Confessions of a Judgmental Mom

Disclaimer: This post isn’t directed at anyone in particular. It’s just something that I’ve been thinking about in the last few days as CBG and I have been working through our “blended parenting” thing. It’s more of a self-awareness thing for me as I try to be honest about where I am and how I feel about parenting.

* * * * *

It’s time I came right out and said this: I am a judgmental parent.

I certainly don’t do it on purpose. I try very hard, in fact, to not be a judgmental person in  general. Parenting, though, is a different story for me.

My parenting style leans toward the “crunchy-granola, touchy-feely, I’m there to guide my children and NOT boss them around” kind of style. I work to respect my children as individuals and respond to their needs. I believe in arts and crafts, as little t.v. and computer games as possible, lots of fruits and vegetables and that my kids are smart, at least in part, because I started to read to them as infants. I breastfed each of my daughters until they were each about 2 1/2 – including all the way through my second pregnancy and even tandem nursed my two girls for several months. I was a stay at home mom for 6 1/2 years. I made my own baby food and gave my girls full body massages almost every night at bedtime until they were toddlers.

I am not a strict disciplinarian. I consider that their bad behaviour, when it does happen, is usually a signal that there’s more going on behind the scenes. For example…my five year old is going through a very whiny period right now. Instead of thinking that I simply need to discipline her more and not put up with it, I take extra time to talk to her and help her feel loved and appreciated and try to find out the reason behind the whine. Because I do believe that there is a reason for it other than she’s five and being a brat.

(Let’s be clear, though – I’m also decidedly NOT a “helicopter parent”. I give my girls plenty of space to explore, take risks and make mistakes. I give them as much freedom to do their own thing, and learn from life, as safety and common sense allows.)

My parenting is effective. My girls are sweet, polite, intelligent, spunky, confident, imaginative and articulate. They’re not perfect by any stretch. But I get compliments regularly about how well behaved and simply wonderful they are. Sure…some of that is in their own nature, but some of that is also in how they were raised (and are still being raised).

So I have to be honest. I’m judgmental when it comes to other people’s parenting. Things that irritate me? Too much tv and computer games, not enough physical activity, not enough reading, fast food, parents who don’t pay enough attention to their kids, and most of all, parents who don’t show their children any respect as unique, wonderful individuals who deserve to have their needs met. If you do these things – I will judge you, that’s just who I am. I see these things, in large part, to be lazy parenting. And as I get older, I find that I have less and less patience for laziness, both in myself and in other people. I think it’s a lame excuse for not having to make an effort to do better…not just in parenting…but in life as well.

Sorry. That’s just how I see it.

Does that mean that I never let my kids watch movies and they’ve never eaten a french fry in their lives and I’m 100% tuned into them all them time? Of course not. But the thing is, when I get impatient and raise my voice with my kids or let them eat a little too much junk food or have too many computer games, I’m right there judging myself. Not even *I* am immune to it.

‘Cuz the thing is…we can ALL be better parents.

11 Responses

  1. I’m right there with you girl! ;)

  2. I am waaaaay more chill now, but I used to be so self-righteous. I When I was a new mom, I thought I knew it all, and I am ashamed of the way I used to judge others. I thought that anyone who didn’t breastfeed was selfish, I thought that “crying it out” amounted to neglect. I thought that I would never let a french fry pass my childs’ lip, or let them watch tv.

    Then came single motherhood and depression (from the divorce). I weaned my second at 9 months (what I thought was “too young”), and let him cry it out to get him to sleep in his room because I needed some time to myself at night, and I bought a tv. lol

    It’s taken us two years as a single mom family to get to a place where I feel like I’m doing a good job again. BUT the process has given me perspective on how hard things are for others, and the different lives others have. It’s harder to judge now.

    That being said, I still have my “issues” that I have strong opinions on. I hate when people aren’t conscious of what they say around their kids (my neighbors talk about all sorts of “adult” issues around their littles), and I hate it when I see people dressing their girls in skimpy/popstar clothes, and I hate (and actively fight against) gender-profiling and homophobic talk.

    But I think that one good thing about “judging” it that it draws lines in the sand and helps you set your own limits for what you want for your own family.

    (Longest comment ever???)

  3. All of the things you focus on as a parent are wonderful. The reading, no fast food, quality time, etc. I totally understand how easy it is to judge others when they don’t do things the way you think they should be done. But judging others can be draining and quite honestly is often useless.

    A lot of times people (parents) do stupid things becuase they are lost in one way or another. Maybe there’s a marriage issue, maybe a loss of job, maybe a sick relative, that is causing them to tune out their kids, or feed them fast food, or whatever, you never know what is going on in someone’s real life. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s life.

    So maybe instead of judging offer advise, guidance, sympathy? Just a thought. And by no means am I saying I don’t ever judge! Cause I do, too. Just trying to be all cool and peaceful this morning! :)

  4. @Barb – So, what are you including as “stupid things”?

  5. “But judging others can be draining and quite honestly is often useless.” – Barb

    Excellent point Barb! I think the same thing, but of course, we all judge. I remember seeing an almost 6 year old still sucking on a pacifier and being horrified that her parents haven’t taken it away yet. Turns out? The girl, who I glimpsed sucking on this pacifier, had in fact taken it from her brother to make him laugh by sucking on it.

    My bad, right? Yep. You know, I finally am at that point now where I realize I’m not the perfect parent, and others may judge me cuz my kid does watch TV or eat fast food … but you know what? She’s a happy, smart, witty kid. And I’m okay with that. :)

  6. Everyone has different parenting styles and that’s their business but I dont think anyone likes unruly kids acting out in public. It’s hard NOT to judge the parent when you see that happening.

  7. i love your honestly sunshine, from time to time we all do it. , whether we admit to it or not. based on what they are wearing what they are saying what they are doing. there is often a FLASH of judgement, or that we know the person and who they are based on something we see. and it could even be a gOOD judgement because you relate to something they are wearing/doing /saying, but that doesnt make it true. :) heck havent we all “miss judged” someone? “oh i thought she/he was this or that” and turned out they werent.

    and i am a free spirit tree hugging – jealousy and anger are wasted energy kinda gal. but ya know, it happens.

    it doesnt make ya a bad person sunshine it makes ya human. *

    *have you ever read something on the internet and because of the bad grammar/spelling, slang etc, thought they may have been under educated? could just be internet slang, or in my case, after hours laziness.

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Momma Sunshine, Momma Sunshine. Momma Sunshine said: NEW BLOG POST: Confessions of a Judgmental Mom http://bit.ly/ckla3T [...]

  9. As a parent we all judge and normally are guilty of judging our selves the hardest.

  10. I’m such a mish mash of touchy feely and disciplinarian. I also made my own baby food, breast fed my kids until they were two, even through pregnancy with younger siblings. I Used cloth diapers and co-slept with my babies.

    But on the other hand I don’t accept laziness. I have strict house rules about respect and every is expected to do chores. I don’t overly monitor the television usage – but perhaps that’s because my kids are readers all on their own and don’t gravitate towards the tv.

    I have high expectations for my kids, and there are consequences for bad behavior. My kids know that our house is not a democracy. They rarely get a “vote”.

    I too tend to be critical of parents I feel are lazy. I work more than 40 hours a week and I have four kids to raise on my own. My house is still clean. My kids are still tidy and respectful. We all do our chores before bed. I think, “I’m too tired to cook” is a cop out because McDonalds or Pizza is just easier… so what if it makes your kids fat and flatulant? Ugh. I think too many parents are lazy, and it makes their kids lazy. Lead by example is my motto.

    Ohh… and BREAST IS BEST! lol :)

  11. [...] was saying. Parenting is a sensitive spot for both of us. And as I wrote about earlier this week, I am more than a little bit judgmental when it comes to other people’s parenting styles. And you know, of course I apply that judgment to CBG, too. I mean, if I do it to myself, why [...]

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