The Judgement Game.Posted: 2014/02/17 | |
I had always considered parenthood a job; one that you could fail at miserably, succeed at brilliantly, or fall somewhere in between. In a high school English class, I was asked to invent a law and explain how I would implement it. My law was that all soon-to-be-parents had to take a class on parenting, a law which obviously would be difficult to mandate, although I still believe necessary. Even before this assignment, even before high school, I knew that parenting was the most important influence in a child’s life, negative or positive. What I didn’t expect parenting to be, was a competition, one that I most definitely did not sign up for. There is an abundance of parenting techniques, books, theories, websites, blogs, et al, all dedicated to an idea of parenting, and the many that will tell you how your way is wrong. None of these however, compare to that of other moms raising their children right beside you. I cannot help but wonder why we haven’t grown passed the “mean girl” mentality when aren’t we, especially as parents, supposed to be setting a standard to accept everyone.
When one becomes a parent, an incredible phenomenon occurs at the same time, every single person believes they have the right to tell you how to be a parent. A thick skin must be built up, and may I suggest building that thick skin long before the baby arrives. This is not a woe is me, but more of a love letter to the parents believing that parenthood is meant to be a competition. Or maybe, proof that my skin is still far too thin.
I have been hesitant to share aspects of how I parent on this blog or to even update on how Harlow Jude is progressing (which says a lot because I don’t hide much about myself) because I know so many people compare their parenting to others. I have defended myself to other parents comparing their babies progress, just to make them feel better, which is so silly because I’m not judging. Harlow Jude is incredible. She has been sitting since she was four months old, rolling at five months, crawling at six months, standing by herself at seven months and now as eight months comes to an end she is almost walking, taking steps two at a time by herself. She waves hi, she turns the lights off and says “mama”. I don’t work because I knew that if I ever had a child, being their parent would take precedent. A little bit of my high school self exists, knowing that I am the number one influence on Harlow Jude’s life. I spend all day teaching her and engaging with her. I speak French with her, I use sign language with her, while I read I try to sign along. We listen to French lullabies and every once in awhile I speak Spanish, of what I know. Harlow Jude sleeps with us and I breast feed her far too often and will most likely continue into her toddler years. As much as we do not want her to be spoiled (she’s an only child, I’m sure she’ll be a little spoiled), she will absolutely be loved. We will coddle her a bit too much, we will always ensure she is safe, and one of us will be home for her until she goes off to school.
I don’t do any of this to compete; I don’t even discuss it now for competition sake. I simply bring it up because I haven’t. Harlow Jude has taken over my heart in a way I never knew existed, and this blog allows me to talk about her so I don’t have to bore you when I actually see you. I have found myself being censored here and this should be the last place I am. My day to day interactions in New York City with Harlow Jude are hard, sometimes laughable, sometimes really mean. Maybe I’m just coming off a hard day of too many judgements, but please don’t judge my parenting or compare your child’s progress to mine. You and I will not be perfect parents, it doesn’t exist; now, I’m glad we’ve taken that unrealistic goal off the table.