As a mom, I get judged a lot. Heck, as a woman I do too. But, there is something about birthing a baby that leaves you with a big ole target on your back.
There are two major critics of moms; 1) themselves and 2) the disapproving public. I am definitely my own worst critic, but I have also felt the wrath of judgmental strangers.
The first incident I recall distinctly was at a recent story time that I attended with my three-year old and almost one year old at the time. My son was having a rough time and was fussy. He was likely tired from his morning at school. He was not listening the best, nor was he being the most gentle with the baby. I was managing, but struggling emotionally. I was trying my darnedest to keep from melting down from the stress of managing a baby and a toddler “in a mood”. Of course this was also the one time that I chose to wear the baby in the carrier and not strap her into the stroller. When it was time to have my son go potty he refused. He and I verbally dueled until I threw in the towel. Upon my surrender, he then refused to leave the bathroom which was necessary so that we would not be late picking up my eldest from her school.
Here is where “Mr. Judgment” enters. As I was leaving the library, holding back tears, with my youngest strapped in the baby Bjorn and my son held over my shoulder as I attempted to avoid his kicks, a strange man approached my son and verbally scolded him. I politely, but sternly told the man, “thank you, but please don’t talk to my son like that – I will handle things”. To this, he proceeded to tell me that I should not have had children if this is how they act. Talk about kicking a girl when she is down. I was already on the verge of a breakdown from the challenging day and this man did not help. He also cursed at me as he walked away, so that was awesome – not.
In a separate incident at target, I was allowing my capable 8 month old to hold her bottle and feed herself in her car seat so that I could shop. This woman preceded to tell me that I really should hold my baby and feed her myself. I informed the lady that I do hold and feed my baby often, as I have done for all of my three children. I then shared with her my belief that it is good to teach your child independent and appropriate self-care taking skills as they grow and develop.
I am flabbergasted that in both of these cases, random strangers had the audacity to inflict their judgmental opinions on a mother whom they know nothing about. Why is it that these people needed and wanted to judge me? Are they so perfect? It is hard to remember when you are the one being judged, but when someone judges you, you have to remember that they are doing so because of their own needs and insecurities.
And if you are the one being judgy, then please stop. Take a pause before you start criticizing someone or sharing your opinion. In the meantime, I will continue to let you judge and misunderstand. I vow to stay committed to being kind, authentic and honest and to look for the beauty in others at all times.