I’m sorry. Sorry to all the strangers, acquaintances, colleagues and family members when I secretly judged you and your children. I had no idea what it was like until I walked your walk.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only new parent who’s had the reality check of a newborn that just won’t do what needs to be done. Like sleep. Or feed. Or just be chill.
I remember my midwife telling me to do what worked, and not think about what I was doing with too much (self) criticism. I guess my theory of parenting was a lot different once I was faced with the reality of putting it into practise.
I mean, thankfully I kept my judgy thoughts to myself but I’m pretty sure I thought once or twice that bed sharing was bad, feeding to sleep was bad, not having a routine was bad, dummies were bad, not disciplining a whiny kid in the supermarket was bad, rushing to your baby at every grizzle was bad… the list goes on. Of course I’ve done all of the above and probably worse, like giving baby gluten and a crumb or two with sugar in it long before the Plunket food chart said she was allowed!! And there were so many parenting styles and behavioural things with older kids I judged as well, which I’m sure I’ll learn my lesson about in due course.
I read an article today that basically said when you interact with people, there are ancient neural pathways in your brain that fire up so that we can judge them. It’s so fast that you don’t even know you’re doing it! So I guess it’s true that if it’s human nature to judge it’s what you do next that’s important… For me, it’s just accepting that everyone is different, and so long as what you do doesn’t harm your kid or mine? You’re doing a great job. I’d like to hope that people would give me that same respect too.
So can I just say again that I acknowledge my pre-mother self actually didn’t have a clue?
To any soon to be parents, get a drink of water ready to swallow the pill that is being wrong about what you thought parenting would be, no one and nothing can prepare you for the shock (good) of raising your kiddo.
And to all of my childless friends and family… Feel free to judge what I’m doing, that is your prerogative, but keep that stuff to yourself lest you have a newborn that doesn’t play ball like mine (and every other baby I know)!!
Did you have to eat your words like I did?
What things did you judge others for before you became a parent?