Judgment… I actively try to avoid partaking in it but I am, admittedly, still a work in progress. When my mind takes on a critical tone regarding another’s parenting choices, I stop and refocus on the notion that we parents are all different, each child is different, lives are different, needs are different, and there is no way I can know everything about someone — nor should I — in order to effectively judge her. And let’s be honest, who am I to judge? My mom guilt list is never-ending. I screw up daily.
There are so many choices and differences when it comes to parenting. Discipline, feeding, school, bed routines, vaccinations, body modification, etc. The mom wars flare over these topics. Friendships build and burn over them. But why?
We pin our egos on our own selections and rage against the opposition, as if those who don’t follow our precise parenting algorithm are deeming us unfit. Why are we so self-absorbed that we assume others’ parenting decisions have any connection to us? What does rampaging and ranting do? Why do we view ourselves as so virtuous that we feel it justifable to shame, judge, and belittle others over their parenting choices that do not affect us or our own offspring in any way?
If a mom halfway across the country rocks her circumcized babies to sleep using formula and introduces rice cereal at 4-months-old, will that affect you? If a dad decides to be a stay-at-home father so his partner can work full-time and he chooses a stroller over baby wearing, baby-lead-weaning over jarred food, and cry-it-out sleep training over bed-sharing, will that put a wrinkle in your existence? If a single mom chooses to co-sleep and babywear, homeschool, and partake in extended breastfeeding, will that change anything for you? No. So why do we get riled? Why do we add extra stress to our already humming lives over the parenting decisions of others? Does adamantly disagreeing with others make our path more righteous? Do memes and sanctimonious catch-phrases make our lives more fulfilling, our children well-rounded, or our relationships more harmonious? No.
I am trying — very hard and very imperfectly — to overcome my own tendency to judge, to remember that I am neither perfect nor omniscient so I am in no position to tisk-tisk others (even if just in my own head) for their parenting choices. As long as the child’s emotional, physical, and emotional needs are met, that is what matters. My opinion does not.
Let’s take down our banners, ditch the verbal arrows, wipe off the war paint, and dock our egos. We’re in this together.