I walked out of the pediatrician’s office with my 9-month-old on my hip. He had his pacifier in his mouth.
Just arriving was a similarly-aged kid sporting rocker gear as if he’d just stepped out of a Diesel Kids catalog shoot. This mommy was out to impress. Her kiddo sucked his thumb.
The second she pulled his $100 sweatshirt over his head, his thumb went right back in. I laughed with “isn’t that cute?” admiration and marveled, “Just…bam.Thumb right back in the mouth.”
Seriously, folks: I was laughing with her. Not judging.
She whirled her eyes at me with daggers and spat, “Well it’s better than a paci!”
Whoa. This woman had much bigger issues than my harmless (though ill-timed) observation.
I wasn’t judging.
But normally, I judge.
That’s for sure.
Isn’t it human? Don’t we all need to define ourselves in contrast to, or with, a crowd?
I should be above judgment and beyond comparing myself to others, etc. But I haven’t. Probably never will.
I look down my condescending nose at two things:
Parents incapable of double-tasking their phones and kids effectively at the playground. Hey, I’m surfing social media the entire time, too. But I follow my kids around and look up incessantly. Yep. I’m that good. You should be, too.
Fellow parents: we’re the bosses and the kids don’t wear the pants. So don’t alter every morsel of food to satisfy your kid and don’t let them walk all over your plans. You need to keep a schedule. And if your little precious doesn’t like your salmon-on-quinoa, they can go without dinner for the night. They’ll survive. And they’ll know you mean business.
I can’t take parents who do things like this and this. I mean: who has the time? And YES. I’m judging. And YES - it makes me feel better to judge them because I’m not rising to their efforts. I have other things to do…real life stuff like sorting through purging pictures on my phone, candy crush and binge-watching Aquarius.
Yeah. I judge neglect, deference and over-achievers.
I’ve felt plenty judged, too. Usually for my efforts to feed and educate my kids. I loooove being mocked for enriching my kids’ life. Sometimes that hurts. But I’m committed to raising my kid…with my own agenda.
But I’m open to improvement and welcome advice…because I mostly feel like I’m winging parenthood.
But I see judgment and gossip as survival. I banter with the dad or mom sitting next to me. I might joke about the negligent parent (or nanny) across the way, and the person sitting next to me usually agrees.
But mostly, I’m observing and learning…perhaps through judgment.
And judgment helps me feel I’m not alone. Laughing with the parent next to me reminds me how difficult parenting can be. My emotional (and physical) fatigue is lightened when I know someone else feels similar.
The simple words, “OMG, me too! I completely agree!” can help me teeter off the edge of losing my sanity. We just gotta vent.
So I judge.