It happens all the time.
It starts early in deeply personal choices like are you bottle, or breast feeding?
“Breast is best,” you know.
What diapers are you buying, regular or cloth?
Are you going to be cognizant of our environment, or are you & your kids literally not going to give a shit about it?
As children evolve into twonagers & beyond, an even more overwhelming dose of shame comes along with it.
“I would never let my child behave that way.”
“Ugh, did you see what that mom packed?? Nothing is organic, or even remotely healthy!”
“Those tree huggers threw a bunch of weird s*&* in here, what am I suppose to do with this??”
“Look at that parent just ignoring that brat throwing a complete fit!”
“OMG, they spanked their child! They’re the worst parent ever!!”
You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
As a foster mom, I’m new to this judgment game. What I’ve realized so far, however, is that, number one, it unfortunately exists. Two, those who are judging your every move don’t take into consideration why your child may be acting a certain way. They have no idea. None. What they do know, & I use that term loosely, is that they have time to judge you.
My first trial was in a doctor’s office. I’d had an appointment scheduled for over a month. Thankfully, a friend of mine agreed to meet me there & watch kiddo while I went back. We got there a bit earlier than planned so my friend hadn’t made it yet. We’d been in the car all day, literally, up to this point. He was sick with a double ear infection & had just had visitation with his birth family earlier that morning. Afterwards, he was a literal mess. Everything was wrong in his little world & nothing seemed to come close to repairing it at all.
I’d heard how much visitation effects kids in care in our fostering classes. How much it grabbed hold of their world, shook it violently, & threw it back down. It was until this moment, however, that I saw it live. He was pulling everything out of the diaper bag, snagging disposable coffee cups from the drink station. He was pushing his stroller everywhere, which eventually led to him picking it up backwards & nearly cracking his head with it. In telling him we couldn’t do that because he’d get hurt, I folded the stroller up & all hell broke loose. Violent screams erupted as he threw himself backwards on the ground wailing. Everyone in the waiting room-scratch that, office-was staring at us. The people in the waiting room, the people behind the glass window (especially the people behind the glass window!!).
& I knew what they were thinking. My child was a terror & I was just another mom who let him run a muck in a doctor’s office. Never mind what he’d been through in the last month. Never mind he was very sick & not feeling well. & never mind he had JUST had visitation and was reminded of just how much his life had been, “flipped-turned upside down.”
We as a society have became entirely too judgmental. Nowadays, we can sit behind a screen & pass judgment on the people we scroll past. Or we can look upon a screaming child throwing a tantrum without entertaining the thought that they may have a reason for doing so. We don’t think about the fact that his caregiver may also have reasons for just letting them be.
In the words of that 90’s rap song from some random dude, “Where’s the love?”