Judgment-Free Motherhood: Yes, Please

Do I look tired or malnourished to you???
Do I look tired or malnourished to you???

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?

PhotoShop Pepper Bath PS
Squeaky Clean





14 comments on “Judgment-Free Motherhood: Yes, Please”

  1. Haa..I get enough of this jugdement from left & right..
    Just go on for what you believe in..
    No matter what u do, we all will be judged by others anyway…
    Just do what’s best for u & ur family..
    And it’s not that hard to ignore critics as we thought..as long as we have enough self-confidence..that’s what I believe in:)
    Kisses for ur kiddos..

  2. The worst is when a relative casts judgement your way…especially if it happens to be your Mother.My daughter is going through….dare I say…oh, I am just gonna say it…a BITCHY phase. She just turned 4 and she is quite literally a little miss Dr Jekle and Mrs Hyde. One second she is a darling angel and the next she is freaking out becasue she dropped her blanket. She loses all sense of manners and proper behavios and resorts to demanding whininess. I am fairly certain that we are getting judeged for it based on the comments and looks. If fact were on a smaily trip recently and my daughter was overtired and started acting up. She was fighting with her brother over a toy and I handled it my way. My Mom was watching and said, “Now if that really teaching her the right thing?” I lost it. I looked at her and said, “if you have a better way of handling things by all means speak up and tell me, otherwise let me handle things with my daughter, my way” Well maybe I shouldn’t of spoken so harshly and she certainly got upset with me. But it annoys the crap out of me when people judge. They are not your kids so stay out of it!

  3. Cara, clearly, if the sign of a thriving child was beautiful hair, Aiven would kick everyone’s butt! And for the record, how freakin dirty can a two month GET?! Enjoy your time with your beautiful family, you deserve it!

  4. I SO want to respond to each and every comment but the the girls and my toddler are keeping me super busy. I wanted to thank all of you for your comments and support. They mean a great deal to me. 🙂

  5. Sounds like our house! Recently I saw this thing on facebook about the CTFD method of parenting and thought, that’s our method of parenting. It works. Kids are happy, healthy, and loving. Thanks for the post!

  6. My daughter’s dermatologist told me not to bath her daily. Her dry skin needs the natural oils. So, fast forward 7 years to baby#3. Do kitchen sink spray downs and pool lounging count as a bath for a seven month old? If not he bathes once a week (I think). As for feedings, my 2.5 year old eats only when he wants. I make sure it’s healthy food going in but he won’t eat. He is skinny, but not malnourished. He runs and plays so he is far from starved. My mother feeds him cookies and all these other “special treats” that we just don’t buy and tells me he’s too skinny. He’s not a linebacker! I feel judged as a mom often, my boys are cloth diapered, we have rules, chores, allowance, and I say NO. I don’t buy a million things for birthdays or Christmas (so tragic if you ask my mother!). I buy consignment often. I expect the 7 and 2 year olds to be the best behaved kids in a restaurant. “But they are just kids…” No, they aren’t. They are MY kids and I can impose my own rules (or lack of) as I please since I know what fits my family. Not the neighbor, well meaning relative, or caregiver.

  7. He looks like the picture of health to me (as do your little ladies!!). And honestly, does ANYONE bathe babies (or even kids) every single day?? I used to bathe the boys once a WEEK and give a good wipe down in between when they were babies, and now it’s 2-3 baths a week depending on sweat and sunscreen and bug spray frequency. Keep up the awesome work! 🙂

  8. Unacceptable to get judgments from “caregivers” ~ unacceptable! You do what works for you and screw the rest! (My baby hasn’t bathed in probably a month. So there.) 😉 And btw, I think these kids coming on are new proto-types to show us what’s possible ~ less food and less sleep is something we will ALL be evolving to. I absolutely believe that! No only is your kid thriving, he’s higher dimensional! ♥

    1. Guurrl…in the words of my best friend’s grandma ‘if he ain’t howlin or leakin HE AWRIGHT!’ But seriously- what works for your family works. If there were negative consequences don’t you think YOU would be the one who knew that? My nanny just asked me when we plan to ‘phase out’ my 11 month old’s afternoon nap/nighttime bottles. I said, ‘when she’s ready’- this kid self-weaned off nursing, stopped the swaddle on her own, and attached to a lovey on her own. So nanny says ‘because it’s time’. Whose time? Not hers! Sheesh.

    2. Oh thank you for saying that Kate!! My babies haven’t had a full on proper bath in almost a month either. They do however go in a kiddie pool once a week, so I choose to call that a “bath.” They like the pool MUCH more than a bath so who am I to argue??

  9. Ha – my kids still only get a bath or shower a couple of times per week, or on an “as needed” basis, and they are in elementary school. Babies and prepubescent children don’t really generate body odors like adults – washing the face and hands at bedtime is usually sufficient. Most books recommend not bathing babies everyday because, as you point out, it’s not good for their skin.

    When people make comments like this to me, I guess that I just feel bad for them because they don’t know what they are talking about.

  10. I never bathed my kids daily either until they moved into the toddler room at daycare (and that’s only because they come home filthy every day from the sandbox!). All you have to do is look at the beautiful smile on that boy to realize that you are doing exactly what you should be doing!!! All of those other people can just go bugger off! 😉

  11. Totally agree. How does your child’s bedtime impact anyone else? As long as he’s thriving (which he clearly is), who cares? Until or unless it becomes a problem for you and your family, do what you think is best. And bathing babies every day? I never did that either, so I guess I’m a bad mama, too.

  12. It’s so hard to be immune to other people’s criticisms, especially when it relates to how we are parenting. I don’t have any advice other than to say I think you are an incredible mama and I could care less when you let your kid go to sleep and how often you give him food, it’s your choice and you know him the best. Also, I only bathe/shower my toddler like once a week, if that makes you feel any better ;-P That confession probably just made some people cringe! The point is, who cares what other people do? Like you said, it’s not like any of these things impact OTHER people so what’s the problem?

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