These days, it seems like every mom with a computer becomes an immediate motherhood professional. From website to blog and back again, these moms pour out their wisdom and advice. I find myself marveling at the wealth of information I can find in any one of these sites, and also the ridiculous amount of judgmental bull crap that I read in nearly every one.
On one site, a mother proudly proclaims she let little Junior cry himself to sleep last night; best decision she ever made and just who the hell in their right mind co-sleeps anyway? In another article on the same site, a mom is complaining praising herself because she slept in a rocking chair all night, soothing her baby to sleep and why on earth would anyone in their right mind let their baby cry it out? Both are shaming the other in their storytelling, while complaining that they are being shamed for their own choices.
It’s not so much the contradictory advice I constantly see (sometimes in the same damn blog) that bothers me. It’s the sheer hypocrisy I see from some of these New Age Mothers. This “newer, softer” generation of parents are outraged at anyone who dares to judge them for their parenting techniques. They shame the “mommy shamers,” brutally. They encourage the battle cry “mothers unite!” and push hard against those who have the audacity to judge other parents. This in and of itself is a very good thing. Mothers SHOULD stick together.
I guess these writer-moms must be exempt from their own outrage, though, not to mention their own rules, because every other article I’ve seen is a harsh judgement against parents who think differently from whatever parenting protocol they happen to be writing about. When they run out of “their words,” they resort to memes to make their point.
When I’m navigating my way through these “Mom” groups and see memes outright mocking so-called “helicopter” parents or zingy little one-liners criticizing those with only one child (because apparently, they’re not actual “parents”), I think to myself: For a group who berates mommy-shamers, you guys sure do a lot of shaming of your own. Why do you care how others parent their children so long as they’re loving and caring, and not abusive? Isn’t mocking someone else’s parenting technique the very thing you get angry about, or is that just when others do it to you? Alas, I get no answers to my questions since the inquiring voice is only in my head.
Now as I’m sure you know, I’ve never been one to say I won’t judge. Hell, I do it all the time. Oh, I won’t judge you on your looks, your education, your job, your religion or anything of that nature, and I won’t judge someone doing the best they can with what they have. BUT, I will judge you on being a hypocrite. I may judge you for white shoes after Labor Day, not stopping at the crosswalk, or for using the Express Lane with eighteen items, and I will definitely judge you for being a jerk, a bully, or an asshole. It’s part of my charm. But some of these writer Moms are caught in an endless shaming cycle. While they decry those who judge them on their parenting choices, in the next breath they shame others for choosing a different path for their kids. You can’t have it both ways.
Bottom line, despite the competitive nature of the world, raising kids should not be a game or a contest, and if your child is growing up healthy, polite, and able to function respectfully in society, then congratulations. You’re doing it right. It’s a wise mother that knows there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to raising kids; it’s mostly just a hell of a lot of trial and error and making shit up as you go along.
Choose your parenting path, and travel it proudly. You do need to take ownership, though, and realize that if you choose to judge – those you are judging will be judging you right back.