We’ve all seen one or perhaps know one, the dreaded judgemental mother. Sat staring all disapprovingly at your ability or in some cases inability to parent, whispering about you to the other members of their judgemental mummy group just loud enough so that you can hear them, but not so loud that they could be seen to be rude.
From the moment you start the parenthood journey you are judged, they watch and judge you in pregnancy, poised ready to berate you for sniffing a glass of wine or for nibbling at the blue cheese on the ploughman’s you so thoughtlessly ordered for lunch! My downfall was coffee, I am not ashamed to say I drank caffeine albeit only one cup a day (shhhh don’t tell my midwife, I told her it was decaf!), I don’t believe this makes me a bad person, more a thoughtful person whose soul intention was that of avoiding the bloodshed of anyone stupid enough to cross me in the morning without a caffeine intake, I personally see this as a public service.
You are judged on every aspect, from how choose you to give birth, the “au naturel” mother choosing to go it alone with no intervention in pushing that baby out, to the “Give me every drug you can so I don’t feel a thing” or “sunroof delivery” options. Does it really matter to anyone else how you decide you want to give birth? It shouldn’t, yet you are judged!
As the parent of a child with CF I have been judged many a time, do I care? Well I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt or upset me, but I have learned to stick up a middle finger whilst saying “Up yours”. I have overheard the judgemental mothers making comments about Chester’s cough, muttering how irresponsible I am taking my child out while sick, allowing him to be around their children, spreading his germs, whilst they rather unsubtly move their child away. I have been judged when doing his physio or giving his medicines in public, overhearing comments like “Why would you pump your child full of drugs like that” and “I wonder why she’s hurting him”as if I do it all for fun!
I’ve been judged on what he eats; admittedly he is a bit of an eating machine and will quite happily polish off a 3 fish finger happy meal, with chicken nuggets washed down with a McFlurry and sometimes an added cheese burger, and there I sit judged by the mothers sat watching as they feed their children carrot sticks and apple.
I don’t confess to be the perfect parent, I snap when I’m tired, I use bribery when my children are showing me up in public, especially when saying “No” to the sweets the supermarket marketing whizz placed right next to the checkout results in my 4 year old rolling around the floor in a fit of uncontrollable rage; damn you marketing whizz!
I often threaten to call their Dad when they misbehave and I sometimes let them get away with far too much all in the hope of 5 minutes peace, but one thing I do not do is judge!
If I could say anything to those that stand and judge I would say that not everything is clear cut, as a parent I question myself and my parenting skills every day, I am often laced with guilt and self-criticism for my own actions, for shouting too much or not having enough patience, so I really don’t need it from you as well. You can never truly understand what others go through on a daily basis in order to survive to fight another day; you will never know their struggles, their ups and downs, high and lows. Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions and views on raising our children but just because my views may differ from someone else’s or the way I choose to parent is different it does not make it wrong. Surely we all strive for the same goal? To see our children grow into decent, caring and loving human beings?
So instead of standing there eyes rolling, judging the mother whose child is screaming on the floor in protest to being told “no” to the new toy they have asked for, or the toddler throwing a wobbly at the restaurant table after being told to eat his peas, how about we stand together and congratulate each other on being totally bloody awesome in our own individual ways, marvelling together in the glory of surviving another day of parenting.