Then I heard something that upset me and angered me. And I guess its true what they say, you never hear anything nice when you are listening into someone else’s conversation, but the toddler was busy with his “baby tuna” and the conversation was fairly loud. And very judgemental.
Now, OK, maybe I’m being a little bit critical and judgemental myself here but I think I need to stand up for us all against conversations like this.
Woman 1; “well you know, she uses that routine”
Woman 2; “she never does? I can’t believe it”
Woman 1; “I’m telling you, that’s what she told me. That poor child.”
Woman 2; “Oh I know.”
Now this poor woman, doing whatever routine she was doing, probably has no idea that people are saying this about her. Or maybe she does. And maybe as a result she’s trying to avoid baby groups and coffee mornings, isolating herself to protect herself. Putting on a brave face. Her make up like armour. Defences well and truly up.
And I know that feeling well.
When I first came to Dubai and left the sanctuary of my NCT and antenatal friends, who had stumbled through the first dark days of parenthood with me. Where we had a 3am email club asking the questions we needed to know the answer to as we sat in the dark feeding. Those parents I had found my way with, who found their way with me, who didn’t care that one of us followed Gina Ford, that one of us swore by Jo Tantum, one of us had a baby that would not follow any routine we tried (that would be me, the Toddler was stubborn from the start) that one of us preferred to baby wear while another preferred to use the pram. Now I had to put myself back out there into the judgey world of parenting. Where people may sneer at my choices. And not only sneer but decide on my worth as a person as well as a parent from those decisions I, and my husband, make in the knowledge that we think it is best for us and our child.
Put myself out there I did.
Judged I got.
Not quite so blatantly as the conversation I overheard but judged nonetheless.
I wore my make up armour. I wore my nicest clothes. I held my head high and came out of the experience with some friends for life, just like the ones I made in the deepest darkest early days of parenthood.
I am proud of myself for going and working through it. I’m even prouder that friends I made did the same. That we all got through the whole of the Judgey McJudgey pants coffee mornings, together.
However, something changed in me when I had my second son. Not only am I more confident but by blogging I open myself up online, people often know of my parenting and my parenting style before you meet me.
I no longer wear my make up armour unless I can be bothered. My clothes are generally covered in baby sick and Toddler snot. My head is still held high but the big thing now is…. I no longer care if you judge me and I certainly no longer care to judge you on the parenting methods you decide work for you as a family. Because that’s what it’s all about, what works for us a family might not work for you and yours and vice versa.
I no longer care if you think I’m creating bad and needy sleeping habits because I tend to bring the baby into bed with me around 5am (or earlier) when he wakes. I care that everyone gets an extra hours sleep, that the toddler isn’t woken and we can start the day a little more refreshed ready to take on said coffee mornings.
I no longer care if you think I should try to night wean the baby so he sleeps longer. They’re my boobs. It’s me getting up. Why is it your problem?
I no longer care if you think that I should stop carrying my toddler if he asks. Yes he’s heavy. Yes I know he is 3 now. But I love my snuggle time with him and there will come a day when he stops asking and then I won’t be pleased for all the time I’ve missed out on but I’ll cherish the walking cuddles we had.
I no longer care that you think the baby should be on a solid routine. He’s not. That’s my problem not yours. Yes he naps on the go but in part I think that’s second child syndrome, unlike my first I can’t just wait until he wakes to go somewhere or skip it. Nursery pick up waits for no man.
So to all you Judgey McJudgey pants out there. I no longer care what you think. And the reason I no longer care is because I know what I am doing is right for me, right for my husband, right for our boys. In short, right for our family. I am doing my best
And maybe we should just think of that and take off our Judgey McJudgey pants, because really if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
And Ms. Judgey McJudgey it’s your loss anyway, because I bet that person you were busy judging is completely awesome, rocking out being a mum in the way that’s best for her family and by standing strong in doing what she’s doing for her family as those around her judge? Well I’d say that would make her a strong and loyal friend I’d want in my corner, I’d go out for a prosecco play date with her any day of the week.