Are You Judging Me?
A-Z Challenge letter: J – Judging
I need to get something off my chest. I was sparked into action by reading of another Mum’s experience in a shop where an assistant chose to pass comment on her parenting decisions.
I have three children – which is not unusual. And whilst two of them are fairly close together in age (two years), there are five years between the eldest and the middle child. So I don’t consider myself to be over-run with young children, or in a different situation to many other parents out there.
And yet, when we go out together, it’s rare that someone doesn’t make a comment. Usually something along the lines of “You’ve got your hands full there”.
Have I? I have an eight year old, a three year old and a one year old. PK, aged one, is usually on my back secured with one of our wraps. It’s how we choose to ferry him around. Plum, aged three, walks everywhere. She’s a good walker and has been for a long time. We don’t have a pushchair. I’m not often laden down with masses of bags.
So when someone says “Wow, haven’t you got your hands full?”, what I hear is “Wow, aren’t your children a pain and aren’t you struggling to cope?” and/or “I am judging you”.
My children are not a pain. They are spirited I hope (I would be disappointed if they weren’t), but they have impeccable manners and are well behaved – we are often complimented on how nicely they behave. I don’t consider myself to be struggling to cope (of course, I have bad days, as all parents do) – and when we’re out and about and people say I have my hands full, I’m usually mid conversation with the children about something exciting.
Perhaps they don’t mean any harm. Maybe they think it’s a nice thing to say, but actually, I don’t like perfect strangers commenting on my parenting. I don’t like being told I have my hands full, or they could never use a wrap (as if I hadn’t made sure it was safe before carrying one of my precious children in it). I don’t like perfect strangers saying how tired I must be from still breastfeeding. And whilst I’m at it, I don’t like other people telling my children what they can or can’t do, in my home, when I’m right there with them.
There, I said it.