I have no idea what caused it. None. It’s not something I felt like I needed to change. It’s not something that I was working on. It just came out of nowhere. What happened, you ask? I 100% do not care about other women’s parenting decisions. No, really, I don’t.
Let me back up.
Some of you know me well and some of you barely know me and maybe some of you were linked to this blog through a friend of a friend and you don’t know me at all. For the ones who don’t know me, let me back up. I have two children and we’re expecting our third. With my first I was a basket case. I wasn’t a basket case because I thought I was better than anyone. I wasn’t a fake basket case because I thought it’s what I SHOULD do. I was a legitimate basket case because that’s the type of mother my first child created (through no fault of her own).
I had severe anxiety. Severe. I worried about everything. Everything. I cried alot. I locked myself in my house and rarely left and shut out important people. I hurt feelings. I did not care about anything in the entire world other than keeping this little, helpless being alive and happy. It felt like a big, overwhelming, impossible job. It felt like I was one less-than-perfect decision from ruining her life. I felt less than. I doubted myself. I had so much going on with ME that I couldn’t see past it. It was exhausting. I didn’t understand how other women were handling motherhood with such ease. They weren’t faking it. They just legitimately didn’t freak out like I did. I saw them and their “carelessness” as inferior. I judged. I judged SO HARD. I yelled from this blog and Facebook and from any platform I could find about how my way was right. I made comments to my husband “the baby is only THREE WEEKS OLD and they let her spend the night for a date night, can you IMAGINE???”.
When I had Dane, I chilled a little more. A little. Not much. I wasn’t AS vocal about my judgments. I voiced them in safe places. I only dogged the formula feeding moms from the safety of the Facebook breastfeeding group. Ha. I was passive aggressive. My anxiety was still higher than what ‘most’ mothers probably experience, but I cried less. I freaked out less. I couldn’t lock myself in my house and “just keep the baby alive” with Dane because I had Elaina and she needed me too. I couldn’t keep everyone out. I had to go on with life. Maybe not as normally as other (better adjusted) moms did, but it was definitely an improvement from my postpartum experience with Elaina.
I guess my anxiety and TREMENDOUS self doubt and the inadequacy that I felt manifested as straight up judgy bitchiness. My way was the right way because I was psycho and I cared too much and no one cared as much as me so I was the best mom. I had to play that game because I was SO unsure of myself and filled with so much panic that I couldn’t take a look inward. I was sure, deep inside, that I was messing it all up or, at the very least, on the verge of messing it all up. I projected. I projected all of my messedupness (new word) onto others.
I don’t know how it came to be, like I said above, but I legitimately don’t care anymore. Truly. I know that a lot of people CLAIM they don’t care about the choices other mothers make, but they really do. I was there. “Oh, I really don’t care if you work or stay home.” But deep inside, the BETTER choice was staying home. “I don’t care if people breastfeed or not.” But, then I would get batty when I heard someone didn’t even TRY. Women who formula feed say they don’t judge breastfeeding moms, but they make comments in passing about the toddler who is (gasp) STILL nursing. Women who stay home say they don’t care if working moms work, but then they make comments about how someone else is raising their kid. Women who work say they don’t care if women stay home, but then they make comments about how much TIME they would have if they were able to stay home and how “easy” it is. No. We’re all judging. All of us. All of us because we have to prove that what we’re doing is hard. That what we’re doing is legitimate. Do you know why? Because we doubt ourselves. Because we feel guilt.
We feel guilt and doubt and so we have to spend our time loudly (or passive aggressively) or without even noticing remarking about how what WE are doing is right or hardest or best. Who cares. Really. Who cares. The answer used to be: Diana! Not anymore. If you decided to work or stay home: cool. They are both HARD. Life is hard. Life is hard when you’re a mom because you a responsible for another being. It’s not a competition. If you decide to breastfeed or formula feed: cool. They both come with challenges and self doubt. They are both hard because you’re a mom and you are responsible for another human.
I knew there was a significant shift when someone (and I’ve heard this several times) told me (upon learning that I plan to nurse #3) that breastfeeding is disgusting. It did not bother me. I didn’t feel personally attacked. I didn’t feel “sorry for them that they missed that bonding experience”. I just laughed and we moved on to a different topic and that was it. Some people think it’s gross, and that’s ok. Some people do it. Some people try it and it works or try it and it doesn’t and some people don’t even try at all. That’s all ok. A working mom recently told me that if she was a stay at home mom she would be able to take her time grocery shopping and shop in peace (rather than rushing through it to go retrieve their child from the sitter). I just laughed inside. I didn’t get my panties in a knot. I didn’t shut her down and explain to her what grocery shopping looks like for me because I didn’t feel the need to prove myself. I know (now) that my job has value, and I don’t need to paint a big ole ugly picture of what it looks like in order to get props.
We all have different experiences. We all make different choices. If you think it’s nice (or in ANYWAY helpful) to post a meme about how “it’s called a chestclip why is it on the belly blah blah blah” then you’re mistaken. It’s not nice. It’s not helpful. It’s not a good look. Do I judge you? No. I was there. If you think it’s you job in this world to prove to a mother (who already knows the risks) that she shouldn’t put the carseat on top of the shopping cart, it’s not. You know why? Because you don’t care about her child more than she does. You don’t. You have your own children to make decisions for. If you think when someone posts an article about how awesome breastfeeding is that they’re calling you out as a sucky mom because you formula feed, they’re not. You feel self induced guilt about it and are projecting. Do I blaim you? No! Or you know what? Maybe they are! Maybe they are posting an article about how magical breastfeeding is because they are so unsure of themselves in almost every other facet of mothering that they cram breastfeeding down the throats of others. It’s just their insecurity talking. Don’t we all have insecurities? No one is thinking about you as much as you are. No one.
I’ve reached the point where I do not care. Zero care. I legitimately do not judge the mom who makes different decisions than me. And, I’m not just saying it. I mean it. If you didn’t even try to breastfeed or if you are breastfeeding a 3 year old or if you don’t have to work, but choose to, or if you think breastfeeding is disgusting and should only be done in private. Cool. It’s all cool. I can only be the mom that I am. You can’t fake parenting because your kids will break you down. I am the person that I am.
The only thing that hurts my feelings (and I’m working on it) is when I see women categorizing other mothers. The crazy moms vs the normal moms. The crazy moms care just the right amount, but they annoy all of Facebook and the world with their oversharing and the normal moms are chill and don’t annoy anyone and they post juuuuust the right amount of kid things, but they don’t care enough. Excuse my French, but it’s all bullshit. Trust me when I tell you that we are already beating ourselves up enough (even if we put on the front that we think we are the perfect parent) and we don’t need others adding to our junk. We just don’t.
Anytime you see someone post an annoyingly judgy article or meme or status just read it like this: “I doubt almost everything I do, so, I’m going to beat this one thing (that I feel like I actually do well) to death.” It might help you not to get mad, annoyed or feel judged.
So, if you, as a mother, ever felt judged by me you were probably right. I was sitting on my high horse making comments about how much better I was than you. It’s terrible and embarrassing, but it’s true. Please know that it came from a place of immense self doubt. Immense. And, I’m sorry.
I guess now I’ve recognized and accepted that I’m not a perfect mother. I will never be the perfect mother. I am and can only be the mother that I am, and that’s enough for me. And, others can only be the mothers that they are, and that’s enough for them.