I’m reading the third article on judgy Mums in as many weeks, and I can’t help but think that what we’re dealing with goes much deeper than we realise.
We are not dealing with a crisis of judgemental Mums.
We are dealing with a crisis of confidence in our parenting.
Everyone has an opinion on how to parent. And thank goodness – because that’s our right as parents.
Breast or bottle. Childcare or stay-at-home. Vaccination or no vaccination. Smack or no smack. Disposable or cloth nappies.
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We all make different choices. And we choose based on what feels like the best decision for our family.
But when we decide to put our choices out there – be it through an article, story, question, comment or photo on Facebook – we are leaving ourselves open to the opinions of anyone who takes the time to look at it.
Decades ago we only had our immediate friends to judge us. And if we didn’t like their attitude, we’d just stop calling them or hide in the bedroom when they came knocking at the door.
Now, technology allows us to make more friends than ever before (and from anywhere in the world). But it amplifies the “judgement” because we have umpteen more friends and we’re sharing our lives on public sites that make escaping them very difficult.
It’s the nature of the social media beast.
Parenting is an emotional thing. We’re constantly making choices for the wellbeing of someone else, and hoping that what we do helps to mould a healthy and well-adjusted adult.
We’re so unsure of ourselves, that we have started to let the views of others impact our every decision. And this is really dangerous, because here’s the one thing I do know for sure about parenting…
No one knows what’s right.
You can find equally compelling evidence from “experts” on just about anything you decide on for your child. But once you make a decision to go either way, the only person’s opinion who counts is your own.
You need to back yourself, and have confidence in the decisions you make.
If you have made a decision to send your child to daycare, you don’t need to explain it to anyone. If you ask whether you should send your child to daycare, accept the very varied opinions you are going to receive.
If someone offers an opinion without having been asked for it? Smile and nod. Change the subject. Don’t waste your time explaining yourself or defending your decisions. Because the second you feel that you need to, is the second you are not really defending them to someone else – you are defending them to yourself.
We all know the old adage – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
And it’s true…but a different opinion is not necessarily “unkind”. It’s just different. Swearing and attacking someone personally – now that’s unkind. It takes a new kind of strong person to deal with that on social media.
But a different opinion is just different. “If it were me…”, “I cannot see the benefit”, “I would never”, “I don’t know how you could”…
So what? That’s their opinion. And the only way you are going to be affected by it, is if you’re not completely sure about your decision in the first place.
Social media is very rarely the place to find comfort and reassurance in our decisions as parents. Occasionally we get it. But we should never seek it. And when we don’t get it, we can’t blame others for making us “feel” a certain way. You can only feel that way if you are not confident in your own choices.
No one else is going to.