Mummy wars, breast vs bottle, working mum vs stay at home mum, public vs private. You would be forgiven for thinking that being a parent means that you have to be a prized fighter to get anywhere. Some days it does feel like every man and their dog has a say on what you are doing wrong (rarely is ever right) as a parent.
Not being a good parent and feeling judged because of my scars is something that I really struggle with and it is one of my soft spots. It doesn’t take much to push me over the edge of self doubt and Paul has received many a hysterical phone call over the last almost six years.
Last week I came across this post about a small family who found themselves under the judgmental eye of a stranger. It’s always a stranger and I just don’t understand the motivation behind feeling the need to put your two cents into a situation that has no impact on you. Does it really hurt you if a parent decides that they want to carry their two year old instead of letting them walk?
I’ve been on the receiving end of the ‘well meaning’ (and I use that term loosely) interference from people who believe that they have a right to have their say about my situation. It grates on me every time and it knocks my self confidence. They are judging me on that snapshot of parenting, making a call based on the sometimes seconds of information that they have received.
I have had people yell at me from their cars, and no not all of them were uneducated bogans about what they believed I should be doing in that parenting moment. I have had people tsk at me under their breath as I dealt with an overwhelmed 4 year old. I have even had a woman follow me for 3 blocks screaming at me that she was going to rip out my reproductive organs because I missed seeing a car at a round about. I wonder through all of this, if they ever think about the impact their words and actions are having on the child they are supposedly trying to protect?
The last incident we had was over 3 weeks ago. I made a snap decision to grab my son by the arm as he ran dangerously close to a busy road beside the bus stop we were sitting at. Based on that snapshot, a woman released a tired of abuse and threats (telling me I better watch out because she works for the government) for at least 5 minutes, until the light turned green. I had no where to escape to.
I have seen that woman once since, and I had to hold myself back from letting her know about the impact her words and actions had on Mr 5. I wanted to tell her about the nightmares that he had about the woman stealing him and how we took a (rather expensive) taxi for the rest of the week because he was too scared to go to the bus. I wanted to tell her that my son suffers anxiety around adults and that her actions set him back in the progress going to school had made. Most of all, I wanted her to think twice before she did something like that again.
Next time you see an overwhelmed mum, I ask you to put yourself in their shoes. I ask you to reserve the judgement and realise that you are only seeing a small amount of their parenting. Of course if you believe that the child is being abused (and that is serious allegation to make, so please be sure) then do something, but don’t do by berating the parent in front of their child. You just have no idea the impact those words can have on a small child. You just don’t know if those words are enough to push a fragile parent over the edge.
When was the last time you faced judgement as a parent?
How did you react?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!