Before I begin to crib and cry about being judged about the mother I am, let me confess, I’ve done my part on judging mothers, as well. When I had travelled in trains before I had children, looking at those children who wouldn’t sit, who wouldn’t stop whining, who would make loud noises, I used to think about their mothers, “What in the world is she doing?” The day when I travelled with my son in train, I understood what they all were doing – trying in vain to control their children, feeling embarrassed for their behaviour and feeling humiliated for being judged by people like me. Now, as a mother, I realize it isn’t right to judge moms though sometimes I judge those who send their children alone to the play area. While writing this post, I realize, perhaps I shouldn’t be judging those moms too.
So it all begins the day when the baby is born. If it is a C-section, the new mother will have enough reasons to be judged about the flexibility and capacity of her body. Even if it is a natural birth, she might be judged for her pain-bearing threshold and will power. After the baby is out, gender maniacs might ridicule her if it’s a baby girl (believe me, this is still prevalent in some places in India) followed by baby’s weight and sometimes colour. Then comes the breast feeding judgement. When the baby cries for long, the most probable reason is her insufficient milk flow. Perhaps, she has a problem. Not many understand that judging a woman about her breast feeding capability is like judging a man about his potency. It does humiliate a mother.
Bottle feeding a baby is yet another looked down upon aspect. From the nurses at the hospital to the security at the gate, the mother will have to answer everyone the reason behind the crime of bottle feeding. The mother will be judged further for the height-weight growth of the child. She’s either not providing enough food or nutritious food if the child looks lean, irrespective of fulfilling the average growth and energy levels or not.
And then the big debate of stay-at-home moms Vs. working moms. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are wasting time, watching serials and not looking after children well. If you are a working mom, then you are behind career and money and not looking after children well. Ideally, you cannot be both 😆
If the mother spanks, she’s a cruel mother. If she doesn’t, she’s leaving the children astray. The kid sneezes, it might be because the mother let her play in water for long. If the child throws tantrums, speaks not-so-good words (which he learns from school), is shy by nature, the mother is to blamed for not raising rightly. For every little thing that children do, the mother will be pointed to. Especially, if the children grow to independently-thinking, fight-for-rights kind, the mother has to take an indefinite blame. What about the father? Mostly, he’s for taking the credits of intelligence and height.
By the way, who are these people who become judges? Mostly, the aunty clubs who are omnipresent, even in the form of strangers on the road. The in-laws club. The extended family club. Other moms (as popularly said), but in my personal experience other moms around me aren’t judgmental. Most of them are understanding of the n number things that can go wrong with children at times.
The mother, of course, has a significant role in a child’s upbringing. However, not every cough and every hiccup from the child need to be attributed back to her. And there can be several stories behind why she lets her son alone in the play area, why she yells at her child for not eating and why she remains quiet when her girl throws a tantrum. Moms don’t claim to be perfect, they neither are. They are after all humans who are trying to play their challenging role as a mother amidst several other tasks. Judging her for one silly behaviour of her child isn’t fair at all!