Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Who Has the Time to Judge?

I've been spending too much time reading blogs addressing the problem of judging others and feeling judged where parenting decisions are involved. Its tiring and I can't help but feel manipulated by marketers of books and those who read these books and take offense. You can pretty much guess what the book is going to say (you don't even have to guess if you read the jacket or a book review) so why read it if you disagree? So you can attack faulty or distorted statistics? Who even cares about numbers when we're dealing with flesh and blood? I find it dehumanizing.

When I first became a full-tim mom, I was extremely judgmental of working moms. Why? Because I thought my choice was the best and disagreed with theirs -- and I knew darn well they were judging me ("you're going to stay home? I could never do that." Well, you could if you wanted to; I want to so it shouldn't be such a stretch to imagine. "I was so bored during maternity leave." Caring for infants can be boring, but they don't remain that way for long. "Don't you feel you're wasting your law degree?" Yeah, what with that lobotomy we're given when we resign after childbirth -- please, it didn't evaporate, its still there). I was also lonely, if more people chose full-time parenting I wouldn't be staring at nannies on the playground.

Life goes on, you meet other people, form playgroups. Eventually, you meet people who have made different choices and you realize that their choices work well for them. They are not you - so long as you're happy with your choices, what difference does it make? If you can keep in mind that you are happy where you are, its easier to shake off the subtle suggestion that you don't need as much intellectual stimulation as women who work.

We all face the prospect of being judged whenever someone makes a choice not in accord with our own. We can choose to parse it out and feel judged or we can decide that each person is free to make their own decisions, rejoice in this freedom, and get on with our lives. Thats what I need to do now.


Suzanne said...

It's taken a lot of soul-searching throughout my short life as a mother to realize that denigrating others' parenting choices was, in my case, just an attempt to feel better about my own. I think that now I am largely at peace with the decisions my husband and I have made, and as a result I am much less prone to being judgmental.

Marjorie said...

Hi Suzanne, I feel this way, too. Of course, I always have flare-ups of judgmentalism when I'm feeling attacked. I'm hoping that with time and self-discipline, I'll get past these as well.

clanlally said...

I still dont like Barney.