The plan was to write this "we're all in it together, let's just be nice to each other" column. But then I do my background and damn us parents are a judgmental bunch. Really. We are pathetically, ridiculously insecure to the point of being dismissive of anything that challenges our views, opinions, or ideas.
Is it the media's fault for trying to report on wars that don't exist like that between working moms and stay-at-home moms? Is it the parenting experts' fault for presenting their ideas as true fact and dismissing all others so that we're forced to join camps?
Or is it maybe our fault? Are we so worried that we're doing things wrong that we feel we have to proclaim to the world that WE ARE RIGHT and everyone else is wrong?
Who knows. It's probably everything tied up together into a neat little bundle of judgement making.
But I figure, you know, someone out there is going to judge me on everything I say or do. I've seen it already in responses to my columns and amongst other bloggers in the hate mail they've received. I`ve heard it at playgroups, church, the school yard - anywhere parents gather.
So if you`re going to judge, get your facts straight:
- I am currently still nursing my 19 month old. It doesn't turn me on. He bites.
- I force-weaned my daughter (2nd child) when she was 21 months. She'd probably still be nursing now if I hadn't. I was pregnant with number 3 and everytime I nursed I had to throw up.
- My first child didn't talk until he was three. My second child was almost two before she walked. My third child has been behind in everything.
- Sometimes I put my children to bed without a bedtime story. Sometimes it's because I let them watch a movie and stay up late. Sometimes it's because I'm too damned tired to read a story. Sometimes it's because if they don`t go to bed and leave me alone I will probably beat them.
- I think about beating my children. I joke about beating my children. I have actually caught myself making a fist at my side while "talking" to my children. However, I do not beat my children.
- I have, however spanked them, rarely and when the occasion called for it. I have also threatened to spank them. I'm not happy about it, but I have. It has worked, but is not a tool I want in my parenting arsenal.
- I let them cry-it-out - or I tried. It's not for us, though.
- I let them sleep in my bed.
- My 5 yo wets his bed.
- My 18 month old is not now and will not soon be potty-trained.
- I let them feed themselves from about age 8 months. Messy? Yes. But way less boring for me than standing over them with a spoon.
- I sometimes let them climb up the slide at the playground.
- I have occasionally let them throw rocks on the slide and watch them tumble down even though I know it makes the slide dirty and your child will get dirty pants from sliding after they've done it.
- I don't let them watch violent tv shows or movies.
- My son's call their penis a penis - not a bird, a dick, a wiener, or anything else equally cute.
- My daughter calls her vulva a vagina. It seems to be the more accepted term and is almost anatomically correct. She does not call it her front-bottom or her bum or her tushie. If you call it that she would loudly -and with attitude - correct you.
- Sometimes I let them go out with no underwear on. Pure laziness.
- Sometimes I let them go out with no socks on. See above.
- I don't make beds. I don't make my kids make their beds.
- I have not enrolled them in music, dance or sports lessons and we don't engage in as many family activites as we should - anyone who judges me on this one must have at least three children and only one income.
- I found tummy-time boring.
- I find dinkies, barbies (yes, my daughter has barbies), and the majority of their games boring - but I do it because they love it.
- I took them on long, cold, windy hikes when they were babies and they only wore two layers of clothing and no hat.
- I have been known to buy their Christmas presents at the thrift store.
- I don't always remember sunscreen.
- I never have bandages in the house
- Oh yeah, I blog. I blog about parenting and whatever else striked my fancy and sometimes I ignore the kids and/or housework to do so. I also write about my kids in my parenting column.
In the meanwhile, here's why I may judge you:
- If you never even attempted nursing because you thought it was gross or would ruin your boobs than I think you're an idiot. If you tried it and it didn't work out for you than kudos for trying.
- If your child under the age of ten regularly watches violent TV and movies - or plays violent and sexualised video games than you're a clueless nit whose child's bad behaviour as a result of those influences will affect my child.
- If you think it's cute to dress your three year old daughter in gold lame mini-skirts and belly tops and have her wiggle her bottom and gyrate to Beyonce than you should have your children taken from you before they are molested as a result of your actions.
- If you believe any advice you are given or ideas you overhear without actually looking into them and thinking about them wrt your family and your children than you're not putting enough thought into parenting and will probably end up blaming "the system" for your failures.
So, do review and let me know if we can still be friends, okay? Cause I really hate talking about people behind their backs.
Please do direct all hate mail to my gmail account: firstname.lastname@example.org