Why do we judge?

First off, I’d like to apologize for my absence over the last couple weeks.  As I mentioned here, I hurt my shoulder a few weeks ago.  I eventually went to get it checked, and it appears that it is worse than I though, which has made typing more difficult than I anticipated.  Since I do tons of typing at work, I really needed to rest it at home.  I will try to be around more this week, but let me tell you, it’s way harder to with your arm in a sling than I thought it would be, haha.

Anyways, I went out for coffee this week with a girlfriend that I hadn’t seen in months.  It was so great, getting to sit with her and chat, enjoy a slice of cheesecake (yum!), and a hot drink, all without any little people yelling “Mummy!” or “I need to tell you something”.  For both of us.  Her child is the same age as mine, and we actually met when we both put our 3 month olds into baby music class.  Our kids became good friends and so did we.  One of the coolest parts of our friendship, for me, has been that I have had someone who has a child the same age as mine (they are only 2 weeks apart, actually).  Someone I could talk about all the stages and challenges with, someone who understood and sympathized with me because she was experiencing it too.

As we were talking, the subject of 3 year old tantrums came up.  We both related stories of leaving our kicking, screaming, tantrum-ing child on the floor of the grocery store and simply walking down the aisle, telling the kid to let us know when they were finished.  Of course, the kid was in sight at all times, but what else can you do?  I’ve also carried a howling flailing child out of a store over my shoulder, and experienced the looks of disgust and distain, the scowls of judgement, from other people. Don’t get me wrong, this is a rare occurrence in our family, but sometimes it happens.  It’s life.  I think that it happens to everyone.  Actually, I KNOW it does.

How do you deal with tantrums or freakouts in public? What do you do if it’s someone else’s kid?

What we talked about, and couldn’t quite wrap our heads around, was the judgement.  Why do people, especially ones with young children, glare and tsk tsk at you?  Is it that people think that it will never happen to them?  Or is it that they think that you are a bad parent?  Are their children older and they’ve forgotten just how difficult and embarrassing it can be?  I’ve been there when other people’s kids have done the drop and flop on the floor, and I always try to at least give a sympathetic smile, to let them know that they are not alone.   There are so many things that we, as parents, judge each other on, and mums are especially guilty of this, I think.  Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, cloth or disposables, plastic or wooden toys, private or public school… The list goes on and on… Why do we do this?

As parents, we try to make the best decisions for our families.  What you do with your kids is your choice, but so is what I do with mine.  We love our kids, and are just trying to do the best that we can.  Parenting is not a race, or a competition.  We need to support each other, as much as we can.  This is a hard gig, and no one wants to do it by themselves.  Sometimes, all you need is a smile, or an “I’m sorry, I’ve been there too”.  Remember, next time it could be your kid.

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