You Have Been Judged: A Letter To All Women
"Lest Ye Judge"
When you read all the hypothetical judgements that come from different schools of thought on having children, birthing, feeding and childrearing, then you realise that we don’t half judge each other!
Mom, Lucy, takes a look at all the different ways we cast judgement:
I judge you for breastfeeding your child until he’s now three, even though you can’t stop because he doesn’t want to stop and wants the comfort of it at night.
I judge you for not breastfeeding your child longer than eight months, even though she never latched for you and you had to combination feed, pump and use a nipple shield.
I judge you for breastfeeding in the first place. It’s disgusting, ruins your body and makes the child way too dependent on you. Formula is just as good, look at all the happy and healthy formula-fed kids running around.
I judge you for never breastfeeding or even considering it, how could you do that to your child? It’s tantamount to child abuse to feed them formula. Besides which, don’t you know it’s the best way for your own body and boobs to bounce back?
I judge you for having an ‘assisted birth’. Don’t you know that natural is best and labour pains are there for a reason?
I judge you for languishing back in the dark ages. If you needed another major medical procedure you’d get painkillers wouldn’t you? The epidural is amazing.
I judge you for giving your child an ice cream at two years of age. It’s bad parenting. I won’t give my child anything sweet until she’s at least four. You can’t stop it at school, but you can prevent it in the home beforehand.
I judge you for not giving your children anything with sugar in it. Sure, the minute they have something sweet they will go mental. You may as well introduce them to it now and not make a big thing of it.
I judge you for staying in all the time because you have kids. We used to go out together and have the craic - and now you’re in every weekend and I resent it, not the kids, but your negligence of our friendship.
I judge you for having no children. Your partner might want them and you’re depriving him. It’s very busy and we get no time to ourselves but it’s worth it and you’re missing out. Why are you being so selfish?
I judge you for thinking my life is unfulfilled because I don’t, and never will have children. I don’t need children to make my life ‘whole’. I am truly happy in my life and career. I don’t need your pitying looks and your never-ending comments. Save them for someone who cares.
I judge you for being so ‘well-turned out’ every time I see you. When do you get time to do your hair, makeup and nails? I barely have time to pee most days. You must be neglecting your child in some area in order to find the time to pamper yourself.
I judge you for turning into a frump. How could you let yourself go in the name of children? It takes ten minutes to put some make-up on. Don’t use your kids as an excuse to go ‘savage’.
I judge you for having no interest in my life because you’re ‘so busy with your kids all the time’ to ask me what’s going on in mine. You’ve no idea that I am going through IVF - it’s not happening yet for us and it’s heartbreaking. You never ask.
I judge you for thinking that just because I have kids, that I don’t care about what happens in your life. I have no idea if you’re trying for kids or not, and I feel I’m being patronising asking if everything is okay with you. As if I am saying: ‘Look at our wonderful life and poor you’, I feel awful. I am not sure what to do.
I judge you for letting your child watch cartoons at only 9 months-old, that is just deplorable, how can you do that to him? It’s a tough road - no TV - as they’re hard to keep still. So, get help from your partner to mind them when you’re cooking, etc.
I judge you for saying that a child can’t watch any TV until they’re two? It doesn’t ‘ruin’ their lives, they can learn from cartoons. How are you supposed to cook dinner without stressing if they’re okay, or change their nappies without poo going everywhere? Yes, it’s a control mechanism, but you need some leeway in your life! I’m a single mum, how am I supposed to cope otherwise?
What Do You Think?
Do men judge each other as much? Is it in our nature as females to live and let live? To leave other women alone? I don’t think so. In the last three years, I have judged others along the lines of a few of the above, and I have wrestled with my own decisions about bringing up my daughter. I don’t think my husband has agonised so much over things.
Is it not a mechanism to distract ourselves from what’s really important? Do we not have life stresses enough, whether we have children (or don’t - or never will), to be judging each other on a constant basis? Maybe you agree with some judgements and are perhaps outraged by others, the idea that we judge other mums or non-mums resonates with us all.
Perhaps there’s fun in judging others, who knows? Maybe, it’s what makes us better parents? But you can be guaranteed one definite in all of this: You Have Been Judged. It’s up to you to care about that fact, or just get on with your life and do your best.