“I used to be so judgey”, like Lauren from Oh Honestly once wrote, before and after I had my first baby. Before I actually grew up…because that’s what parenthood makes you do – become a real life bonified grown up. It makes you put someone else’s needs before yours, no matter how exhausted and bleary eyed you are. It teaches you to listen like you’ve never listened before…to every sleep cue, cry and wimper, then later when you are trying to help with mean girls at school. And it requires patience you never knew existed…and there never seems to be enough.
I used to be the one lecturing everyone I knew about sleep training, and why their kids who wouldn’t nap or sleep through the night needed to be on a schedule. I thought I had discovered a big secret and wanted to share my discovery with the world. (SLEEP! Woo hoo! Don’t you get it?! Let me help you! It’s amazing to get a good night’s sleep!)
But then when I actually started sleeping again and awakened to my behavior, I realized I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to criticize parents as others have done to me– we are all doing the best we can trying to keep these little human beings alive and happy. Getting everyone fed and bathed, and then me actually getting a shower in at the end of the day, is a huge accomplishment and deserves a high five.
A few months ago I wrote a seemingly innocent article about why we put our kids to bed at 7PM for Bundoo. I outlined our schedule and gave our reasoning, never judging anyone else for their routines, and didn’t talk in depth about sleep training because I know it’s a hot topic. But I was totally flabbergasted by the response. Parents said I was crazy, had no clue…and one actually wrote that my kids would probably have ADHD and would most like shoot up a school someday.
Really…is this where we are? What is it about parenting that causes us to judge so harshly? Why do we feel the need to persuade others to live as we do? When did parenting become a competitive sport?
We all have different lives and schedules, and our children all have very different personalities and temperaments. What works for one family isn’t always going to work for another. But still so many react and respond negatively. I have read other horrible comments and remarks on several posts, and had received some here and there, but this was the first time they were so hateful…and it bothered me. For a nanosecond I wondered if what we were doing was strange?
But then I realized…they’re the one with the issue. They took whatever I wrote and were offended. Maybe their kids were good sleepers and don’t understand the hell we went through the first six months. Or maybe they are just night owls and don’t want to deal with their kids waking early in the morning…but really it’s their problem not mine. And that’s how it is in parenting today.
We all aren’t going to agree with each other all the time, we’re not going to have the same political or religious beliefs, or idea on sleep training or vaccines, but we all have the same common goal…to raise good kids. We want them to be happy, healthy, have friends, be successful, and just do the best they can. But we are more powerful as a whole and as a community when we support each other…not tear each other apart. It’s OK to have different opinions, it’s OK to not like the same things, it’s OK to have rational and intelligent conversations, but it just plain sucks to judge each other and say hurtful things…especially in front of our children.
Because there’s enough of that in this world, and I want our kids to be open minded and give others the benefit of the doubt. I want our kids to learn kindness and caring counts, and live with their hearts open. I know it’s idealistic and this will cause some to judge me even more…but wouldn’t it be great just for a day if everyone felt this way?
I used to be judgey…I used to want people to change. Now I know it’s my reactions that have to.
Gary Mathews says
This post is great, I can’t stand other parents telling me how to parent. My daughter does awesome at school and is a social butterfly, I think the proof is in the pudding.
I’m with you – we all have to just exhale and be kind!
Love this! Totally agree! And can totally say I too have been and sometime still am a judgy parent – even if my intentions are well meant. Actually I think it depends if I am in work mode (success writer) or just plain ol me. If I’m in work mode I assess every aspect I can observe and then start hitting buttons. lol
We all are Nicolette, it’s not easy. Just need to keep the thoughts tucked safely in our heads and remember we are all doing the best we can!
Herchel S says
What a mean and hateful thing for someone to write about another mother. Just wow. That was uncalled for from that commenter. What do you think she is teaching her kids?!
I don’t put my kids to bed that early but we are different people with different kids! There is no one rule fits all and it is ridiculous how some people think only their way is right.
I sat on this one for awhile…but it’s time to stop the hate don’t you think?
Janine Huldie says
Absolutely loved this and got to say it is just so easy to spout out advice (trust me done this myself), but sometimes we just need to step back and realize that a bit more open-mindedness and less judgment just might be what is needed. Easier said then done at times, but still hope to be able to do more of this myself, too.
We all do at sometime – and thank you!
Amy Byrnes says
Wow. I am so sorry you were attacked like that. I think you need to take a page from “The Four Agreements” and remember not to take things personally, which you seem to be doing. I mean, aren’t we all just trying to do the best we can,? And PS: I always had my kids down by 7:00 when they were little and guess what? No ADHD meds have ever been administered here. 😉
Love the 4 Agreements and yeah have to stop reading the comments huh?! lol. And good to hear no meds were needed!
The mom that responded to your post sounds like she may have some other underlying issues and decided to take them out wrongly.
Right?! I agree!
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
Whoa! I can’t believe that one response you got with cursing…seriously!? I know what you mean about “judgy”…and sure we do compare…but never judge. What works for me may not work for another..I try to save the really personal “advice” and “tips” for either people who ask or only for my close friends/circle!
right? And if we do juge at least we keep it in our heads! lol!
Preach it sister! I love this post. People can be so hateful. What ever happened to rational, respectful conversation?
Thank you and yes – I miss the good ol’ days…when people were civil. Before they could hind behind computers and phones!
This post is amazing. Like you, before kids I thought I would know how to manage them, but realized through the experience that every child and every family works differently. I can’t believe the negativity that someone would put in writing. Not only does their rationale not make any sense but it’s just down right cruel. I commend you for taking it like a champ and making something positive out of it.
Jill Ginsberg says
Couldn’t agree more! Nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion and even having a civil debate over whatever the topic at hand might be. But to personally attack or insult a person and/or their children because of the choices they make … it’s abhorrent and represents everything that’s wrong with the Internet.
Tricia the Good Mama says
This is a great post. For some reason the anonymity of the internet makes people say crazy things. The sad thing is that she has a nice little picture of her family right next to the awful things she said. I don’t really know what goes through people’s heads when they type stuff like that. Does she really think that she’s going to change your mind by insulting you? It’s insane that she is saying your children are going to suffer from your actions when she is setting a terrible example for her own child(ren).
We did some sleep training too. You have to do what’s best for your family!
What a horrible, hateful thing for that man to say. Everyone makes different choices when it comes to parenting and no one way is better than another… it just has to be what works for your family.
I am amazed and dismayed by what other parents will actually say to another parent. I also disgusted that these are my peers, my age group that I see a lot of this from. I don’t know where it all came from, but I know that I don’t want to be judged, so I try not to judge others.
I’m not going to lie and say I don’t judge others, but I try not to.
That really sucks, being judged and criticized for your parenting style is not cool. That seems to be how it goes though, I co-sleep and get judged a lot! People always think their way is the only way, but it’s just not. As long as our kids are taken care of and happy, who cares? I agree with you so much, this was a great read! Keep up the good work Mama!
Pam Grimes says
Love this blog and POV. In a previous life I wrote a column called The Edgy Suburban Mom, so I’m really drawn to writing that reflects the parenting experience especially from a funny and insightful viewpoint. You are right, parenting is a tough gig, we need to support one another not judge. Keep up the good work!
Thank you – I appreciate the feedback!
If I have learned anything about people it is that there is always someone who will tell you why you are an idiot for doing things differently than they do.
I have a pretty thick skin so I usually ignore it but I have been ‘guilty’ of giving back as good as I got just to see how secure they were in their position because if I put it out in public it probably means I am secure.
Anyway, people make the world awful and amazing, now don’t they. 🙂
it’s easy to point the finger at what others are doing wrong… much harder to look within oneself.
Great post! I hate feeling judged as a parent, and I try my best not to judge as well. I just know we all want to do what’s best for our kids. That looks different for different families. When will we all figure that out?
I know, it seems so simple.
I’m not a parent–but I totally see the competition…. among friends. BTW- love the new profile pic.
Allie Smith says
I love this: “I used to want people to change. Now I know it’s my reactions that have to.” I’m reading this book right now, “10% Happier” by Dan Harris, and there’s a portion of the book dedicated to the very same thought!
Wow! I can’t believe that people had such harsh things to say about your post. It’s astounding to me how parents can be so cruel and hateful to each other. It’s like they forgot the struggles of raising a child, or they have blinders and only see their way as the right way. It’s frustrating, especially to first time moms like me. We have enough to worry about, enough stress, enough doubts floating in our minds, and on top of that we have to deal with judgey moms and parents that will hurl their own truths at us because we apparently don’t know what we’re doing. Why not support each other instead of tearing each other apart? Why not offer some help and a kind word here and there instead of hurtful ones? Motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood will be a hell of a lot easier if everyone did just that.
Thank you for this post. I’m glad I’m not the only one that yearns for a world where all parents can just get along instead of making it a competitive sport to see who is better.
I’m so happy to meet you and hear your point of view. It seems there are so many like minded, I don’t understand why the hate persists!
I dislike how people/parents hide behind their computer screens and use hateful words. I don’t know how to make the judgement stop but I think articles like this help.
I know – it’s like tablets, phones and screens have made people think they are invisible!
The Imp says
Oy, I know this one. I currently have my first post up on Huff Po, and am being blamed for destroying the planet.
Ooooh which one is it?! I want to read it!
Great job Kristen! That is a terrible thing someone wrote to you. No I believe that someone with that much hostility towards a a person he has never met is the one with a few problems. The internet is a wonderful thing, but makes people sometimes loose their minds and feel like they can say anything, because typing something is so much easier than looking someone in the eye and saying something.
This is so self-aware, and I think I have had awakenings like this before. And what an awful comment someone gave you. I’m almost afraid to write about parenting, because people out there are so crazed about it- much like competitive sport spectators.
Thank you for your wisdom.
I’m with you Tamara – I’m surprised when you put your opinion out there how vehemently people respond.
This is a great post Kristen! I don’t know why parents haven’t realized that we need to stop judging one another because each child is unique, and every family has different circumstances.
I’m honestly disgusted that someone would write that. And a parent in that! Our daughter goes to bed early and we have no qualms about it. 🙂
Enjoyed your post! Now that I’m a mom over forty I definitely care less what others think and say. I definitely go to bed knowing I gave my day my all. Don’t let the turkeys get you down!
Tove Stakkestad says
Wow – I can’t believe the reaction you would get for a seemingly innocent article. We do need to unite and become the village that we all need. “Can’t we all just get along?”
I am sharing this – very powerful!
EXACTLY! I don’t understand the people who react like that. It’s scary sometimes.
it’s super scary!
Each to their own
Live and let live
There are so many more, like the above. We all look to each other to see if we are doing it right, but what is right? For you it is a bed time of 7 pm (Bravo, by the way) for others it could be 6, 7, 8, or even later. It could be showers in the morning or baths in the evening. It could be feeding organic chicken at every dinner, or vegetarian at every meal. It could be no TV, or limited TV, it could be signed up for every darn sport in the book, or just one.
Seriously, who cares as long as YOUR child is healthy, and happy!!!!! You are healthy and happy, the whole darn family is 🙂
Bravo for getting it, and stating it… Lets build up, not tear down and leaving the judging to others….