Parent judging is something that it so common these days, but that doesn’t make it ok and we shouldn’t have to put up with it. A couple weeks ago my parenting was judged by another mother. I was told I shouldn’t give my baby a loaded spoon, because she could potentially gag on it. This wasn’t the first time this has happened but it infuriated me so much that it led me to make a blog post about it. I know this persons concern came from a good place (I think), but I couldn’t help but feel offended and undermined. What annoyed me the most about this comment is that:
1. There was no prior conversation to this, this person just felt entitled to give her opinion based on a 10 second snap.
2. We’re doing Baby Led Weaning, so how else is she supposed to feed herself runny foods?
3. Yes, she could potentially gag on a spoon, but she gags on her food at least once a day, I wouldn’t allow her to put a spoon that far down her mouth intentionally
4. She is my child and it is none of your business!
This isn’t the first time someone has assumed I am parenting the wrong way. I have been told how to look after my child’s hair, when to start weaning, when to burp her and how to put her to sleep. But some people fail to understand is that every child is different, and what worked for one parent may not work for another. Since India was born I have had my fair share of unsolicited advice. I acknowledge, nod and say thank you. Some advice has been beneficial, but most I internally roll my eyes at.
The feeling of being judged gives me so much anxiety that I often hide behind official recommendations and guidelines. If I do everything by the book, then it doesn’t leave any room for criticism. Regardless of this people still tell me what to do. I have been told many times that my baby will prefer sleeping on her back and don’t allow her to stand on her feet because she will get bandy legs. I have been told my family, peers ad strangers. Everyone assumes they know my baby better than I do.
As a parent I believe in myself to make the right decisions for my child, and shouldn’t we all? Just because I am a young mother, does not mean I am not as good as a 35 year old mum. Being a new parent doesn’t have to mean I am incompetent. When I was pregnant I did a lot of research about the baby do’s and don’t but the rest was down to trail and error.
I’m not going to pretend like I haven’t ever made assumptions about other parents, because I have. There has been times where I have had to bite my tongue and keep my opinion to myself. I used to judge parents before I even became one myself. I said things like “I would never let my child do that” but when you become a parent yourself, things change. You empathise and see parenthood from a different perspective.
The last thing parents want to hear is what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Unless you are genuine concerned about a child, I think it would be best to keep your opinions to yourself. As parents we have enough to deal without having to live in fear of criticism.
Has anyone ever criticised your parenting and what was your reaction?