I wanted to share with you this blog and my thoughts about why I am amused by this guy and his perspective.
I totally think he’s right on the money here. Except… well, he just did what he said he doesn’t like. Which is fine, but… he knows it and he did it anyway. Go ahead and read it… you’ll see what I mean.
I’ll wait. …….
Did you notice? It’s something I fight against daily in my own blog and the mom group and he did it to be clever, but that doesn’t excuse it. It’s just a pretty package making you smile about a dark and nasty aspect of parenting we all hate and endure while at the same time perpetuating every aspect of it.
I mean, it’s nice, really and his message is clear enough- don’t tell other parents what to do. Cool. I get that. Except… um… you just told me what to do by telling me not to judge. You are judging parents who judge. See? It’s a never ending, finger shaking, “stop questioning me”, parent bashing experience. It never, ever stops not even when you tell people to stop because then, all you are doing is finger-shaking them, too, so naturally they’ll become defensive and stand on their own soapboxes to tell you why they have a right to be judgmental.
The thing is, I actually totally agree with him and I’m pretty sure most other parents would too. We don’t really have much right to go telling people what to do. THAT is not the problem. The problem comes in when YOU, personally have to defend your parenting decisions against those who think it’s perfectly okay to judge your methods, either in a snide, nasty way, a sneaky “oh honey let me help you” kind of way or just by outright telling you that you are wrong.
See, parental judgy-ness doesn’t start out as a soapbox to tell others they are wrong. It starts out as a step stool to reach above the noise of others telling you that YOU are wrong. The louder it gets, the higher you climb. The more they judge, the more proof you need- the more psychological journals you stand on, the more ER doctor papers you find the more sociology studies you collect to show them, the more “peer reviewed” sources you feel like you need to find to show them that you know you’re not a horrible parent and THEY are the ones that have it all wrong.
Eventually, the small stool gets traded in for a sturdy soap box that can withstand any wave of windbag nonsense that gets thrown your way and it can become just as nasty as the ones that drove you to build it in the first place. I believe the level of nasty put out is directly equivalent to the level of nasty received.
When we judge, it’s because we have already spent years BEING judged. So, while I do enjoy this guy’s idealistic perspective of, “let’s just all be friends, love your kids and let everyone else be”, that’s not really realistic. If we could just ignore everyone who judges or looks down upon us and our decision as parents, I’m sure many wars would have been avoided and maybe we could if it was just a random person we didn’t know… but, what if it’s your mom or dad? Sister? Brother? Pastor? What if it’s some respected, family friend who literally barks at your child, or worse… making them cry and when you ask them what happened he then tells you “Well, someone needed to tell him no” and just stands there gloating in his “I’m a better parent than you” perspective? (Yes, that actually happened in case you’re wondering) Are you supposed to just “love your kids and ignore everyone else”? I WISH I were that good. I really, really do. I have a pretty Zen-like nature about a lot of things and I’m extremely easy going as a parent, but when it comes to this stuff, it’s just not something I’m very good at.
The fact is, human nature is kinda nasty when we get backed into a corner and feel threatened and we have this icky habit of acting like selfish, entitled 13 year olds who compare ourselves to those around us, especially as parents. It’s okay to admit that, I mean, it’s only natural… but it’s the fact that we do it, then pretend we DON’T do it that gets us into trouble and I think it’s worse for parents than any other class of citizen of the world, because parents all share a commonality in the fact that they have children. It makes us similar. At least, that’s what many people would love to believe. You have a child in the grocery store, I have a child in the grocery store… your child is having a tantrum, mine is too… we give one another the “look”… you know, the look of “I am WITH YOU”, It’s a look that gives a pass of honest understanding to the other that says, “I’m not judging you as a mom because your baby is crying” and that look can be like a light in the storm of screaming in the frozen food section that makes our day bearable and we are SO VERY grateful for it! …But that’s about where the solidarity ends, because the second one parent begins to correct that behavior, it’s very likely that whatever common ground you think you are standing on with this other mother will crumble beneath you. Why? Because some parents yell. Others spank. Others reason. Others redirect. Others ignore. Each parent is working on finding a system that works best for their child and is probably pretty solid in that choice, but it’s likely different from what you may have done. It may turn you off completely and grate against your nerves, tug at your heart and feel offensive, inappropriate or for some, just flat out abusive. So that’s it then, isn’t it? There’s only so much we can pretend to have in common with other parents. We all have kids… but that’s about it. Everything else, and I mean EVERY SINGLE THING is different, even if it’s not. I expect you will understand what I mean by that, so I won’t take the time to explain it.
To sum up my rant here, this is the deal; At some point, somewhere, you, as a parent, will believe your way is the right way and others (not everyone, but some people or even one person on one specific topic but not all topics) are wrong. You might not be all violent and preachy about it and it may not even effect you enough to give it a second thought, but it doesn’t mean you won’t think it. You can say it in a lofty, kitchy way like this dude by saying, “just love your kids, man… stop being jerks to each other”, which is fine, mister daddy blog writing guy, but don’t think for one second that you’re any better than those parents you were so totally flabbergasted by with all their “making every parenting decision a controversy” ways… you can go ahead and sugar coat it anyway you want, but you’re still saying you think your way is better because YOU don’t hate on other parents.
See? We’re all the same and absolutely nothing alike at the same time… which does sorta make us the same, so we should just be nice. (I think that just made me a little dizzy) I look at other parents and I don’t judge them, I don’t tell them they’re wrong. I stand by this guy and his statement that we shouldn’t judge, just appreciate that everyone’s struggle is hard and different and be open to what others believe and how they do things. The rose colored glasses of judgement make me believe that by doing this, I’m not being judgmental, but is that actually true? If a parent thinks, “I respect their process but I wouldn’t do it”, isn’t that judgement?
I just think we should all be honest with ourselves here and get over this notion that everyone’s voice is special and everyone is right even if they all believe the completely opposite thing. Not EVERYONE can be right. We want to think that because it makes us feel better when we make bad choices. That doesn’t make it true.
I don’t know daddy blogger, maybe that was your point all along and I just took it the wrong way getting all defensive because I haven’t had enough sleep this week and I’m planning a 3 year old’s birthday party.
I guess that’s all I wanted to say… what do you think?
Also, on a completely irrelevant yet related note… my cat is a jerk and I’m pretty sure he wants to see me go insane. I’m pretty sure this entry was a LOT sweeter and more intellectual the first time I wrote it.
Before he deleted it.