Jennifer Pitt

Judge Not: No, Really – Don’t

Well, it finally happened to me. Someone decided to judge me on my parenting methods.

Because, obviously, I am a terrible parent. I can’t say I disagree: I like my alone time, I get frustrated with the constant no’s coming out of my own mouth, never mind the multiplied-by-100 no’s that come out of my toddler’s mouth.

After days of dealing with my toddler mostly alone (my husband works an odd-hours shift), I was nearing the end of my rope. And, lo and behold, it came on Saturday, right before we were leaving the house to go to dinner. My toddler squeezed half a tube of hand cream all over me (the cream being a Christmas gift from my husband and she is why I can never have nice things, apparently!) five minutes before we were leaving the house.

I was done. Enough. I had had enough. I tapped out, mentally. I decided my husband was handling her for the day, because today, too, was too much.

After the hostess spent the afternoon commiserating with me about how terrible toddlers can be and telling me I was doing the right thing by putting my daughter in a time-out for hitting me in the face,  I was able to relax and feel like I could face the tantrums again; the company had replenished my reserves and I was ready for another day.

Until Thursday came, and I answered a phone call from said hostess. It seems that someone else in attendance did not like the way I handled my daughter, and the hostess felt it was her duty to “address” that with me. The call started off badly, with her saying she didn’t like being the “bearer of bad news”. She continued with “What you are doing doesn’t work and you won’t listen to anyone else.” There was more, but I hung up before I let anything else sink in.

I think I mentioned earlier that this person had spent the afternoon encouraging me, telling me I was doing the right thing, making me feel better about how I was handling things? Yeah. That.

This hurt. A lot. I had said that afternoon that I was struggling, that I was trying anything and everything until I hit on something that worked, and that I felt terrible always saying no and feeling like I was always yelling. I had had many, many conversations with her about my struggles to deal well with my toddler’s terrible two’s, and she had been an amazing source of encouragement to me over the course of our relationship.

On the one day, in the few hours, that she had seen me out of the 30 days she did not, I became a bad mother.

On the one day in two and a half years that I had given up, for a few hours at most, and was Just. Done.

On the opinion of one person (whom, I might add, is no expert), she threw all of those conversations and encouraging moments over the years out the window.

In one phone call, she reinforced all of the guilt I already had as a mother and caused me to question myself even more than I already did.

She will never ever understand the damage she has caused. She will never see how wrong she was to do that, and she will never realize that her actions are what made things change between us.

4 thoughts on “Judge Not: No, Really – Don’t

  1. Wow, so sorry to hear of this. In a time when the mom conversation has been about support, support, support and non-judgment, I’m amazed. There have been many posts written applauding moms that are finally speaking the truth, as you did, in saying “I’ve had it, I can’ t handle it anymore, I need help with this situation instead of spewing the same old ‘My life is perfect with my 2-year old, see how great I am’ . Askng for help in managing an actual situation that is happening right here and right now or asking for help and advice to handle future situations involving, tantrums, biting, throwing, hitting – whatever, is the courageous thing to do. If more parents would take that 3 seconds to just stop and ask for help, abuse numbers would fall drastically. I commend you for admitting it’s hard as shit sometimes and that you aren’t the ‘picture perfect’ parent because no one gets out of toddlerdom, tweendom, teenagerism – none of it without really hard damn times, no one.

    I’m so sorry this happened at a time when you were your most brave and vulnerable. I love you, support you and admire you for being strong enough to say it like it is.

    Shame on this person for saying these things to you especially when she is someone you obviously trusted with your true feelings and heart.

  2. Oh I totally know how you feel! I have a daughter with Selective Mutism (social anxiety) and E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y. is a battle to get out the door, to school and then me to work. On the day I had to assist my daughter by holding her hand to the van with an elevated voice because I had enough, one of the HOLIER THAN THOU mothers waiting for the bus with their children decided it warranted a call to CAS. I wish they could walk a day in my shoes and the constant battles I face over the smallest of things (like a cup colour can be too much for her) and then rethink what they did. Hugs to you mama and I would totally support you!

  3. Reading this made me want to cry. I understand how you feel, and I cannot believe the nerve of anyone else to judge how any of us parent, but the truth is they do, and they do it with an ignorance that they will never know. How words can hurt amazes me sometimes, at times I think that being hit could never hurt as much as words that put me down. As much as we all want to believe we have strong backbones as mother’s (and we do) that does not mean we are not also human and do not crumble under the hurtful comments, accusation and ‘well meaning’ (insert eye roll here) observances of others on how we parent. BOO is all I can say to your ex-friend.

  4. My only thought is that you will decline further invitations to dine with this particular person. She does not deserve you.
    We all just do the best we can with what we have available. Sometimes we don’t have any patience left in our toolbox. Don’t worry mama, we have your back and you are invited to put your children on my stair, in a corner or a chair facing the wall at our house over a glass of wine any time. No judgement!

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