Judgy McJudgington

All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. ~ Francois Fenelon

Lately it seems as if parents (mostly moms, let’s face facts here) have been expending an awful lot of energy trying to tear each other down over all of the various issues that we deal with: breastfeeding (yea or nay? for how long?), diapering (cloth? disposable? none at all?), sleeping (co-sleeping? crib sleeping? scream it out?), and every other decision that parents have to make today. This has been going on for a long time, don’t get me wrong — the so-called “Mommy Wars” have been going on for years, but most of the time it consists of minor skirmishes and attacks of opportunity. A guerrilla war, if you will.

But then, last week, along came that damn TIME Magazine cover, and we went from All-Quiet on the Mommy Front to the fucking Epic Battle of the Century. The whole internet is abuzz with accusations, denigrations, aspersions, and incursions.

EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! (Courtesy of Jim’s Dalek Site)

I’ve already made clear my annoyance with all of that. I’m pretty much a “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” kinda girl, and all of this anger and irrationality makes me uncomfortable.

But in thinking about it, I realized that I’m not immune to the pull of war. In spite of all my efforts to maintain an open mind, to be understanding and empathetic, I still find myself judging people. Sometimes VERY harshly. And who are those people who manage to get my pacifistic goat? What Mommy War faction manages to crawl under my skin? Stick in my craw? Various other unpleasant-sounding clichés?

I judge people for being judgy.

That’s right. Do you comment on a blog and say how it’s SO EASY to be a stay-at-home-mom (even though you’ve never been one)? Do you write posts about how anyone who would give their child formula is poisoning that child and should have him or her taken away? Or maybe you rail against how smug all those rich moms with nannies can be when they’re talking about the superiority of cloth-diapering? I JUDGE YOU.

And don’t you think I don’t know how to use this sucker.

I judge you for lacking empathy. I judge you for refusing to admit that the other side has merits, that different families exist in different circumstances. I judge you for trying to cut people down in order to make yourself feel better about your own decisions.

And when I’m seeing this behavior, and judging you based on it, here’s what I think: YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE.

You’ve made choices that are best for your family. That does not give you the right to tell other people that they’re wrong for making different choices. It ESPECIALLY doesn’t give you the right to tell them that they’re stupid, or negligent, or bad parents.

Yeah, maybe I’m overly idealistic, but I really don’t understand why we can’t all support each other. I’m really lucky in a lot of ways, and I face my own particular challenges as well. I’m assuming that you are the same way — you may be lucky in ways that I’m not, and your challenges may be different from mine. And that’s okay. Hey, maybe we could even help each other. At the very least, we could refuse to use language to hurt one another.

So here I am. I never got into the Mommy Wars, and I’m hereby promising the world that I will do my utmost never to enlist. No matter how right I think I am, I will try very hard not to make you feel bad for thinking differently from me. I will not post trollish comments on blogs or articles just because I find their opinions abhorrent. I will strive to express my opinions in ways that are educated, thoughtful, and impersonal. I will stand up for myself when I need to, and I will back down when faced with people who are clearly bat-shit crazy. Because there is no sense in battling bat-shit.

Peace out, yo.

27 responses to “Judgy McJudgington

  1. I’m totally with you. One of the things I tell new parents is that if they want to know, I can tell them what worked or didn’t work for us–but I have no way of knowing whether those same things or approaches will work for them, because they’re not us. Shoot, they may not even work with a second baby, if we’re lucky enough to have one.

    It must be nice to know it all.

    • I want to think that most of these people are just immature and insecure, but sometimes I also want to add “mean” to that list. Urgh! It all just makes me so mad. It’s hard to write a funny ha-ha humor blog when you’re spitting nails about being surrounded by assholes.

  2. I’m with you too! I get all riled up by people who claim to be tolerant and then get all judgy about things… seriously folkks, look up the word already! I am completely intolerant of intolerance… I also judge jugdiness. No apologies.

  3. I’m going through this same series of emotions over something entirely different, and I never know how to express my frustration to the people doing the judging. If I point out that they’re acting EXACTLY LIKE THE GROUP THEY’RE CLAIMING TO BE BETTER THAN, I get either blank stares or (worse) a contemptuous eye-roll, because clearly I don’t get it. Do you know the song “I Was Hoping”? It’s like that. Sigh.

    • I’m thinking about forming a group of misanthropes to get together semi-regularly and talk trash about ALL THE REST OF HUMANITY. You are welcome to join, if you like. We will have many snacks and excellent cocktails.

  4. I’m am on baby number three, and I will freely admit that it is basically a crap shoot. Every baby (even within the same family) had different needs, as does every mom. When my first was a baby, I would do anything to stop her from crying…now, it’s cry city around here and I just go about my daily business because I have to or the world will stop turning. Unsolicited “advice” is the only thing that makes my hand actually clench into a (face punching) fist involuntarily.

    You know what’s great though? Having another mom who’s willing to learn along side you. Good mom friends are hard to find. But they rule once you find one.

  5. Love it! Thankfully I have yet to be the receiving end of a judgy mom (at least that I know of). Either most people are supportive or smart enough to keep it to themselves until they get home haha. I think we raise our eyebrows when we see other moms doing what we’re not doing because we’re so firmly set on how we do things. It really does take a bit of effort to put yourself in others’ shoes (in life in general, not just parenthood) so I’m not too surprised with all the mommy wars and claims that such and such method isn’t as good.

    • It does take effort, and I can’t say that I never fail in my attempts to put myself in someone else’s shoes; I do feel, though, that if we all made a real effort to at least try to understand each other, or at least to withhold judgement, the world would be a better place. Not to mention that then our children would see us modeling that kind of behavior, which can only lead to them becoming less judgmental people. Whew! That was a lot of serious for me. I think I need a drink now (but don’t judge me for it!)

  6. I’ve enjoyed your blog so much. I think we might have been separated at birth…

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