What’s With All the Judgment?


Mommy Judgement

I have a friend who went through a hellish pregnancy, followed by a traumatizing delivery, followed by a debilitating bout of postpartum depression and almost two years after the birth of her child, suffers from PTSD caused by the pregnancy, labor, and childbirth.  She has chosen not to have another child.  Do you blame her?

Strangely, many people are very judgmental of her.  Rather than being understanding of the immense work her body did, of the sacrifice and pain she still deals with, people tell her it’s “cruel” to have an only child and that her son deserves a sibling, and she should just “suck it up” and get through another debilitating pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period.

Um…Excuse me?

I have so many responses to this line of commentary, many of them inappropriate for a nice blog like this.  But basically, they all boil down to, “yeah, it’s really none of your business.”  Because here’s the deal.  That little boy that she birthed is fed, clothed, has a beautiful house, a bed to sleep in, dogs to protect him, a loving daycare, massive amounts of attention showered on him from his own parents as well as family and friends.  That little boy is just fine. But I’m not sure my friend would be if she had to go through the horrors of pregnancy one more time.

So why do people care so much about her child-bearing plans?  Why do they think it’s their prerogative to comment on the family makeup of someone else?  Truly, I have no idea; it completely boggles me.

I have a rule:  if it doesn’t harm me, my loved ones, or a helpless child or other human being or animal, it’s probably none of my business.  While I can have an opinion about it, an opinion I may or may not share in the privacy of my own home with my husband, I have absolutely no right to judge another human being, another parent, on how they choose to compose their family, raise their children, or interact with their spouse.  And in my opinion, neither does anybody else.

Since becoming a mom, like all of us, I have read many a blog, and unfortunately, many of the comments.  I once read a blog post about a woman who tried everything with her 4-year-old, but he was being a terror, and there was nothing she could do about it.  Nothing worked with him.  So finally, one day, she swatted him on the behind.  Not hard, just enough to get his attention, remind him of who is in charge, and to instill a level of respect in a way that a 4-year-old might understand.  She never spanked him again.

Now, why would a mom share such a story on an extremely popular forum?  Is she proud that she “harmed” her child?  Is she wishing for other people to know that she’s a child abuser?  Um….no.  I’m pretty sure that’s not why.  I’m pretty sure she probably shared it so that the millions of us out there who are at their wits end trying the “calmly talk to a screaming, kicking, biting, out of control, toddler” method know they aren’t alone, and hey, this is what worked for me, not saying it’s right for you, but here you go, this is my story. Truly though, based on the comments, you would have thought this woman used medieval torture devises on her toddler.  The vehemence.  The disgust.  I swear a few people probably called CPS.

I get it.  Other parents don’t like spanking their kid.  That’s great.  FOR THEM!  But they actually feel the need to make a snarky, rude comment about this mother’s parenting abilities? I often wonder if these commentators ever consider the whole picture.

In both of these scenarios, my friend wanting only one child, and the blogger who lightly spanked her child once, it would seem to me that commentators are not thinking through their comments.  Rather, those who choose to anonymously leave comments, or not so anonymously criticize my friend, are simply reacting in a very emotional way to situations fraught with details that are extremely important for each decision.  My friend isn’t arbitrarily deciding that she’s done her societal duty, had one child, she doesn’t really like him very much, so she won’t have another.  And that blogger, from what I could tell, doesn’t encounter her whiny toddler on a daily basis only to throw him over her knee for a good old-fashioned whooping.  There is context to these decisions, extremely important, and highly personal context.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what strangers or acquaintances think about the parenting decisions of others.  But it does matter, tremendously, what people say about those decisions.  I know for a fact, that on top of all the mommy guilt already pushed upon my friend for working, or for breastfeeding, or for traveling with her husband while her kid stays in the loving care of an aunt for two days, that any stated opinion about her decision, her audacity, in choosing to not have another child, is only making her life that much harder.  I can only imagine the same is true for that blogger.  True, she put her story on a public forum for public consumption.  But that doesn’t give anyone the right to bash her.  Disagree, yes, we can have calm disagreements under the right circumstances.  But vehement claims that she has harmed her child irreparably for life is another thing.

As a new blogger, a mom, a member of society, I am embarrassed that there is so much obsession with other people’s personal lives that there is actually a common term now used to describe it, the aptly named, “mommy wars.”  I would urge all moms, all people, in fact, to think carefully before reacting to someone’s story.  Consider the facts, the context, the personal nature of a decision.  We all have enough on our plates, the last thing we need is to feel judged, when honestly, we’re probably already judging ourselves enough.  I may not agree with your parenting choices, but until I see true harm to your children, I promise to support you wholeheartedly mama, and I hope I can have the same support from you, for instance, when my kid eats Goldfish Crackers, instead of gluten-free, GMO-free, organic, $10.99 for 12 oz., soy cheddar biscuits. Because, thanks to Costco, that’s where we’re at.


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Elisabeth, a native of southwest Ohio, has recently moved back to her home state after 3.5 years in Dallas, TX, y’all. After having their son in early 2015, Elisabeth and her husband knew it was time to make the bittersweet decision to leave Dallas and head back home. Although neither Elisabeth nor her husband are originally from Columbus, it immediately felt comfortable and welcoming, home at last. Elisabeth is mama to a darling, wacky, and scrumptious one-year-old boy, Baby Bean, and married for over four years to the man who stole her heart with a smile junior year in college. Before embarking on her life-long dream of being a stay at home mom, Elisabeth attended law school in Cleveland and then promptly decided to become a real estate agent in Dallas. Elisabeth loves making lists of all kinds, squeezing into skinny jeans whenever possible, and truly believes nothing tastes better than that first cup of morning coffee (with lots of cream). Her favorite things include Cadbury Eggs, Christmas decorations, hotel room service, and watching Baby Bean grow and change each and every day, even if that means toddlerdom is upon her! Elisabeth is passionate about parenting, and loves to learn about the many different types of parents, child-rearing, and how individual families approach various, every day challenges. She hopes her stories can help others see a new perspective, understand that no matter what, they aren’t alone, bring forth a little bit of inspiration, and ultimately help other parents through this nutty job we’ve bestowed upon ourselves.