When you think about what a good parent is, you have such a large frame of reference for “good parenting.” There are magazines, blogs, shows specifically to show how shitty parents can be, news articles and Facebook groups that hand down judgement as if they were Saint Peter himself. When our parents were growing up, they just had what they were taught by their parents, wholesome television shows and maybe a book on parenting.
Every other mom I talk to now comments about some other mom is a piece of crap because they don’t feed their baby all organic or they drop them off at daycare with boogers on their face. My parents had my grandmother they could just drop us off with and she would clean us right up. Most of us now don’t have the luxury of a family member that stays home and is actually willing to watch our kids.
Now I’m not an angel who is free from guilt. I judge folks and can jump on a pedestal with the best of them but what causes all of this negative energy to float around parents specifically? I see a mom who gives her 4 month old a popsicle and I’m thinking “omg, what a terrible person… that baby shouldn’t be eating sugars yet!” but a. it’s none of my business, b. she isn’t harming the child and c. it’s still none of my business. If she was smacking the baby in the face with the popsicle then yes I should call the police or something but if she’s just enjoying time with her kid it’s not my place to say anything (not that my wussy self would).
So again, we come back to what is up with all of the negativity? The judgement? The anger? The frustration? I’ve got two words for you; self-doubt. Everyone is afraid they are doing something wrong. No one wants to have his or her kid grow up and have a terrible childhood. We want our children to succeed, be brilliant and achieve all of their dreams while also not being judged for the decisions we make. So instead of focusing on our lives we turn it outwards and say “ugh I can’t believe they did x” because you chose to do y and don’t want people to ridicule you for it.
That is where you get terms like “helicopter mom,” just because someone wants to make sure their child is safe doesn’t mean that they are a crappy parent. They could be thinking that you are neglecting your kid because you just let them jump off the top of the slide. We are all going to make different decisions and the decisions we make will shape the future of the human race, which is freaking terrifying. Knowing that we are creating the future and making choices that influence not only our lives but also have a ripple effect on the rest of the world that our child will one day go out into is scary and so we are scared.
I’ve only been a mom 5 months and I am always harping on smiling at her so knows happiness and love is around her. I’ve never read that anywhere, I made that up and you know what? She is a super smiley baby. She loves to smile and in my heart, I believe it’s because I’ve been smiling at her since the very beginning. We raise our children the way our hearts, heads and past tell us mixed in with a little judgement from outside voices. The judgement isn’t something I think will ever stop but the next time someone gives you a look or you start to make a comment about the dad who is baby wearing on the playground while the mom is at work remember that no one is perfect and we are all scared. Raising a little human from scratch is really difficult and we should all be happy we get the opportunity.