Judge Not, Other Moms

by Samantha on September 21, 2011

mom and baby

“Judge Not, Other Moms”

I had the pleasure of having a great lunch with a friend and her new baby recently.
As a first-time mom, she, like all of us, has quickly learned what her daughter’s various cries mean, as only a mother can. After all, she’s the mom, right? Who would know better?

Apparently many other “seasoned” moms.
My friend told me how incredulous she has been at the unbelievably ridiculous and presumptuous comments people have made to her when she has been out with her little girl.

Her daughter’s cries have been the catalyst for comments such as “she’s hungry, you should feed her,” and “when was the last time you fed her?” as well as other beauties. The subtext is that my friend is not taking immediate care of the needs of her own child.

Where is the line drawn when it comes to providing advice? When did a stranger’s baby become part of the public domain, and the catalyst for derision? Not to sound like a “Debbie Downer” but there are plenty of folks out there who seem to just want to rain on other mothers’ collective parades. Now whether this desire is a result of schadenfreude, a feeling of superiority or otherwise, the result is the same: hurt feelings and often added insecurity on the part of the mother. For a new mother, it’s particularly jarring.

It’s been many years since I had my first child, but I remember the time like it was yesterday. Entering the world of parenthood is daunting at best, and every move that you make as a new mother is one that you question yourself about, as you’ve had no frame of reference about your decisions. Are you doing it right? Why is he or she crying? What have I done wrong? These are all questions that we ask ourselves and we figure it out along the way. The last thing a mother, particularly a new mother needs are comments that shake her already tenuous confidence. Questioning her abilities about her child only makes things worse, not better.
We’ve been having children for millennia and the human race has fared just fine. Like our moms told us, ironically, mom really does know best, especially when it comes to their babies. And so for these lovely people who are trying to “help” via inferences that the already stressed mom is not doing things well enough, kindly back off. The kids are alright.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Moms: What are the most incredulous comments that you’ve received from strangers about your babies?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm

What a great post! It's so true! I honestly can't think of a specific example, but I know it happened to me. I did notice, though, by the time I had my third son, people really didn't chime in as much. I guess they figured if I was hauling around 3 kids, I may have a clue as to what I was doing.

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championm2000 September 22, 2011 at 2:22 am

We were out shopping with the twins, and a lady stopped us to talk about her twins. Perfectly fine, except Emily starts wailing because we've stopped moving. So I am rocking the cart back and forth, trying to move on without being rude. The lady says to me, in all seriousness, "Your baby is crying."

Um, yeah. I kinda noticed already :-|

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Samantha September 22, 2011 at 2:28 am

@Anonymous
Thanks for your kind words!

It really is amazing what people think is appropriate to say to other moms. I guess they never learned about erring on the side of caution and saying nothing, if they had nothing nice to say.

Thanks for your comment :)

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Samantha September 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

@championm2000
Melissa, some people are unbelievable! Wouldn't it have been funny if you had responded "oh really? She's crying? I hadn't noticed."

Thanks for commenting!

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Holly Ann September 22, 2011 at 4:00 am

I have to say that I feel pretty lucky in terms of strangers not saying things like this to me (family is a whole different story though!). More than anything, I've just gotten a lot of those ridiculous twin questions like "Are your [boy/girl] twins identical?"

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Samantha September 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

@Holly Ann Yea, Holly – the things people say to twin parents is a whole other blog post!

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Jenelle September 25, 2011 at 12:16 am

Great posts and so true. Sometimes it is not even the comments that people makes..its more of the looks that they give. AS if we can actually control when our babies cry or when are kids get cranky because they are tired. It just irritates the hell out of me that people are so judgmental and we are in a society where people think that they have right to say what they want when they don't even know you….sad part is that if I were to slap that person in the face or cuss them out then I would be wrong!

Reply

Samantha September 26, 2011 at 3:21 am

@JenelleHi Jenelle,
Yea, it's pretty unbelievable what people feel they have the right to say to a parent. I find that the best solution is to either say something that makes them realize that their statement is out of line, or just downright ignore them!
Thanks for commenting.

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