Are you a judgy mom? I used to be but I kicked the habit. Or so I thought.
I remember getting off on giving UPA (Unsolicited Parenting Advice). If you were whining about the exhaustion from sleepless nights with Screaming Baby, I’d tell you to STOP GOING INTO THE ROOM or shut the hell up. Listen, I’d say, if you’re going to let a toddler dictate her own meal plan consisting of pizza and M&Ms, don’t cry to me when you’re dealing with an eating disorder. Hello, Working Mom, hello? Can you tell us why you are dragging your nanny on vacation?
I had a lot to say about everything I saw – until one day, it occurred to me that we all do this parenting thing differently, and as you go along, it gets way trickier. Soon, there were an endless number of choices, resulting in endless ways to support or screw up your kids. Judgy Me didn’t always get it right either and frankly, I probably wouldn’t thank you for your UPA. So as my kids aged, I learned to stay mum. I was better off tending to my own backyard and keeping my eyes out of everyone else’s.
Bonus: Being non-judgy is easier. You want to let your kids rule the house? Go for it. Do their homework for them? Your choice. Look the other way while they pack up your booze and head out the door? None of my beeswax.
To celebrate giving us all a break, I created a toast, glass raised, to the Moms of the World: I raise my kids, you raise yours.
I thought I had it all figured out but now that I’ve got teens who sometimes do stupid things, I hear the old Mommy Wars raging in my head.
So I ask you this: Do I have any obligation to other parents, if they are not my friends, to parent their kids? (If you’re my friend, I have an obligation to you by virtue of our relationship, so that doesn’t count).
Do I have to contact you if:
*Your son comes over on a Saturday night sporting a big, fat, suspicious backpack.
*Your daughter confided in mine that she’s been sticking her finger down her throat.
*The word is that your son is throwing a huge open party at your house next weekend when you’re at that conference in New York.
*Apparently, your daughter is gay and is afraid to tell you.
*Your son passed out my basement couch. Whatever he ingested, it happened before he came over.
*Your daughter is known around high school as the Hook-Up Queen.
*Your son is cutting classes.
While these types of dilemmas have given me cause to rethink my own MYOB rule, I have for the most part decided to stay mum. Now, watch out, don’t get all judgy here. Here are my reasons:
1. Your kids are not my problem. My kids are my problem. I can deal with yours the best way I know how while they are in my house, but beyond that, I lack authority.
2. If I learn about anything through my kids or their networks, that’s privileged information. If there is real danger involved, I will do my very best to find a way to get your child help. I will also encourage my kids and their networks to help. But I will not break my child’s trust unless absolutely necessary.
3. Chances are, our parenting philosophies are vastly different. You may already know what’s going on and you may be helpless to stop it, or you may not appreciate being informed or called out.
4. I don’t necessarily trust you not to spill where you got the information or your kid not to punish mine for trying to help.
5. Generally speaking, it’s not my job to do your job. And vice versa. It’s hard enough raising and being responsible for three kids of my own. You want to know what your kids are up to? Talk to them, watch them, be honest, get involved.
Got a reaction? Comments? Judgment? Hit me, I can take it.