"Do you ever punish your child?" a friend asked me.
I replied quietly, "Yes, I do. Only when it's absolutely necessary."
"Well, you know boys should be punished. That's how they learn," came her swift reply.
If you're a parent, chances are someone somewhere are judging you and thinking that you're doing it all wrong. I've been judged countless times when I had Shayne and now, with my second baby, it doesn't stop. I'm not saying that I am being judged every single day, but yes, I've been judged a handful of times for the way I'm raising my children.
Here are just some of the comments I've received so far:
"Why do you sleep with your sons on the same bed??? Do you know that they will be dependent on you in the future? You need to teach them to be independent! They shouldn't sleep with you on the same bed."
"Have you tried feeding formula to your baby? Or have you tried feeding water to him? I don't think he should be breastfed exclusively. And if you keep breastfeeding him, he will be too attached and dependent on you."
"Why have you gone back to work? You should spend more time with your baby! He needs you now and you shouldn't leave him for work."
"Your son is too skinny. Are you feeding him enough? He needs to eat more, you know."
And these are just some of the comments I've received. Trust me, there are many many more. :(
Parenting is a tough job. And what makes it harder is knowing that your every move is being critiqued by your family, friends and even strangers who don't even know you at all.
We judge parents who are too poor to provide for their kids, parents who are too rich and thus spend too much on their kids, parents who are over 40 years old for having more kids, parents who are under 20 years old for having a kid, single/divorced mothers who choose to keep and provide for their children all by themselves (which I have NO IDEA what's so bad about that) and the list goes on...and on....
To me, parent judging by other fellow parents are the worst. Some strive to be the best parent that they have turned themselves against each other. And sadly, we then judge ourselves as parents because we know we're being judged by other parents. Therefore, this creates a vicious loop and it should be stopped. Once and for all.
Truth be told, none of us know what we're doing is right or wrong. We all want to be good parents, but what defines a "good parent" is really subjective. Does it involve buying wholesome organic food for our little ones? Does it involve spending 12 hours a day with our kids as compared to 6 hours a day?
I'm writing this post to say one thing. It doesn't matter if you're a stay-at-home mum, a working-from-home or outside-home mum, an AP (attachment parenting) mum and whatever other terms that have been categorized for all parents out there.
At the end of the day, we're all good parents. We're all good mothers. We may do things differently from one another, but one thing is for sure, we all love our babies exactly the same.
And let's celebrate that. Let's stop the war between parents today.