Real talk today.
I’m a new Mom and I have never felt more judged or analyzed in my life – by OTHER MOMS. I’d like to say that I’m the type of person that doesn’t care what others think, and I’m becoming more and more like that as I get older, but the truth is – I do care what others think of me.
If you’re pregnant with your first little bundle, I want you to know that this article isn’t all doom and gloom! But, I do feel like you deserve a heads-up on what’s out there.
There are 2 kinds of judgement going on here.
- Direct – Someone is telling you that your parenting choice is wrong or is suggesting that it’s wrong.
- Perceived – You think someone is judging you based on a look you’ve noticed or the way they are talking or treating you.
Since Aurora was born, I rarely ever wear make-up before I leave the house and I’ve even gone out a few times not realizing that I was still in my PJ pants.. oops. These aren’t the things that bother me. What does bother me is how I’m viewed as a mother. I take this newly appointed role very seriously and the reasons I choose to parent in a certain way is because it’s important to me and I feel that it’s best for my daughter.
I will never change the way I parent, solely based on another Mom’s judgement, but that doesn’t mean that the comment or look I just received has rolled off my back and I’m not thinking about it 4589 times that day.
Here are some of the scenarios where I have either been judged as a new Mom or perceived judgement (plus a few more common ones):
- CIO (Cry-It-Out)
Do you decide to let your baby cry themselves to sleep at night, to teach them independence and self-soothing? Or have you chosen to snuggle and rock them to sleep?
- Soother – Yes or No?
Is this going to cause nipple confusion if you’re breastfeeding? Will it affect the shape of their teeth? Will you have a 5 year-old who can’t live without their soother? Or maybe your baby just needs help with a little extra soothing and none of the above will happen.
- When the baby cries
Should you pick your baby up when they cry? Moms are judged for spoiling their babies when they pick them up every time they cry, whereas other Moms can be perceived as “cold” for not picking the baby up when it cries.
Did you make the decision to have your baby sleep with you in the bed? Or maybe in her crib in your bedroom? Maybe you didn’t plan on it or maybe you did. Either way, it’s your decision.
- Dressing the baby incorrectly
Is your baby outgrowing their snowsuit and it’s too tight? Did you forget her mittens on a cool day? Have shoes magically gone missing from their feet and now you have nothing to keep their feet warm and have to improvise?
- Breastfeeding vs. Formula
Have you chosen breastfeeding or formula feeding? Perhaps you didn’t have a choice and your milk didn’t come in like you had hoped. Maybe others are suggesting that you give your baby formula to help them sleep through the night?
- How to “get through” an outing
Ok. I honestly still feel like I’m winging this and Aurora is 10 months old. Any advice ladies? I’m sure I’m being judged every single time I’m out with her.
- The baby has too much “stuff”
Why does she have so many toys? She can’t possibly need all of those books. You’re buying her another thing?
- Difficulty stopping a crying baby in public
Toughie… especially when you’re in the throws of the first few weeks of motherhood. You feel like ALL EYES are on you.
- Moms age – too old or too young
Are you being viewed as too old or too young to have a baby? Guess what? It’s none of their business how old you are.
- Postpartum weight – to lose or not to lose
Whether you’re 2 months postpartum or 2 years postpartum, everyone has their own story. If you’re having trouble losing baby weight, you are not alone and should never be judged for this.
- Returning to work or staying home
Some Moms are excited to go back to work after being home with their baby and some Moms dread it. They dread it to the point where it affects their emotional well-being and their feelings should be taken seriously. Let’s be empathetic Mamas.
- That’s the wrong way to discipline your child
Don’t tell them “no”, don’t give them time-outs, don’t let them run wild down toy store aisles, walk out of the store if they throw a tantrum, don’t bribe them with stuff. Do your best and I will too… this is hard stuff!
Moving right along with the full honesty in this article, I want to say that I’ve never realized that I judge other parents from time to time… not something I’m proud of. Since becoming a Mom, I am definitely more aware of when I judge another parent and try to re-frame it. I don’t know their story, their day, their life. It’s not up to me to judge them on whether that was a good or bad decision. In fact, no one should be judging them. I would even say that they shouldn’t even be judging themselves.
Motherhood is so friggin’ hard. We need to be a lot easier on ourselves and if we’re having an off day or forget the baby’s hat and wrap a blanket around her instead, whatevs! Moms for the most part are doing the best that we can and we should be celebrating our daily accomplishments.
So how do we rectify this issue of Moms being judged? I urge you to copy and paste this section and plaster it all over your social media for your family and friends to see and understand. It might be easier having me tell them than you having to explain (or defend) your feelings 🙂
- Be Respectful – to the other mom offering her advice, I know that you are a Mom too and that you’ve done this before, but I have chosen to parent in a different way. Please respect my decision to parent differently. Every Mom has their reasons for parenting the way they choose and this should be respected.
- Perfection Isn’t Real – I’m going to screw-up sometimes. All Moms do. We are all doing the best that we can. When you see a Mom having a hard time or messing-up, empathize with her and ask if there’s anything you can do to help her.
- Don’t Offer Advice That Isn’t Requested – please, JUST DON’T.
- Parenting Is Hard For Everyone – let’s help each other. Instead of judging a Mom who has 3 kids under 3 and is struggling to keep them from running off in 3 different directions, offer to lend a hand!
- Reflect On Your Own Motherhood Experience – it’s possible that some moms have forgotten what it was like to have a newborn, toddler, 5 year-old, etc. Another thing to note is that not all babies are the same. Some babies are harder than others. Some personalities are “louder” than others. Each child is different and unique and should be parented according to their specific needs.
Pregnant Mamas-To-Be: Please, please, please start being vocal about unwanted advice before your little one arrives. It will make it much easier once they are here. Or, just post this article for all of your friends and family to see 😀 When your little sweet pea comes along, do your very best to let the judgies roll off your back and know that YOU ARE AMAZING! You are doing the best you can with your perfect little human and your choices are valid and correct! Do not feel the need to defend them. If you find yourself feeling judged and need an ear, I’m always here and love chatting with new Mamas 🙂 Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some friends and family members that are real gems. You’ll know they’re a gem because you will feel comfortable confiding in them with new motherhood struggles and not worry about them judging you. These are the ones whom you’ll ask for their advice. These are also the ones who won’t offer their advice unless you ask for it. I LOVE GEMS!
Mom-to-Mom judgement in new parents is rarely talked about. I don’t even talk about it with my closest friends. It’s just sort of a feeling I have and try to let go of over and over and over again. Writing openly about how Moms judge new Moms is important to me, because I wish I had read something like this months ago. It’s so comforting to feel reassurance from others who are in similar shoes. I hope I’ve helped you to feel better if you are experiencing judgement from other Moms.
P.S. You’ll notice that I didn’t talk about my specific views on how we parent. If you’re curious about any of the ways that I’ve personally been judged and what we have chosen to do, please send me an email and I’d love to chat about it 🙂
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