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.
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.
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.
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:
Check out the Old School New School Mom blog
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Check out Sarah’s work on the Huffington Post