I read a piece on HuffPo Parents today called 'Apologies To The Parents I Judged Four Years Ago.' Written by blogger Kara Gebhart Uhl, it basically tells the story of 90% of people pre-kids, and then 90% of us, post-kids. The other 10% of parents who can't relate to this piece are full of shit.
Before becoming parents, many of us, myself included, looked at what parents were doing with their kids and scoffed. I can remember coming back from a family member's house and saying, "cheese sandwiches? For DINNER?" like arsenic was being sprinkled between two pieces of (WHITE!!!) bread and being fed to the unknowing children.
Let the record show we eat many grilled cheese sandwiches - for ANY meal.
In short, I don't judge much anymore. Or at least, I keep the judging to a minumum. After all, I don't like feeling judged for my choices. Firstly, you never know what's going on inside of someone else's world and secondly, unless a child is in danger of any sort, it's really not my (or your) business whether their apple is organic or not. To all you Judgey Judgerson's, I'll let you in on a lil secret - being judgmental is not the key to anyone's heart.
I admit, this transformation didn't happen overnight. I had a friend who decided to Ferberize her first child - at four months no less! - thus getting in the way of our New Year's Eve plans (made months in advance since we were both new moms). I hated the idea of "cry-it-out" and no baby of mine was going to be made to feel sad in her crib even if mom and dad hadn't had anything resembling a full night sleep in nine months. However, a week later, she had a four month old who was sleeping, well, like a baby, while we were still being woken up night after night.
Oh, and you child leashers? I still can't wrap my ahead around that but hey, it's not my therapy bill.
That said, I can recall giving a bottle to my almost asleep baby while she lay flat on her back in her crib (midnight feeding, she would eat then sleep. A dream.) I've been known to let my kids watch too much TV after a long day at work, all of us cuddled together enjoying - GASP - Spongebob! before bedtime. There are times when they go to bed a few minutes before their regular bedtime - without the requisite 20 minutes of reading - because the day has kicked Mommy's ass and she needs serenity, like, now. And other days we get to bed too late because I missed my babies more than usual that day. Selfish, I know.
And even after not supporting my friend's choice to let her baby cry, I did it with my second child. After allowing baby #1 to rule the bedtime roost out of sheer desperation, I just could not do it the second time around. So I ate my words, and baby #2 wasn't so lucky - I was more prepared to battle it out this time. So while I wouldn't recommend letting your baby sleep with you, I do get it. And if you choose to take baby in your bed, I'll tell you I'm sorry, but I won't be judging.
For the most part, I think we're doing just fine.
We eat whole grains as much as we can and do lots of art together. We bake, we practice spelling, we dip broccoli in hummus. We have never had to leave a restaurant due to a disruptive child nor are their eyeballs surgically attached to video games to get them to behave so we can eat (though, if this is your thing, cool.)
I work full-time. I sometimes feed my children chicken nuggets or fish sticks for dinner, other times they eat roasted kale and tilapia. Before I was a parent I was a highly judgmental person. Since then, I really care way less about what other people do and more about what I should be doing.
But all around me, I'm aware that judgment abounds. Much like the blogger who wrote that piece, I can sense it. But I don't really care.
As long as I'm ok with what I'm doing, it's all good.
Before you judge yourself.
If you're not ready for judgement."