Let's talk about the judgmental mommy culture that we're living in right now. Isn't motherhood hard enough not knowing exactly the right thing to do without being judged all the time? I hear my mommy friends second-guess the choices they're making all the time.
"Do I breastfeed?"
"Should I pierce my baby's ears?"
"Do I let my baby cry it out?"
"To circumcise or not to circumcise?"
When I hear judgment from one mom to another, it makes me sad because while it's a beautiful experience, it's also quite hard. Lots of mothers want to share their baby knowledge with every new mom. The issue is in how it is presented. If an epidural worked for you, it may not work for the next mom. If you and your husband co-sleep and it's amazing, it might not be amazing for your friend and her husband. That doesn't mean that they're doing a bad job. I won't even touch the vaccination debate. I went with a friend to get her daughter's ears pierced when she was 3-months-old. I took pictures for her and she nervously said, "Don't put these on Facebook. I don't want anyone saying anything about me piercing her ears so young." I was taken aback because I had never seen this type of insecurity with this particular friend before. Her main concern was that people would think that she was a bad mother because she pierced her daughter's ears. Isn't it hard enough making sure that the baby stays fed and happy than to have the added pressure of being judged for how you're doing it?
Being an event planner, I've learned that the event is never just about the event. When a bride gets married, the wedding has many layers. These layers are full of emotions and past experiences that come out in flowers, linens and dresses. Brides are constantly comparing their wedding to a friend's and either wanting to do it better or wanting to do it completely different. There is unsolicited advice from past brides and plenty of whispers when the wedding is extravagant or low-key. This is all very true for children's birthday parties.
I recently planned a birthday party for a 1-year-old whose mother wanted it to be very over-the-top. Her mother asked me to design and plan her daughter's party. She had a budget and a theme and told me to roll with it. Her mother kept emphasizing how important this party was to her. Now, we all know that the first birthday party is never for the child, right? It's always for the parents.
Social media went nuts over this party. Personally, I did too! There were balloons and estate tables for the kids, a table full of candy and Elmo even made an appearance. Once the pictures started making the rounds, I read snarky comments about how extravagant the party was.
"Too bad they spent all of their money on this party for a kid who won't remember it. Now they can't pay for college."
"Well THIS is stupid for a 1-year old! Must be nice!"
Yes, it was nice to be able to throw this party for this little baby. What people didn't know or even give thought to was what the child's parents had to go through in order to have her. When talking to her mother, she explained how important this party was to her because it meant so much more than just celebrating her daughter's first birthday. Remember, the event is never just about the event, right? This party was a celebration coated in fertility issues and the general desire to have a baby and she finally had one. What more is there to say? You want an over-the-top party because you're finally a mommy? Let's do it!
It made me think about the friends that I have and friends of friends who have lost children during birth, lost children after birth and some who couldn't conceive. I thought about how they would love to have a party for the children they dreamed of. Over-the-top or not, this was a celebration for the family. It shocked me that this party got so much judgment. I was shocked at the barrage of negativity.
My point is that you never really know what's going on with someone behind closed doors. You never fully know why they decide to co-sleep, breastfeed or throw a huge party for their 1-year-old. I get it. I get it. The kid isn't going to remember the party so why spend all of this money? Why don't we stop judging these mothers and start judging their husbands when they buy sports cars? We all know you can't fit a car seat into a two-seater.