Monday, February 24, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong


There's been a lot of kumbaya mommy business hitting the Internet of late. Mothers are raising their collective voices to say, "Hey, we may approach motherhood differently, but we're all in this together. Watch us film this touching viral video while hugging. As of today, motherhood is a Judgement-Free Zone."

Mmm-hmm. Just like how school is a "drug-free zone."

There are co-sleeping parents, homeschooling parents, cry-it-out parents, attachment parenting parents, free-range parents, non-GMO and hormone-free parents. And, frankly, you all sound batshit crazy to me. Because, yes, I'm judging you.

Before the Sisterhood of the Elasticized Pants comes for me in the night though, let me ask this: Why do you care if I or any other mom is judging you? I think lots of things are crazy, like decaf coffee and people who touch bugs. Check it out: I may be the only person in the English-speaking world who doesn't understand the appeal of The Princess Bride. Frankly, I prefer Robin Wright's character in House of Cards. That alone could merit a visit from Child Protective Services. Do you enjoy The Princess Bride and fondling spiders? Well, there, there. Rest assured that you are the better person.

I think we do ourselves (and even our kids) a diservice to suggest that judging is inherently wrong. We use judgement to make sound decisions. For example, I think most professional body builders look like a hot dog the minute before it explodes in the microwave. Thanks to judgement, I will never take up body building, and have thus avoided a life of steroid injections, spray tans, and exercise.

It's when we start believing that our judgements are the gospel truth that we get into trouble. It's when we prop up our self-worth by foisting our judgements on others that we pave the road to crazy town. Do you get what I'm saying? My bulging hotdog may be your powerful beefy treat, and that's okay. Just, ya know, shut the hell up about it.

Because you may not be able to fathom why anyone would use cloth diapers or opt for formula or feed her son so much birthday cake that he goes on a vision quest . . .


. . . but I bet you can remember the days when you would do anything for an hour of sleep, when you felt so clueless and afraid that you binged on shoddily written parenting blogs, when everyone in your house was sick and the dog needed to be walked and it had snowed and you were out of toilet paper. You did what you had to do in whatever way you had to do it. 

So, when I hear you telling your shy little girl that she's a "pretty, pretty princess," I'll stifle my urge to add, "or a pretty awesome political scientist!" And when you see me slipping my 1-year-old a few spoonfuls of ice cream to ease the teething blues, I'd rather you not suggest I reexamine my relationship with refined sugar (which, by the way, is the most enduring relationship of my life). We are doing what we have to do, even if we're doing it all wrong.

16 comments:

  1. Jess, you rock. I am so excited about being reacquainted with both you and your writing. And I can't wait to meet your child. Even if I then judge you. :) Don't judge me back, though. I don't think I'm tough enough to take it.

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  2. Anonymous in this case is Meg, btw.

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    1. My dear Anonymous, thank you! If my son hasn't given himself up for adoption after he catches wind of this blog, I look forward to introducing you.

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  3. Wait a minute! You didn't finish that thought! What the hell did you do when it was snowing and the dog needed walking and we were out of toilet paper???

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    1. I didn't say we were out of diapers, did I?

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  4. Loved this Jess! Ah, and I knew you when.......
    Regards,
    Kate's mom.

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    1. Oh my -- you knew me when it would have been scary to think of me as a mother! But Kate and I, we did allllright in the kid department, I think.

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  5. Can I judge you for noshing an entire bag of Doritos? Doritos are pretty good though so judging would be swift.

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  6. Word, Rappadappa! So glad I got to meet you this weekend.

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  7. I have NEVER understood the Princess Bride hoopla. I haven't even been able to finish it. Judge away ;)

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  8. I'm sitting here clapping. I love this because yes, I'm sick of the "don't judge" preaching. I did write a post about something similar not long ago, but my point is this: Yes, I judge. I admit it, because I sometimes think other parents are just plain wrong. BUT, there's no excuse for an attack. I keep my judgment to myself, where it belongs.

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  9. Bloody awesome! Hear, Hear Hear! (wait, when people say "hear hear hear, I assume it's "hear" as in "hear ye," or "hear this sh!t" but maybe all this time it's been "HERE!" "here is the wisdom?" CRAP)

    Anyway. YES. I can't believe I missed this post when you posted it and I'm so happy I know you IRL. We should go to a playground together and complain about the People Who Exercise.

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  10. Wait, wait. I am judging you if you have NOT read the BOOK of the Princess Bride! It is very much your style, darkly, slyly cynical, practically inventing the concept of meta, and with a vein of deep nostalgia to balance it all out and to prove its cynical point. You have to have to have to read the book otherwise I will judge you and God might also throw a heavy thunderbolt made of first editions of The Princess Bride. The rest of what you say, spot-on, as usual.

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  11. And I can't prove I am not a bloody robot because I am one of those nutty co=-sleeping parents who is so bleary eyed in the morning I can't type or talk! But I hope I punched in the numbers correctly so I could appropriately chastise you about The Princess Bride. And also to thank you for not telling me to love everyone and accept everyone because I can't and tutus on toddlers are bloody awful and I will always judge them even without knowing the circumstance!

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