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I’m over on the NYC Moms Blog today talking about an article I read saying that moms should put down their cell phones and pay attention to their children. The article was very judgy. I have no problem with judgy. I judge other mothers all the time. And then something shiny enters my field of vision and my brain moves on to something else. Maybe that’s why I don’t tend to give a shit what other random mothers think of my parenting, because I know how much my opinion would be worth to them.
But there’s a world of difference between having a thought in my own head and going out in public and saying “I know nothing substantial about your own situation but I think you’re harming your child.” I know enough to take what I read and process it according my own situation and experiences, but I wasn’t always that confident. And while it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if a mom read that other article and put down her cell phone, it would be just another example of a mom substituting someone else’s judgment for her own when there’s absolutely no reason to do so – no statistics, no expert opinion, just someone trying to fill yet another page on a blog about parenting.
So that other article could have been about any parenting topic and I think my reaction would have been about the same. My mantra is “Is it working for you?” Sometimes “you” means just that, you – those times when you have to be selfish and take care of yourself first. Sometimes the “you” is your family, or your marriage, or some other relationship. But it’s for you to decide who needs to come first. (And let’s face it, there are plenty of parents out there not caring enough for their children who would NEVER make the best decision about which “you” was more important, but those people are probably too busy showing up on “Cops” and “Judge Judy” to spend too much time reading parenting articles, so I’m not directing this at them.)
The line between what works with kids and what doesn’t isn’t a fine line, it’s a giant highway with a ton of overlap and blind turns and off- and on-ramps and u-turns. There are also some rubber-neck-worthy crashes that I have no problem being judgy about – judgments that can be backed up by all sorts of data. But for most situations, I think it’s dangerous to just put it out there and say “This is bad for your child. I have nothing to back it up, but I’m going to make you feel bad about doing it anyway.”
And there are many topics I’d love to get judgy about, but I try to stay away from them because 90% of the reason I think someone is doing something wrong has to do with the fact that it wouldn’t work for me. So I write drafts and then don’t publish them, just to get it out of my system. Or I write about something that did or didn’t work for me, and hope somebody in a similar situation can get something out of it. Unfortunately, too many people hit “publish” on an opinion piece they’re trying to pass off as fact. And yes, I’m judging them for that.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and the NYC Moms Blog.