Don’t get me wrong. Some people are judging you.
But not everyone. Not even most people.
When you’re a mum (or simply a parent – according to my main source of male parenthood, fathers are not immune), there are so many conflicting views. So many different approaches, so many different theories, and so much to learn.
So. Very. Much. To. Learn.
Every child is different. Every child needs different things. And you have to find what those things are.
Naturally, you seek some advice. From trusted sources, experts, health professionals. From friends and family.
But you also receive advice. Often. From anyone. And everyone. Without asking for it.
You also hear reactions and comments from people when they learn what you are doing.
It can become frustrating as you add people’s observations, suggestions and prejudices to your own exhaustion, doubts and second-guesses.
When you’re in this state, and already feeling insecure and defensive about what you’re doing, you can be quick to hear judgement where none actually exists.
Quick to defend your position – vehemently – to a confused and startled person who hadn’t attacked you in the first place.
A confused and startled person who had simply responded to what you said.
They say: You’re not doing a dreamfeed? I found my child needed a dreamfeed to sleep through the night.
They mean: Exactly that. Their child needed a dreamfeed.
You hear: Are you KIDDING? You’re NOT giving your child a dreamfeed? You are NOT fit to raise a child! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!
They say: He sleeps HOW long? Mine never slept that long during the day!
They mean: Exactly that. They can’t believe how long your child sleeps, as their child didn’t sleep that much.
You hear: Are you KIDDING? You’re letting your child sleep for HOW LONG during the day? You are NOT fit to raise a child! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!
They say: Oh. That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of that approach.
They mean: Exactly that. They’ve never heard of your approach, and they find it interesting.
You hear: Are you KIDDING? You’re doing WHAT? You are NOT fit to raise a child! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!
When you’re judging yourself, it’s easy to assume that everyone else is judging you too.
Some people do. Most people don’t.
Take a deep breath. Listen to the actual words being spoken.
And if the actual words are more like this?
They say: Well, I did/didn’t do that and my kids turned out just fine, thank you very much.
They mean: I can’t BELIEVE you are not/are doing that. Are you KIDDING? You are NOT fit to raise a child! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!
You hear: Exactly that.
Just smile, nod, and change the subject.
Because they’ve just heard this:
You said: I’m taking [this] approach to raising my child.
You meant: Exactly that.
They heard: I’m doing the OPPOSITE of what you did. I can’t BELIEVE you did things any other way. You are NOT fit to raise a child! HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!
Are you quick to hear judgement in the words of others? If not, any tips for de-stressing?