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Judgemental mothers

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by jodidi, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. On acouple of other parenting forums I use people are often called judgemental when they offer advice. Sometimes the posts sound quite judgy but most of the time they just sound like people offering advice that is not the normal "you do whatever you think is right". For example anyone who suggests that you should be following SIDS guidelines is automatically judgemental, or anyone who recommends waiting a bit longer before weaning a 6 week old baby is called judgemental.
    Do you think there are actually many mothers who are judging others? Or are most of them just like me and are not judging as I'm too busy taking care of my own kids?
     
  2. Me. I judge. Mostly that others are doing a fair bit better than I am at this parenting lark.
    I will admit to hoiking my judgy pants up when the mother of an 8 week old said she thought that she'd better start weaning as her baby was waking up at night. Poor little chap couldn't even hold his own head up properly yet.
     
  3. I judge too. Not that I think I always get it right - not at all! And I know others judge me on some things. We all make the best decisions that we can for our kids under the circumstances that we find ourselves, combined with the people that we are and the life views / values that we have. That means that we all do it differently. I judge when parents don't intervene when their toddler is a little so and so at a playgroup, for example. Toddlers are wired to have tantrums and struggle to share and push boundaries, and parents (in my view) are responsible for guiding them through this time and helping them learn how to handle the emotions and situations. So when parents sit back and say 'it's just being a toddler' as their child smacks yours around and snatches toys from them I judge that parent.
    But bottle or breast? no judgement. back to work or not? no judgement. No judgement on many of the aspects of this tough job that is parenting that we're all finding a pathway through.
     
  4. I am shocked at the number of strangers (in the street and online) who think they can just ask whether I breast feed or not and then think they have the right to question why I don't breast feed! I actually enjoy making them feel uncomfortable by explaining how ill I was after birth!
     
  5. I think the first year is this whole load of 'am I doing this right' questioning then I've found once they hit a point where naps/feeds become less of the be all end all you just start ceasing to care or compare what others do because they diversify too much anyway. I think at the root of it all is modern mums must, MUST listen to instinct more.
     
  6. I think avoiding most parenting forums is the way forward to avoid judginess. I judge - smoking/getting drunk/taking drugs while pregnant, diet coke in a bottle with big mac in push chair, dummies in 4 year olds playing, beating children, neglect but that's about it!
     
  7. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    And the latest research says bottle fed ones better behaved!
    Nice to know that you are doing it wrong whichever way you do it.
    One of mine bottle, the other breast. Both pretty similar.
    Though I did combine feed at one point, what an evil woman! And one of them just snatched a toy from the other, that's my fault as that one was the breastfed one...
    Yes I think some people do judge. But doubt they are perfect either.
     
  8. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    And yes I did sort it out when the toy snatching happened! As have also been 'told' off for being on forums when I could have been doing something useful.
    But you work, you're a neglectful selfish cow.
    You don't, you are lazy.
    You bottlefeed, you are risking your child's health and development.
    You breastfeed, you are risking your child's health and development.
    You use a dummy, you're lazy.
    You don't, you're unkind.
    And so on.
     
  9. I'm glad you are all honest enough to admit you judge some things. I do too. It's human nature.
    What I object to really is being told I'm judgemental when all I'm doing is giving advice to someone who asked for it. If someone asks me what I think of controlled crying, I will tell them that I don't like it and would try other methods first, especially if baby is under 6 months. If someone asks me whether it's ok for them to put their week old baby into their own room I will tell them that the SIDS guidelines recommend babies should be in parents room til 6 months, and they should research the other risks to see if the risks are worth taking for their family. I try really hard not to write things in a judgemental manner, but seem to be accused of judging everything.
    The people who really infuriate me are the ones who say things like "oh, I thought that with my first but by the time you're on your forth you're a lot less anxious and judgy of others" Your forth baby isn't any less precious than you first is it? Why wouldn't you still follow safety guidelines?
     
  10. I have to say I've never felt judged for any parenting choice I've made, even though I know others have different methods. Until recently. Noweveryone thinks theyhave the right to tell me it's time to stop breastfeeding my lo, as she's nearly 2 [​IMG] If I'm not asking for advice then I don't really want people's opinions.
     
  11. No, it doesn't. It suggested breastfed babies are perceived to cry more. Crying in an infant is not 'behaviour', it's communication.

    Yep, I'm probably perceived to be a big old judgy pants but I only challenge where the evidence base is there. So people advising new mothers to stick porridge in a 3 month old's bottle so they sleep 'better' or those who tell a mother who responds to her baby that she's 'spoiling' him, or he is 'manipulating' her. Those people I will judge the hell out of, not the mother seeking advice.
     
  12. For me the guidelines are guidelines - they change an awful lot. Not that I am debating that there is research and certain things are deduced from studies etc. But when my LO was born (she is 2 this week) it was 100% recommended that babies were breastfed and EXCLUSIVELY until 6 months. Early last year (when she was just 1) there was a big news item about it being found that some babies started to struggle for some nutrients before 6 months and may well need supplementing in form of food or formula! So guidelines are, to me, sometimes not to be followed to the letter.
    With SIDS I was aware of the research, but moved LO at 6 weeks anyway. She, I and my OH slept very badly with her next to us by bed. For me the exhaustion that came from never sleeping for more than 1-2 hours at a time for weeks was much more dangerous than the risk of SIDS. For example when I was so tired but had to get her to an appointment when she was ill - I was driving exhausted and she wasn't properly in car seat as I'd not clipped it in properly. Also I started to develop PND - more risky to her than sleeping in her own room, and sleeping a bit more helped me cope.
    It is 'risky' taking kids sailing, it is 'risky' going for family bike rides. However these things are things we will do as a family anyway, as we feel it is a matter of looking at life as a whole for the whole family.
    So letting people be aware that there are guidelines is helpful, if they don't know already, but implying that not following guidelines is necessarily the wrong choice is perhaps a little too far.
     
  13. That bit to me is the crucial point though. If you know the risks and are making an informed decision that is entirely your choice. If you know the risks and make an informed decision but then advise others that it was fine for you so should be for them, that isn't informing them so their decision isn't an informed one. I am always perfectly happy to accept people doing their own thing if they are aware of the risks. I am like bunique (i think) in that I judge the people who dish out advice that goes against guidelines without ever even mentioning that guidelines are there. I laid my baby on her tummy to sleep, even though it was against guidelines as I was fully informed of all the risk factors and we had no others, I wouldn't recommend it to someone else though as I don't know how many risk factors they have in their family.
    As far as I am aware this is still the recommendation. The big news story was reporting a review of older studies completed by a team of "experts". There was very minor coverage of the fact that all bar one of these experts had connections to baby food or formula companies. I am not saying that they were wrong in their conclusions, I don't know, but other experts with no links to baby food companies had not come to the same conclusion when they looked at the same data. The doh has not changed it's recommendations, which were always exclusive breastfeeding until baby shows signs of readiness which comes around the 6 month mark (so they accept that some will be earlier, but some will also be later)
     
  14. I am probably not going to make any sense, my brain is really fuzzy today.
    I think parenting can make people feel very defensive- so if somebody is giving you advice which contradicts your own methods it makes people feel very judged even if they are not...

    For example- there was a debate on 'BLW vs Puree' and someone was getting really upset and spent a lot of time defending their puree weaning--- yet nobody was being critical of either method, more just saying 'this is what I do.... and it works for us' but people still felt judged- sometimes I think it is their problem...

    As for breastfeeding/bottle feeding- more people seem to bottlefeed than breastfeed... I sometimes think people feel more judged than they really are. We all know parenthood is hard and there are different choices - I think it is knowledge of the guidelines and natural motherhood guilt that make us feel we are judged when we are not really.

    This was posted on Facebook earlier and does make sense- it isn't the person pointing out the guidelines that is making us feel guilty....
    http://theunperfectmummy.blogspot.com/2011/07/guilt-and-other-negative-emotions.html

     
  15. So basically what everyone's judgey about is BLW vs purée, breast vs bottle, controlled crying vs other sleep methods, dummy vs no dummy, sling vs pram... Just so I'm totally clear what are the things to be judged on as we enter toddlerdom? I mean I'd hate to miss out on anything here...!
    It's all so ridiculous. I mean I just hate that as women we don't just bloody support each other more. I know a lot of you quote various studies but they are just that - studies that reflect a portion of the body of research at any one point in time. What happened to mums trusting their instincts and not questioning every thing they do?
     
  16. Oh Astra, you've missed at least 10 things off that list! Where's the bedsharing? The c-section vs 'natural' birth? Vaccines vs no vaccines? Nursery vs childminder? Stay at home vs part time vs return to work? And on and on and on :D

    I do disagree on your point about studies/research though. When research comes out that says "smoking causes cancer" we don't say 'Ah but that's just what it says today and it'll say something different tomorrow" - assuming the research has been conducted properly and is reliable, we take it into consideration when weighing up whether to smoke or not. I totally agree that mums should follow their instincts but in a world saturated with parents being told what they should be doing by the media, friends with children, friends without children, grannies, aunties, old ladies in the street, it can be difficult to tune all that out and listen to what your instinct is telling you. And plenty of new mothers don't feel like they have any instinct because our exposure to babies isn't anywhere near what it was 50-100 years ago so we're entering the world of new parenthood completely blind in lots of cases.
     
  17. And reusables vs disposables - I missed that one and maybe that's my one area of judgey-pant-ness!
    Yeah I take your point, if the comparison with lung cancer is a teensy unfair. You are right that instinct is drowned out because our generation seems to be bombarded with information, and there is a desperate desire to do the 'right' thing. I guess with the studies thing as a history teacher I'm suspicious of sources without questioning them to some degree, and it seems there are books/studies/oral anecdotes to support all views, depending on what you want to argue.
     
  18. Yeah, it wasn't my best example but I was listening to the bathroom being destroyed before bed and posting at the same time! :D
     
  19. kittenjames

    kittenjames New commenter

    I confess...I judged a mum today at toddler group.
    Usually i couldn't give a hoot how other mummies choose to parent their babies as long as they're loved BUT today I had a real moment of judgy-pantsness as a mum was explaining why her 1 year old had a black eye and cuts on her face.
    'I'm trying to teach her not to be fearful of adult chairs and that babies don't need to sit in high-chairs to eat.'
    I judged her, I believe she's wrong. Bad me :p
     
  20. Well I think you did have a point there kitten.. There's arguing over the finer points of whIch exact week your baby is ready for SIDS and there's letting then fall from a height flat on their face. That's pretty harsh.
     

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