GUEST POST: Eff Judgment

It’s time for another guest poster! I found Sarah Fader (the brain behind “Old School New School Mom”) when she wrote this great post about 3-year olds being assholes. She’s a fellow Huffington Post contributor and she writes about something every parent deals with.

Here’s Sarah!

Fuck Judgment – by Sarah Fader

When I became a mother I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I babysat before; but never for an infant. When my husband and I took this tiny nugget of squishy baby home from the hospital, we put my son Ari in the crib and looked at him. My first thought was, “What the fuck do we do now?”

Since I had zero baby experience there was a vast learning curve for me. I was like, “Damn, this human cries a lot.” It was a rude awakening. Being a mom is hard. One thing that no one tells you is it’s hard from the moment that your baby comes out of your body and into the world.

Sarah Fader, aka "Old School, New School Mom"

Sarah Fader, aka “Old School, New School Mom”

That’s not even taking into account adoptive parents. That’s a whole other kind of hard; hard but rewarding. But I digress. Back to the issue at hand, being a parent is hard. It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it’s damn hard. It’s a 24 hour a day job with a demanding boss…well, multiple supervisors actually since I have two children.

Taking into account that parenting is hard, let’s add some more fuel to this already flaming bonfire. Other parents can be shockingly judgmental. It was hard for me to believe at first how incredibly judgmental parents are of one another, but trust me this shit is real.

For example, I let my children play with plastic toys. My kids have a toy kitchen made entirely of plastic. I’m aware that plastic is bad for the environment and probably bad for everyone. But, you know what? They love that damn kitchen. And it was a gift from our family. I once had a parent come over to my house and say, “I don’t let my kids play with plastic toys,” while looking directly at this awesome kitchen. I kid you not.

What I wanted to do is turn to this person and say, “Are you fucking serious?” But instead, I just smiled and nodded. Judgmental central, I tell you.

And that’s a minor example. But oh my goodness, the judgment starts right from the get go. I remember one time I was nursing my two-month-old baby at a restaurant while savoring a cup of coffee and this grandmother (who was with her little five-year-old grandson) said to me. “Brown beverages will hurt the baby.” And once again, I had to take a deep breath, smile and nod and ignore this sweet old nosy woman.

When I made the choice to breastfeed my son exclusively for a year that was fraught with judgment from other “well-meaning” parents. “I couldn’t do that. I went right to formula. Formula’s not evil you know? You don’t need to breastfeed.”

To which I want to reply, “Am I feeding you? Because if I’m not feeding you, it’s none of your business.”

Some of these people think they’re giving valuable well-meaning advice, but it’s not advice if you’re judging another person. Now you’re just being a condescending asshole and acting as if your way is the best way. And you know what? Your way is the best way…for you. Take a step back and evaluate whether the mom in question is asking for your guidance. Perhaps she just wants a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to, and not to be told how to feed her baby or get her child to sleep.

As Doyin our favorite DDW says, “There’s no profession in the world where people act like experts when they have no clue what they’re doing other than parenting.” He’s right. There’s nothing wrong with giving real advice when I ask for it. I love hearing success stories from other parents because I have a very limited idea of how to do this whole parenting thing. I’m learning as I go as we all are. But please do not force your way onto me. Just because it worked for you doesn’t make it parenting gospel.

Parenting is stressful enough as it is. So do us all a favor and can the judgment. We’re all in this together y’all, so let’s act like it.

/end rant/

Sarah Fader is a parenting blogger at Old School New School Mom and writes regularly for The Huffington Post. She’s a graduate of F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she majored in theater. She has two kids: Ari, 5, and Samara, 3 that she attempts to keep alive as you’re reading this.  If you like what you read and want to see more from Sarah, do the following:

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Comments

  1. says

    So true! The judgemental people I have encountered on my parenting journey is just downright ridiculous. Such a cut throat industry…parenting.
    Jess recently posted..On Planet OhMy Profile

  2. Tammie says

    I am in awe and proud of someone who can breastfeed for an entire year. I could barely make it 3 months with either of my children, while hating every moment of it. I was judged very harshly when I only nursed for 3 months, so I totally understand the nosy, meddling parents!!!!.

    • Monie says

      You and me both, Tammie.. you and me both. Besides the bonding that came from it, I hated everything else. Being stuck on the couch, the leaking constantly, the pain, the constant worry whether they got enough.. I could NOT wait to formula feed.. kudos to moms like her.. Much respect..!

  3. says

    Potty training advicebragging is the worst example of this. I don’t give a shit if your 6 month old is already wiping his own ass. The one upmanship that comes with this sort of thing is ridiculous. And then there’s tantrums. “My Snotty doesn’t have tantrums. He knows better.” Well, good for you.
    Gerry recently posted..Madrid in the 70sMy Profile

  4. Megan says

    It’s so true. And I catch myself doing it time to time and it’s often because I just wasn’t thinking. It’s always nice for the reminder since its so uncool to be judged.

  5. SJH says

    Is this post to acknowledge that judgemental parenting won the grand championship of the Final Four? Because I waited all week to find out who won. ;-)

  6. AllieM says

    I don’t know one parent on earth that hasn’t experienced this in one way or another. Sadly, parents will turn around and do it to others. Every parent does have a unique experience to them. My own annoying judgemental situation happened while I was potty training my oldest. An in-law who was also potty training her oldest (close in age) would constantly make comments. My son is a few months older, so apparently her son was headed for Ivy League schools because he was potty training at the same time. Hmmm ok… He was her youngest at the time. Meanwhile I have twin boys still in diapers to take care of while trying to potty train my son. Our challenges can be similar but we are all unique in the day to day. Because I didn’t rush my son into it, he also had more consitant success when diapers were gone for good. Parenting isn’t a competition. It’s about what works for you and your children! As my own older sister put it, “every human being on the earth eventually gets potty trained!”

  7. AllieM says

    Oops… I meant my inlaw was training her youngest! That’s what I get for typing with three kids in my lap!

  8. Ang says

    Maybe it’s a coincidence but my oldest and youngest were purely bottle babies and their are far healthier than my middle who I nursed for 3 months. She’s had the most chronic illnesses and has has the worst health of all of my children. Also my kids took forever to potty train and they are well adjusted kids. Hmmm. If someone asks for advice I’ll give it because I’ve been around the block. My oldest is 22 after all. But I’m not going to tell someone they are bad for using a bottle or that if their kids still has a pacifier at 2 it’s going to stunt their growth. They’ll get there :-).

  9. says

    I don’t know how some can just nod and smile, I can’t. If someone is going to open their yap to me about my parenting when I didn’t ask for advice, I will open mine right back. Last time I checked it wasn’t their sperm or egg that created my two little monsters…I mean munchkins. The worst is how I was called a “mean mommy” by someone very close to me. Why was I a “mean mommy”? Because I disciplined, put up rules, and didn’t (don’t) let my kids get away with everything, they don’t get what the want most times, and I refuse to run out of the store when they have a tantrum. Oh, but my favorite is when people find out my oldest has Autism Spectrum Disorder, somehow they suddenly all become experts. Their kids don’t have it, they aren’t psychologists or psychiatrists…do me a favor…shut up.
    Hollie recently posted..So …it’s been a while…My Profile

    • says

      I know. I need to grow some ovaries and tell people to fuck off. I do it more now. The other day this woman on the train was telling me that I should demand my children take turns. I looked at her and i said “Thanks but they’re my kids not yours.”
      Old School/New School Mom recently posted..Dear Person I OffendedMy Profile

  10. says

    We had a game night for kids at our church on a Sat evening after my kids had spent all day at a workshop. They were very tired. We started the night with an angry irrational meltdown from my 10 year old son. We separated him from the group and he eventually calmed down and had a good evening. After it was over, I was helping cleanup and my 5 year old was reaching a fit-throwing stage. I told him to go sit down in a classroom. He refused. I started counting. He started walking but slowly and grumbling. I said the next number. He turned around and exploded at me. I silently pointed to the door and he left.

    I commented a few minutes later to the older woman working silently next to me that it was obvious my boys were tired. She then unloaded her thoughts: I was way too lenient and they were lucky she wasn’t their mother. They should always respect me and never speak to me that way. She wouldn’t stand for it. Being tired doesn’t excuse it.

    Thank you for that opinion. You aren’t me and they aren’t yours. I have to work with who I am and what I’ve found to work best for them and me. Telling me how they *should* act doesn’t tell me how to achieve it. And you know what, I’ve met your grown kids. Yes, my kids are very lucky you aren’t their mother.
    mybrightspots recently posted..Diverging from DivergentMy Profile

  11. Stephanie says

    Haha, she’s awesome!! So true. My youngest son use to have long hair. I could not bring myself to cut it because it was just beautiful blonde ringlets. He was my little surfer baby (even though we live no where near water!). I would get so many comments from the older generation about how I needed to cut my sons hair because he looked to much like a girl. I was in the waiting room at the doctors office one time, and this older woman was there and asked how old my daughter was, now mind you, my son was 5 at the time, does not look like a girl, and was dressed in very obvious boy clothes. I smiled and said that is my son and he is 5. The look this woman gave me was sheer disapproval! She told me that I really needed to cut his hair, or he is going to grow up with a complex, and that she finally got her daughter-in-law to cut her grandsons hair, because it was just ridiculous for a little boy to gave long hair. My sons hair wasn’t even passed his shoulders because of the ringlets!! I POLITELY told her that he likes his hair, I like his hair, and when he is ready to have it cut, we will do it. And she just gave me that “hmm..well okay then” smirk. Thankful we were called back to see the doctor right after that.

    • says

      What? That’s so crazy to me. I’m sure his hair is beautiful. What is wrong with people? I remember when I was a little girl I had a short haircut and adults would often mistake me for a boy. My mom defended me and told them to basically fuck off.
      Old School/New School Mom recently posted..Dear Person I OffendedMy Profile

  12. says

    This notion of non-judgement is a big one in my home lately. My fiance and I butt heads over how to parent my 6-y/o daughter sometimes. She’ll tell you I’m constantly reminding her that I’ve been doing it — pretty well, I might add — without her input for some time before she moved in. But I also know it’s hard for her to feel heard and have buy-in when my instinct is to get defensive about how I parent and feel like she’s judging me when she’s really not. This is a tough topic.
    Chris recently posted..Gil Scott-Heron by Dana Lixenberg for VIBE August ‘94.My Profile

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