As a person I am responsible for the decisions I make in my life. When I became a mother that responsibility extended to cover my kids. This dimension of motherhood can bring with it worry and guilt. It can also bring out the judgers, as it seems my personal decisions affect those outside my family, including strangers.
I’m not talking about decisions that put the health and safety of my children at risk. I’m referring to every day matters, like hiding certain truths from my children or letting go of my son’s hair cutting responsibility. Yet as a parent I feel as though every personal decision I make has people looking over my shoulder and rolling their eyes or whispering behind my back. People I don’t even know.
What is it about the need to judge, criticize and compare us? Why do we need to belittle or ridicule the decision of others, just because it doesn’t align with our actions or beliefs? Even the cold weather brings the judgers out as demonstrated in my social media feed yesterday. Updates and comments were full of mothers calling out other mothers on their personal decision to send their kids to school or keep them home during yesterday’s cold weather alert.
Why should I care that women in the grocery store line ahead of me decided to bundle up her son for the walk to school or that the my neighbour made the choice to keep her kids at home?
Does this affect how I live my life? No.
Does it change what I decided to do with my own children? No.
Will I be harmed somehow by their decision? No.
So why should I care or you care? Why should I make a passive aggressive remark to the cashier that I obviously value the safety of my kids more by keeping them home or comment to my neighbour that Canada is cold and her kids should get use to it?
What benefit do these comments have besides making the mother second-guess or feel bad about her decision? As a mother I create enough personal guilt and worry without needing to add to it.
Perhaps the school buses weren’t running or you have to work or you need a break from the kids at home. We should feel comfortable to make the decisions we make for our family and ourselves without worrying what the women in the neighbourhood or social media have to say. We shouldn’t feel the need to justify our decision especially at the expense of others.
Sure you could say that sharing our decisions opens us up to unwanted criticism. It is true that people can’t criticize you if they don’t know what you are doing. But I’m not interested in a world of secrets. Why can’t we just comment with something positive or if that’s not possible, don’t comment at all. I loved this post from MindBodyGreen about being the changes you want to see in the world. No one likes being criticized or judged or belittled so why behave this way. Be an example of how you wish the world around you behaved. Be an example to your community and better still to your own kids who see you as their guide.
I know we are all tempted to judge others out of fear, guilt or jealousy but does it benefit anyone by voicing it?