Friday, September 03, 2010

Quit'cher Judging

Isn't the universe great?

The other day I found an old friend from university. Or rather, she found me, on Twitter of all places. Which led her to my blog, and me to her blog, and so on and so forth. This wasn't someone I knew well in university, but I have since become totally enamored with her blog and her writing.

So today, in lieu of anything intelligent to say myself (I'm saving it all for Griffin's 4th birthday post, I swear!) I am going to share this instead.

It's brilliant, very well said.

From Cynthia at Climbing up the Slide (with permission, of course.)

An Open Letter to All Parents

Dear Mom and/or Dad:

We all have opinions. Some of us are stronger in our convictions than others. Some parents read everything they can get their hands on, all of the newest research, before making any decisions. Some go mostly by instinct. The vast majority of parents are doing the very best that they can, given their family situation, their mental and physical health and that of their children, their finances, their education... There are just so many factors in our personal parenting philosophy.

But smart parents know one thing: when it comes right down to it, we KNOW very little. We estimate, we guess, we hope, but we DON'T KNOW. One expert says that CIO is child abuse, another says that science shows it not to be as cruel as it may seem. Breastfeeding raises IQs and increases overall health, so obviously formula babies are going to be stupid and sick? Nursing in public is rude and gross, or it's completely natural. Babies should be worn or held as much as possible, or it's okay for them to cry once in a while, so that mom can make dinner or do something for one of her other children.

We make decisions every minute of every day, and whether we like to admit it or not, we make judgements about other parents based on our own personal philosophy.

Those judgements, though, except in extreme cases, should be kept private. There is no honour in being "right." You will not get a parenting medal. Just like the fact that no one will give you awards for having a "natural" childbirth versus opting for an epidural, no one will laud you for suffering through years of a child who wakes up every hour, rather than trying to help them learn to sleep.

We do what we can, as parents, and for most of us, it's an ever-changing experience. In my post Things I Used to Judge Other Moms for Until I had More than One Kid I talked about how much my thinking had changed on a lot of issues since I had my first "perfect" baby. You see things a lot differently when you have two or three (or four or more) CHILDREN running around, than you do when you have one sleeping angel in an infant carrier. You change and mature as you get older, no matter how old you were when you first became "Mom" or "Dad."

I feel sorry for anyone who thinks they know it all: there is so much to learn in this world, and you're missing out on it because you already "know" so you don't need to listen to anyone else.

It's great that you're confident in your parenting. I wish we could all feel like that. Truly, though, when I see someone lash out at someone else's decision-making as a parent, I see someone who doesn't feel nearly as confident as they want the world to believe.

Judging others may be "a part of life", but emotional attacks don't have to be.

Thanks Cynthia, I couldn't have said it better myself!

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