Thursday, June 29, 2006

Judgement

This morning I was having a conversation with my mom about some of the things I am admittedly judgemental about towards the parenting practices by other parents I know. I'm not even talking about the big things I'm pretty passionate about, like breastfeeding or not letting your little one cry it out, but more mundane, everyday sorts of things. I would be happy to name them, but being that they really are nit-picky and not a big deal and that I don't want to offend anyone (especially anyone in real life that I know who reads this!) I don't really need to go there.

Now, in my defense, I always try to acknowledge that I KNOW I'm being judgemental. I have never insinuated that someone else is doing a terrible parenting job while I've got the whole thing figured out, but you know, I'm human, and every once in a while I go off on something that bothers me.

It was really funny because I started to realize that there are definitely many things I do as a parent that other people would absolutely be against and have strong judgements against. Like extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping. I was debating with my mom over what people would generally be more strongly against-- the BFing or the co-sleeping. She voted for the BFing, I for the co-sleeping. My arguement is that it is easier to "prove" the benefits of long term Bfing over the benefits of co-sleeping. Who knows. In alot of people's minds, I'm probably going to hell for doing both. I also find it interesting that many people wouldn't bat an eyelash at seeing a toddler walking around with a bottle, or a pacifier, but a breastfeeding toddler?!?! Holy geezus, that's about as terrible as you can get! If you can imagine the conversation a mama of a pacifier-loving toddler would have, explaining that it's just too hard, their child is too attached to the "binkie". Everyone nods, smiles, ah yes, they understand. Now, a mama who nurses a toddler? "Can't you get that kid off the boob?!?!" Yep, here comes the astonishment. Like the mama must be doing something wrong to have a child who is still "on the boob" (I hate that expression, by the way). Never mind that the child and mama are benefiting physically and emotionally. Never mind that the child might actually need to still be nursing.

Obviously there are so many parenting standards in our society as a whole that aren't the most healthy for the child (or sometimes, the parent). You can back up your choices with facts, concrete evidence, anecdotal evidence, or just because you're parenting how you feel is right, but if you're doing the right thing for your child, and it's not the popular choice, well my goodness, be careful.

So, my judgements come out. I am not sure that they are in response to being judged or not, but it certainly doesn't help me keep my claws in.

2 comments:

  1. I'm with you on this one! I mostly make my judgemental comments to my husband since he's with me on most of them, but it is a little unsettling to me that here I am, pissed off that people judge ME when I feel like I'm doing the best for my child and then I go and judge others for what THEY feel is best! I guess you really can't win...and I do admit that I don't have it all figured out, and even what I do have figured out doesn't always work out how I'd like (due to my overreacting to some normal toddler behavior when I get tired or stressed out) and that really gets to me...I end up feeling like a failure of sorts if I don't live up to my own high standards that I preach of so well!

    But, without sounding all high and mighty, I feel like it's really difficult NOT to be judgemental of others because there are a lot of parents out there putting their own needs ahead of their childrens', doing things that makes their lives easier but will end up having negative effects on their children in the future, etc. Some things you just can't argue...BF'ing is best, co-sleeping is best, being in-arms as much as possible in infancy is best, being respectful to your child at all times is best, etc...research has proven all those things to be true, so if you don't do these things then you ARE giving your child less than you could be giving. I'm probably going to hell in a handbasket for being so judgemental...but it really bothers me to my core when I see children recieving less than they deserve.

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  2. I think more people in Seattle are supportive of extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping than in WI. In fact, I don't know anyone here that doesn't support extended breastfeeding, at least in our crowd of moms.

    My thing is limits. I am so judgmental of parents who don't set limits (I'm not talking about you in case you're wondering).

    Ok, now I'm totally wondering what it is I do that drives you nuts! It's the binkie isn't it? We're weening off it! Only during sleep and in the car, then at 3 years old it goes away.

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