I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought it was a bit ranty. And a bit ‘last year.’ So I didn’t post it. Then yesterday I was reminded yet again of the perils (and inappropriateness) of judging other parents. So here it is.
Parents can’t win.
The other week, we were drinking too much wine. On playdates.
Then we were abandoning our kids to go shopping for the day. Well, Rachel Stevens was, anyway. At least for a whole 10 minutes.
Both incidents, of course, sparked debate. And criticism from others.
Yes, perhaps we do sometimes tuck into a glass of wine at 4.00 PM. And yes, perhaps Rachel Stevens did (or did not) leave her kids in the car alone for 10 minutes. So? Perhaps they were in sight. Maybe she got caught up in a queue. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. The point is, neither of these things are any of our business. The law doesn’t say either’s illegal. So if it comes down to personal judgement, how is it anyone else’s place to judge?
Our kids. Our rules, surely?
Support. Don’t judge.
And I just wish parents could be left alone.
To parent as they feel best. Otherwise, these judgments are just another thing that we have to worry about. To feel bad about. To add to the list of things we are already doing wrong, depending upon which way the tide is flowing. (Whilst looking over our shoulders to see if anyone’s clocked us as we scuttle off to post a letter in a letterbox, as our kids watch on, ‘helplessly’, from the car.)
After all, many of us now-parents were raised outside a pub on the backseat of a car, with a bottle of Coke and a packet of Golden Wonder. For a lot longer than 10 minutes.
Seriously though, where will judging other people’s parenting end? Why do others feel the need? Sadly, sometimes mums are the worst offenders. In judging other mums. For having different parenting styles. Different boundaries. Different ideas.
And sometimes, it’s difficult to believe this judgement comes from a place of goodwill or care.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Parenting is a minefield that we’re all just doing our best to navigate, without detonating yet another toddler tantrum.
Most of us are already our own harshest critics. We don’t need any more. So please, let us make our mistakes as gracefully as we (and our children) will allow.
Because when Hillary Clinton said, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ I don’t think she meant like this. She was most certainly referring to the positive aspects of parenting in communities.
Not the judgmental, guilt-inducing and downright mean ones.