Recently I was having a coffee out with a friend and some of our kids. I told her I had to go buy some new bath toys after our coffee and asked if she could recommend any good ones.
“Well, most of the ones in regular shops are made of plastic, so we don’t use those because plastic isn’t safe,” she said, “but you could try this online store…”
I tuned out.
All I could think was, I better not say that we do use plastic – she might judge me!
Have you ever had a moment like this? Where you felt judged (or like you might be judged) because someone else thought you made a poor parenting choice?
It feels like every second day there is another article about a celebrity Mum being “shamed” or “judged” by the masses. Whether it’s Victoria Beckham kissing her child on the lips or Chrissie Teigan breastfeeding her newborn in a music video, it seems for every choice a mother makes, there are people waiting to judge that choice. And for everyone who judges, there are people telling them to back off.
So, have we become more judgemental as a society? Or have we simply become too soft?
When I thought more about my friend’s comment that she doesn’t use plastic, I realised that rather than her meaning to infer any judgment whatsoever, I had been projecting my own insecurities onto her.
The reality was that I simply didn’t have the mental energy to deal with making a change as big as getting rid of all the plastic in my children’s lives. So I didn’t want to hear about why I should get rid of all the plastic.
I didn’t want to be confronted with the thought that there was something I should do differently – that I had room for growth.
We seem to have an obsession with “best” – we hold onto this belief that we must be doing the best thing, in all parenting choices, or we are failing.
Here’s the thing – none of us are perfect parents. We all know this. That means none of us are doing the best thing for our kids in all areas. Sorry, it’s just not possible.
So next time you feel like you are being judged for a choice you’ve made, take a step back. Evaluate the choice and put it into the larger context of your family. How important is this choice or change for you? How will it impact on what you currently enjoy and value about your parenting? What priority do you choose do give it? Acknowledge that we all have room to grow and see if there’s a lesson to be learned. If it’s important, have the courage to make the change. But don’t be afraid to decide that this change is not for you. Or, at least, not now.
Pictured here with her youngest, Jessica is mum to 3 beautiful children and blogs at https://seriouslyservingthesaviour.wordpress.com/