Have you ever been at a store or restaurant and your child has thrown one of those crazy tantrums that drive you up the wall and are so loud you feel like everyone is looking at you? Of course you have. We all have. And chances are everyone IS looking at you. It’s a horrible, gut-wrenching, embarrassing feeling, and all you want is for it to be over.
Now, my next question: Out of all those people looking at you, how many of them are parents of small children? Probably a decent percent of them. And, unfortunately, not all of them are giving you supportive, “I’ve been there” looks. Some of them are judgemental “What kind of parent ARE you?” looks.
This is something that has been bothering me for quite some time, now. As parents, we try to do what’s best for our family. We do what’s going to get us through our day. What works for one family may or may not work for another family. Some parents are cry-it-out parents and some are not. Some are stay-at-home-moms, some are working moms, and some are stay-at-home-moms who have help. Some moms let their kids be more independent and some prefer to cuddle their kids a lot. There are so many different parenting styles out there. As long as your kids are safe, healthy, and well taken care of, then no one should be judging how you parent your child.
I personally have a very rambunctious child. Evie has an amazing amount of energy and it’s not always good. She throws a tantrum that could rival a howler monkey. But, she’s 2, and this is a pretty common occurrence for a 2-year-old. Granted, she’s louder than most 2-year-olds, but she’s still a pretty normal kid. Of course, when she throws a tantrum in public it’s embarrassing and horrible and I hate every second of it, but I handle it in a way that I believe is best for Evie, my family, and myself. That should be good enough for those around me. Except it’s not. People choose to judge, to stare, to give dirty looks. The worst part is that it’s from other moms.
My husband and I did a variation of cry-it-out for our kids’ sleep training. It worked for us. My kids both sleep 12 hours a night, and they are well adjusted, loving, adorable kids. We didn’t do any permanent damage to them by doing this and I completely, 100 percent, respect that this does not work for some people. I also totally respect people with a family bed, because, if it works for you, then more power to you! You’ll probably end up with a loving, adorable, well adjusted child too. It’s because you did what’s right for your family.
But even though I have respect for all of those parenting styles and believe that what works best for you is what works, I still get constant judgement from those moms who don’t believe in cry-it-out. I get the ,“Oh, well, I’d NEVER do that with my kid.” Or, whispers behind my back, “Oh…yeah, I don’t know how she could do that.” Even from people I know. And you know what? It hurts my feelings.
I’m sure you’ve all been there. I’m sure you’ve all done something with your child that someone else thinks is crazy and someone has said something that has hurt your feelings. So, my challenge to you? Let’s stop judging and start supporting! If you see a mom whose kid is throwing a crazy tantrum in the parking lot, ask her if she needs help, or give her a supporting smile. If you hear a friend talking about how sleep training is so hard and you are a mom with a family bed, tell her you understand and wish her the best of luck. If you have a friend who is a working mom who’s having a really tough time and you’re a stay-at-home mom, offer to give her a hand sometime or just let her know you’re there for a chat. Let’s stop posting on Facebook and Twitter and wherever else we post about how one parenting style is better than another. Let’s start helping each other rather than beating each other down. We’re all loving mothers who need a hand now and then and we don’t need to be judged, we need to be encouraged!
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