As women, we are not only judged by the world around us, we judge each other on parenting and lifestyle choices. All things that are personal choices and not ours to make. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. We are all just moving forward and doing the best that we can with the knowledge and tools available to us.
There is a fine line that exists between voicing your opinion and passing judgment onto another human being for their personal parenting/life parameters. We are all unique in our beliefs, our teaching, our struggles, financials and our hardships.
I have seen judgment being passed against me, against people I care about, against celebrities and against strangers. I have passed judgment on the same group of people, including myself. I often question my own parenting choices and my own personal beliefs as I think most people do.
Your choices and decisions are the perfect match for you and your family. You are entitled and have the right to express your choices, but you must also understand that others have different choices, and in most cases different options available to them. We should all be granted the right to parent our children in accordance with our upbringing, capability and beliefs.
When did it become socially acceptable to undermine a parent, disrespect another’s choice of baby name or hairstyle? We are all created equally with imperfections.
It is not okay to belittle someone, call them names, shout mean and nasty words at them because you don’t believe in their choice. You are not in their shoes and you have no idea how you would handle the same situation.
As a young working-mom, formula feeding, middle-class struggling parent just trying to keep my kids happy, safe and healthy, I wanted to share some of my views and feelings on some important topics that I feel that many of us are often too quick to cast judgment against.
1. Formula Feeding vs. Breast-Feeding.
This is one of the largest debates in the world with many parents sitting on both sides.
Whether you breastfed all four of your children, or you formula fed at least one of them, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they were fed, smiling and healthy.
2. Stay At Home vs. Working Mom
The working mom doesn’t stop loving or caring for her child because she is out of the house. She would rather be at home with her children, playing games and watching movies in her pyjamas. But her income is needed to provide the essential needs for her family.
3. Play Dates and Extra-Curricular
There is always that one family in the neighbourhood whose children are not enrolled in all local activities from dance, sports, drama or music. Their financial situation may not provide extra money for these activities that doesn’t mean that they don’t love their child.
4. Age of Parents
We stare at young parents. We question older parents. There is no perfect age to become parents. Situations arise and you may find yourself a young parent scared and all alone, or maybe you are struggling into your 40’s with infertility before being granted the miracle of bringing a baby into this world. Parents, despite any age gaps, have on thing in common – the love they have for their child.
5. Financial Status
We judge people based on their financial resources. The house they live in, the car they drive, where they shop and even the food they eat. Remind yourself that everyone has to start somewhere and the sad reality is that many families struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies; a home full of love is all a child requires.
6. Parents vs. Step-Parents
The focus should be in working together to raise the child in a safe, happy and loving in environment. It should not matter if you are the custodial parent, non-custodial or a step-parent. You all have a common interest, the well being of any child in the situation. Set aside your feelings and do what is best for the child.
7. Married vs. Single vs. Living Together
The state of the relationship should have no direct link to how you parent and care for your child. A single parent loves their child, cares for and protects that child the same way they would if they were married or in a long-term relationship.
At the end of the busy day, we are all parents. We all face a magnitude of battles with our children and with ourselves. That same parent that you criticize for not sharing the same beliefs, probably already feels like they are failing. Instead of being harsh and obnoxious, be kind, supportive and offer words of wisdom. They are doing the best that they can with the resources, knowledge and tools that they have.
So the next time you see me outside with my hair un-brushed, wearing two different colored flip-flops, shouting at my daughter to eat her food and scolding my son for wiping his hands all over his brand new t-shirt; don’t stare and whisper in my direction. Instead hand me a napkin, smile and remind yourself that I am doing the best that I can.