly believe that you have to do whatever works for you and your family (different strokes for different folks right?) and I try not to give unsolicited advice or opinions UNLESS someone asks me and then I will be more than happy to ramble on. I am blessed to know many moms and babies and we don't all do things the same. In fact, by getting to know them, I have come to respect many of the differences that we have and the choices we have made. I've also learned that you can find solid research to back up whatever choice you want to support, you just have to decide which side to listen to!

I am truly blessed to know people who......
had planned pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies
had natural births, medicated births, c-sections, home births
circumcise their boys, didn't circumcise, vaccinate, don't vaccinate
co-sleep, use a crib, use a floor bed
breastfeed infants, breastfeed toddlers, use formula,
use doctors, use chiropractors, use acupuncturists
cloth diaper, use disposables, use elimination communication (you're googling aren't you)
are working moms, are stay at home moms, etc.

Becoming a mother has made me feel more judged by others and also made me more judgmental. At the same time though being a mom has helped me see that there aren't always black and white decisions...some things are gray...and some things that I think are black and white, I'm learning to shrug and say "agree to disagree"! Some days I can celebrate the differences, but some days I do find myself thinking that I know best.

I don't know if I have a point to this post other than rambling my thoughts (and hey it's something deeper than a cute pic of my kid with a fun title), but I guess I'm wondering do all moms feel this way? What do you do when you start to feel judgmental towards others? What do you do when people say judgmental things to you? Inquiring minds want to know!

14 comments:

Benay said...

Dude, I know what you mean. I heard it on a podcast recently and it changed my life, "If there were a book for parenting that worked for everyone, we'd all be using it." So simple and so profound.

kmom said...

If you believe a child's life or health is in danger, then I think it is best to try to point out the facts that support your belief. There is new research showing up all the time and sometimes not everyone has all the latest information (pros and cons) on every topic.

Shawn and Becky said...

The biggest thing I've learned as a new mom is just because it doesn't work for me doesn't mean it's wrong, weird or cruel. And after becoming a mother I've really become super sensitive to others choices and do my best not to judge, but it is hard. The things that are 'controversial' and almost taboo to talk about are silly things that are really nothing more than a personal decision that people do because that's what works best for them. It's hard and it sucks to feel like you're defending yourself or have to avoid certain topics because you know people won't agree with the way you do it but I always just think I'm doing my best, my child is happy and healthy and so am I and that's all that matters!! Just do your best and follow your heart.

Shawn and Becky said...

And sorry to be so wordy obviously I've felt judged before :)

Valerie said...

Katie, I've struggled a lot with this. Since we live in a different culture, we parent differently than most of the people around us. And we spend so much time with the people on our team that we are all intimately aware of each other's parenting decisions. I often feel scrutinized and judged.

I can't really say what I've done to deal with that feeling. I just have to look at my son and see that he's surviving and remind myself that he's okay. Lots of people survive all sorts of horrible childhoods, so if I make a wrong decision or two along the way, I'm pretty sure he'll be okay, no matter what the other ladies in my apartment building think about it.

I found this blog post early on and I read it over and over again: http://swistle.blogspot.com/2008/04/facts-for-some-people.html

As far as not judging, I use the same mindset that I do for not judging other marriages: Russ and I are two unique people, and Jackson is a unique child. Together, we make a unique combination. Even if I am the Best Mom Ever, I can only ever know what it takes for me and Russ to parent Jackson. I can't presume to know what it takes for you and Ryan to parent Olivia because I'm not you guys. It's all about striking the right balance. I heard recently that "train up a child in the way he should go" is not really about teaching them about their faith but that the emphasis is actually on the individual--"train up a child in the way HE should go", in other words, parent them as is best suited to that child.

Hope that ramble helps! I'm looking forward to meeting your crazy-haired kiddo!

The Moores said...

I love this post! You hit the nail right on the head about moms judging other moms. I totally agree that you have to make decisions based on what your heart and instinct tell you is right for your family. God gave moms intuition for a reason. You're doing a great job Katie, Olivia is such a lucky little girl!

Anonymous said...

I'm so fortunate to be looking at it from the other side of it all. I can look back and see all the things I did wrong AND right. Yeah, I have regrets about some things I did and did not do, but I'm fortunate in that I can see the outcome of my decisions. My three kiddos are stable, compassionate, loving, CHRISTIAN adults and that was my ultimate goal. Why do you think God didn't give babies memories!! I believe its because He knew it was going to be a parent training period and the kids wouldn't have to remember all your mistakes and hold them against you. You and Ry are doing a GREAT job. Hang in there. Love ya loads. Mom

~Christy said...

this was so beautiful...i wish i could write like this....i might just have to steal it and link it to my blog!!!! :)

TLKOREGON said...

There are definitely certain aspects of parenting that I have been judged about, but in those instances I just pray that God will protect my children and help them survive my decisions, if they turn out to be wrong. As far as judging others, I don't really do that. Parents know their children, and what works for one child may not work for another, even if kids are from the same family!! I think my biggest critic is ME! I very frequently kick myself, question myself, and frustrate myself.

Kayren said...

I don't think we have ever met before- I follow your blog through several friends' blogs- I got started reading when you had that sweet baby with that wild crazy hair and oh my goodness she is a cute! (I think I follow you through Tamra, or Jaime or Myra) anyway...
This post is right on target with the insecurities that come with being a mom. If I find myself feeling the least bit judgmental (which is not often at all) I remind myself to "cast the first stone". I think that is the perfect story from the stories that Jesus told to remind us that we are all different and no one is perfect and we should embrace each other regardless. When I feel judged by someone that is a little harder... I pray for myself to look for the good in that person and think about whether or not I read their nonverbal cues correctly. I also pray for that person (especially if it is someone I know and they have been forthcoming with their judgements ie verbal) for God to soften their hearts and give them a spirit of understanding differences. Thank you for this post- you are doing a great job, mom!

Anonymous said...

Here's my philosophy. Mind your own!! ha! I can't imagine what mother's go through everyday. There's so much information out there that it is completely overwhelming. All the Mom's I know are happy and have happy babies. They must be doing whatever works for them.
Micca

Leslie said...

two things:

-someone asked me why hudson's nails were so long at the park the other day. i just stared at them.

-a plastic surgeon told me it was ok for me to get a tummy tuck now and lose the weight later. i just stared at him.

i figure there's a reason for people to speak their mind and dole out advice, but i think it's super important to take it all in stride, you know? like, when i came home from the park, i definitely trimmed hudson's nails. because they were, in fact, a little long. when i came home from the dinner with the plastic surgeon? i ate a cupcake.

:) all in stride.

Miranda said...

Cousin, I understand what you are feeling as well...I think all the moms that have commented love you for saying it!! Yes, I have been judged, but when it comes to my children...the simple fact is they are mine and I do things in the best interest for them, do I think my ways are the best for every child, No. But are they the best thing I can do for mine, yes. I have had so many different parenting types come into my path, and we simply don't agree on everything...it's hard, when you do something with your child and another parent does something different, especially when you are trying to steer yours in a different direction. I think you are a fantastic mother and little Olivia is blessed to have such great parents and family!! P.S. Your mom is awesome!! That's the end goal that we all want!! :0)

Anonymous said...

Parenting is personal!!! Having 3 sons and all of them are completely different I have had to use different styles of parenting with each of them. Be confident in your decisions!!! Will you ever look back and say "I should have handled that diferently?" Maybe?!?!? But never be too big to say your sorry to your child, do what works for your family and remember EVERYONE has an opinion!! There is one thing that my mother and father shared with me and my brothers growing up, "We want other people to like you and not just us." I believe if you live by that rule, the vaccines, breastfeeding, diapers, schedules, etc...are just extra stuff that each family chooses. Who they become is the most important thing!!! Be confident in your parenting and know you will do what's best for your child and your family!!!

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