Vertically challenged, full-time mama of two children; a boy and a girl. Wife to a husband who knows me too well. Past work experience includes interactive marketing, public relations, and teaching. Self-proclaimed worrier and over-thinker. Loves the sun, cookies & cream ice cream, and lounging on the couch with a good foodie magazine.

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Mom Judgment

Before I had my first child, I really don’t remember feeling like people were in my business.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I just mean that as a pre-baby adult, I didn’t feel like people were watching what I was doing and having strange judgmental feelings about it.  This all changed when baby number one entered the picture.  For some reason, as soon as you become pregnant, every stranger in view has an opinion or piece of advice for you.

I remember pushing the stroller on a crisp autumn day and an elderly lady saying loudly to her friend, “Aren’t his feet COLD?” as she gave me a look and walked on.  Immediately, I felt guilty.  But, after a few seconds, I was a little perturbed.  Doesn’t she know that MY baby hates socks?  That he won’t keep them on his feet?  Whatever.

During pregnancy and parenthood, there are so many decisions to be made.  Epidural or natural birth?  Breast vs. bottle?  Pacifier or no pacifier?  Cry it out or not?  Get a Bumbo or just put the wee one on a blanket?  Oh, the things you ponder when parenthood beckons.

You must assume that most parents do put some thought and effort into how they are choosing to raise their child.  Nonetheless, there will always be moments when you feel judged as a mother.

When my son was born, it was a very long and painful labor.  I walked the halls of the hospital for hours and hours and hours and my little guy just wasn’t descending.  After 32 hours, an unplanned C-section, and some tears, he was born and I was in love.

Afterward, in my haze of exhaustion and numbness, a nurse came in and confirmed that I had a C-section.  I told her that I had, but that it wasn’t scheduled, and she sighed and said, “Oh, that must have been really disappointing for you.  You know, that you had such a long labor and couldn’t deliver naturally.”  I must admit that I felt a little like a failure.  Like it was my fault that I had to have surgery.  I didn’t like her.

No matter what you do in life, you will never please everyone.  This I know to be true.  Even when you have the best intentions, someone will call you out with some crazy tidbit.  Nursing is a controversial topic for many.  It’s a personal decision.  No matter what, however, when you have a baby, inquiring minds want to know.  Once my son turned one, a relative came to me and said, “How long are you going to do THAT?”  Another person jokingly said, “I hope you aren’t going to nurse him until he’s five!”   Um, no.

In the end, each mother is different.  We do the best we can.  As women, we should support each other no matter what we choose to do.  And as people, we should appreciate the fact that behind every mother is a story and an experience that no one else has.

Remember that next time you see a mama at the grocery store with a whiny kid…

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Comments (5)

  1. Alison Kallstrom 06/02/2011 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks for all the comments. I think that all moms have had a moment or two when they feel judged in some way. I know that having children has given me an appreciation when I see a mom out doing errands and having a rough time. 🙂
    Winnie – don’t worry about irking me! I welcome your feedback and agree that sometimes we may feel we’re being judged even if the other person has good intentions.

  2. Winnie 05/16/2011 at 5:16 pm

    It’s interesting how we all interpret things a little differently. When I read about what your nurse said, my immediate feeling from her comment was that she was trying to be empathatic to your struggles/difficult labor, etc. I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean for you to feel bad, but I guess this is that delicate art in “knowing when and what to say at the right moment”.

    I for one, am a big failure in this ancient art of wisdom. What helps me sometimes (with feeling like I’m being judged or what not) is reading into people’s intention. Most people don’t intend on being hurtful and so even if it came out wrong which I know it often does for me, I know they mean well and I move on.

    PS. Hoping this comment doesn’t irk you, or anyone else ;-).

    As PBS Kids often says, “It’s all how you look at it.”

  3. Jenn Furber 05/14/2011 at 12:07 am

    This is so on the mark. And, really?!? A nurse said that to you. With a healthy babe newly in your arms, that’s all that matters. There’s so much judgement and unsolicited advice that goes around. “Oooooooooh. You’re not nursing? Huh,” overheard once at a library story time. From a dear friend, I learned early on that the next time I saw a new mom feeding her newborn a bottle, don’t judge her for not nursing. That might be a woman whose heart is breaking because she can’t. “behind every mother is a story and an experience that no one else has.” Perfect.

  4. Erin 05/12/2011 at 8:03 pm

    Way to say it my c-section sista! I think as mothers we have that “our way is the best way” feeling which is part of the guilt factor in being a parent. Did we do it right, will our child benefit from this or should I have done that. It all comes down to at the end of the day we have to know we made the best decision that we could at that moment and that is that. I am all for some constructive feedback and such, but everyone does it different and that has to be ok too.

  5. Raejean Roberts 05/12/2011 at 4:34 pm

    When I see a mom loosing her cool with her child in the store, I always cringe thinking how my children must see me when I get to that point. It makes me feel bad for the kids and the mom, and I definitely have compassion for both!