Friday, March 29, 2013

They Judge My Children Because of Me

I can generally get along with people who don't agree with my parenting views.  It is so much harder, though, to know that my children are being judged for my choices. People who disagreed with me began to see my kids through a negative filter based on their opposition to my decisions. I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut about any of my own frustrations or doubts. I tried to never complain about a sleepless night or sibling arguments or how much I hated elimination diets while breastfeeding. I didn’t want to drip blood in front of sharks. That wasn’t enough, though. Even times when I was perfectly satisfied with my children’s behavior, it was still viewed darkly by some people.
Image credit: A_of_DooM on Flickr

At first, any deviation from their ideal was blamed on breastfeeding. I was told multiple times that everything from personality traits, social interactions, sleep habits and food allergies were because I breastfed. If they cried when we left them at the church nursery, they were seen as clingy, shy and spoiled because we would come back and get them or stay with them. Later, anything other than instant compliance with a smile was magnified because we didn’t spank, even when their behavior was age appropriate.

It is hard to respond gently to criticism about our own choices. It is a thousand times harder not to unleash our mama bear when that criticism is directed at our children. Even (especially?) when it is subtle. Knowing smirks, a shaking head, raised eyebrows. I know if I say anything, it will come across as petty and defensive, but the attitude still leaves stinging welts on my heart.
What’s a gentle mama to do?

Read the whole thing over Natural Parents Network (link fixed)

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