Earlier this week I listened to one mother explain the pressures she felt from external family members to be a stay-at-home mom. The mom loves her job and was wracked with guilt as she was on the brink of renewing her contract with her employer. Her story reminded me of my own choice six years ago to be a stay-at-home mom. Well-meaning commenters left me feeling guilty for choosing the best option for our family over my career to stay-at-home. In a society that has worked hard for choice, why is there still judgment of the choice being made? Why does it feel like all the choices we make are being judged by someone else?
I follow a blogger who posts DIY projects and other things about her home life and saw a nasty critical comment from a reader. The reader disagreed with the content of the blog and verally judged some of the blogger’s parenting choices. What point does a negative comment such as this one serve? If the reader disagreed, why not just quit reading and move on with her life?
Some judgmental comments are often bred out of the insecurities of others and the need to justify their own choices. For many people, they feel better and assured when people are making the same choices. The fact that others make the same choices, can make us feel like we have made the right choice. When someone makes a different choice than ours, we may feel the need to justify our choice by making judgemental comments.
As a new mom, I second guessed every choice I made with my first baby. My first baby began sleeping 11-12 hours by the time she was three months old. Upon hearing a friend tell me her baby’s feeding schedule, I completely second-guessed her feeding schedule. Her baby, who was the same age as mine, had a dream feed 3-4 hours after going to bed to lesson time between feeds overnight. I became panicked that I was not feeding my child enough because we did not do a dream feed. For a week, I tried to offer my daughter a dream feed, but she would refuse to wake up. When I could wake her up, she would clamp her mouth closed and refuse to eat. However, she did not hesitate to eat throughout the day.
The simple difference in our girl’s eating schedules was a good lesson in the differences between kid’s needs. In this instance, the mom never made me feel bad for choice. I instead had to learn to be confident in understanding my child’s needs and making the choices for her accordingly.
A Failure to Understand
Judgmental comments are sometimes just simply a failure to understand differences in life. Sometimes differences in the choices people make are viewed as wrong choices. If a choice is not causing harm to individuals, it does not make it incorrect.
It is difficult to tune out the opinions of others, especially when they come from influential people. Judgments and comments will never cease on the food we feed our kids, the parenting style we choose or where we choose to send our kids to school. Be confident in your choices and understand that your choice is not wrong if someone else makes a different choice. Life is too short to fret over whether or not our life choices are being judged by outsiders.
To read why I did become a stay at home mom click here.