Judgment-free motherhood. It sounds idyllic and at the moment, very far away for me.
Why does everyone think they know better than me what is best for my children? I’m not quite sure why people think that anything I’m doing is wrong. My son Aiven will be three in September and by all accounts he is thriving. He is strong, smart, and funny with shiny hair and glowing skin, and has far more energy than we know what to do with. And yet, we get criticized left and right because he doesn’t eat very much, if at all, nor sleep much either.
He doesn’t go to bed ’till 10 or 11 and I would prefer he go to bed at eight so I can have more me-time, but I suppose what works best for him is different than what works best for me. And really, the three-hour-long cry-fests I endured when trying to “sleep train” him just made everyone miserable. Him going to bed when he is ready just works best for him and our family. Instead of getting kudos for not selfishly doing only what’s best for me (which is so hard…I’m an only child), I only get dirty looks. Does my letting my child stay up late somehow impinge on your freedom to set a strict schedule and bedtime routine?
When it comes to food if he’s hungry he’ll tell me…which is pretty much never. I don’t quite get it, and neither does anyone else. I think we could solve the energy crisis in this country if we figured out how this kid can bounce off the walls for 18 hours a day off a few crackers and chocolate milk. He doesn’t look malnourished at all, and in fact, he’s got the body of a Greek statue – slim hips, broad shoulders, muscular thighs. So why everyone tries to second-guess me and force feed him behind the back just don’t make sense. All it does is piss the kid off and make him not like you. It does not, in spite of your best attempts, get him to eat. (Who won that one? Just sayin’.) A few days ago I was packing some fruit snacks into his backpack and a caregiver said “Oh honey he doesn’t eat those”. I tried telling her she didn’t know what she was talking about in the nicest way possible. Sure enough, the very next day she very authoritatively asked that I pack him the fruit snacks because he loves them. While I felt validated that she saw the error of her ways, I didn’t get an apology and I’m sure it will happen again. Anyway, it goes to show that I know my kid better than anyone else…others’ judgments need not apply.
Recently I had another caretaker practically demand that I bathe my babies daily. It’s something I tend to do every few days because, well, time escapes me and I forget. (Can’t you just hear the judgment angels screaming “bad mama” down at me?) I don’t really feel the need to bathe my babies every day. Often it’s only their clothes that smell like spit-up, and once you change them the babies no longer smell like sewer rats. I also tried to explain that I didn’t want to upset the natural balance of oils on their bodies but she didn’t understand and I’m sure is tsk-tsking me this very moment. Can’t I do things differently without being judged a bad mother? My babies don’t have diaper rash, dry skin, or any other symptoms of filth so clearly they’re getting bathed often enough.
Yes, I am irritated. Why does everyone judge me and think that they know better than me what is best for my children? Does anyone else find this is as irritating as I do? Do you have any snappy answers to share that will help me put these unneeded judgments to rest?