When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself. - W Dyer

January 6, 2011


E found some glasses....
Originally uploaded by anastasiav
Over the holidays, my Sister In Law announced that they are having a baby (the second grandchild! a cousin for E!) and the entire table fell into a conversation about the typical parenting things - cloth vs. disposable, breast vs. bottle, "back in my day" from the older ladies, and a short retelling of the story of E's very quick, birth center birth.

As we were talking, I found myself resisting the urge to tell my SIL "you should do this" or "you should read this" or "you must do that". I'm pretty sure our views on birth and baby-rearing are going to be very different (I was: birth-center, nursing w/formula supplement, no pain meds in childbirth, still co sleep with my 4 year old), and although I know she'll be a great, loving mom I found myself, almost automatically, judging her choices even though in a lot of cases she probably hasn't even made them yet.

Although I didn't write about it (and won't link to it here), I suspect if you're reading a mommy blog you're at least passingly familiar with the family whose 3 year old son was so upset about getting books for Christmas last year. My Brother In Law felt he had to (jokingly) shout "Books for Christmas????!!???" every time a book was opened.

i know I'm often judged as a parent, just because I work (or because I had to feed my son formula, or because we co-sleep, or because he's still in nighttime diapers at four, or ..., or...., or ...., or.....). And of course I hate it. I'm a pretty harsh judge of myself as well. So much of the time I think we, as parents, lose sight of the fact that we should be supporting each other, not competing. We worry about kids bullying other kids, but more and more often I wonder why its ok for parents to essentially bully other parents about their choices.

So, for the New Year, even though I'm not much on resolutions, here's my goal: to judge less. Is your child loved? Does your child feel safe? Is your child in active, immediate danger? (Not theoretical danger, but actual, call child protective services right now type danger.) That's what I will judge you on. The rest -- well, the rest is just choices.

1 comments:

jenne.heise said...

Last night, as I took Beekman BACK into my bed because he woke up when we tried to move him, Juergen, semi-jokingly told me that he thought if the me from 5 years ago could see me now, she would say I was terribly spoiling my baby.*

To which I responded: "New decision, he has to be going to sleep in his own bed by himself by the time he's 3."

*Miss B. was the one child I was most likely to speak up about the parenting of, actually. Juergen and I had long discussions about planned childrearing when Miss B. was young and controlling. Juergen doesn't actually believe much in planned childrearing, but I do. There were differences of opinion.

P.S. do you and E own a copy of "I Love You, Stinky Face"? I think of you guys whenever I read it to Beekman, and it's one of my favorites.