Do you have good friends who are childless, that you eventually stopped talking to (or talk less to) because they are just so judgemental about how you are not the perfect parent and you are potentially screwing your child up?
I have to confess I used to be one of them. Before I had my own child I really had no idea how hard it is. I phoned a friend back then, and her 2 year old daughter can not stop screaming in the background because she didn't like her mom talking on the phone, and she wasn't doing anything about it ! Back then I gossiped behind her back with another (childless) friend, and say how could she not even attempt to discipline, or tell her daughter no screaming while mommy is on the phone, and how her daughter would end up to be a spoiled brat.
Having a child is like taking the red pill in Matrix. You just crossed over to the other side and can see the big picture. All of a sudden you know how hard it is, and now I understood why my friend ignored her child back then. It's just not easy when you have to deal with a Terrible-Two year old 24/7. Maybe she's at her wits' end, maybe she's just tired. Now I know.
However I still has friends who didn't have, and/or choose not to have children. They have their idealistic way of how to bring up a child. They are good at criticizing how we are not doing it right at the sidelines. For example, they'd occasionally post these articles on facebook about how, say, Swedish raise their kids and didn't let the children to be the center of attention, unlike Americans does...etc. While I do agree, sometimes it is just not as easy as childless people think it is. They just treat the whole parenthood thing as a textbook topic with their theories.
So now, I do feel judged (on my back) on how I am potentially screwing my child up by these childless friends. It does bother me and I ended up not talking to them anymore.
This may be a big rant, but do you have friends like that? How do you deal with them?
cantaloupe / 6869 posts
As a childless person, I guess I can answer this from the other side. I have no idea what parenting is like and yes, I probably do post those articles because I find this or that approach interesting but I have never done so as a way to criticize one of my friends who is a parent. In my opinion, everyone has a different family dynamic and different children. So what I hope might work for me won't necessarily work for my friends. Therefore, I shut up and I don't judge. I observe and think about the way that I would like to parent and I keep conversations about parenting between me and DH.
I'm sorry that you have gone through this but are your friends directly saying things to you? I think that would be an entirely different situation if they are directly criticizing you. Then it is truly time to cut them out.
hostess / watermelon / 14932 posts
yup. I have heard through the grapevine and gotten the impression that my friends are starting to get pissy that I don't want to have a 'girl's night' and go out and drink.
1 - I don't love to drink anyway (a glass now and then fine, but I'd rather stay in!).
2 - They didn't really talk to me for most of my pregnancy, and now they want to hangout?
3 - LO won't take a bottle, so if I go out..that involves a good 30 min of prep time feeding her and leaving her with DH or driving to my parents, giving any instructions, etc. Then driving to destination. Getting maybe a 1-1.5 hours of alone time before driving back to make sure I get home before she's a ravenous beast!
4 - LO won't take a bottle, so I have to be mindful of alcohol intake.
It's just frustrating that they can't accept that I'm honestly happy staying in with LO - I don't "NEED" girl time. I went 9 months without it, haha.
I guess I don't have any good advice..just thinking to myself that I hope they understand one day if they have kids. And then I will say, I told you so.
GOLD / wonderful grape / 20289 posts
I have a male, childless friend that judged me for a lot of things. Cloth diapering, breastfeeding, you name it. And then when I would speak up he would tell me that I was being argumentative because of my pregnancy hormones. Ummmm..... then why do I argue with nobody but YOU?! I don't think the hormones could be blamed for that.
19 months later, I still love my cloth diapers..... but I rarely talk to him.
nectarine / 2964 posts
@MrsKoala: I am not saying posting childcare articles are bad. It is good! Just that the friends I know has an idea of how to raise kids perfectly, if they had kids (which I don't think they will, by choice).
Yes of course they said things to me. And sometimes from the way they talked about other parent friends and comment about how they are or aren't doing the right thing with parenting, you just know they talk the same about you too.
coconut / 8475 posts
Yes to all of this.
Right now, I especially hate when friends call me & they're going out and everyone agrees to be ready in an hour. Um, not for this momma!
-feed baby, burp baby and change out of spit on outfit
-pack all his stuff (pre make formula & get ice packs)
-get the car warmed & him in carseat
- drop off at grandmas
- arrive t destination in pajamas and no makeup because I only had an hour
OR I could be 25mins late and get criticized the whole time for being late.
coconut / 8430 posts
I'm sorry you're going through this! I think I would just stop talking to people like that. You don't need that kind of drama in your life
persimmon / 1171 posts
I stopped talking to a friend after seeing her let her two year old eat chocolate covered marshmallows for breakfast as she slept in. Ummm, I didn't have kids at the time and I know I'm not the healthiest person (read: I've eaten top ramen and chips for dinner) but even now that I have a baby I could never imagine letting her eat that for breakfast let alone eat that period! Other than that, I have realized how judgmental I used to be. I'm just glad I kept most of it to myself (:
cherry / 157 posts
When my son was born, he is now 7, we kept our same group of friends, my husbands friends adapted to being the "uncles" really quickly. I lost a couple of friends over but the good ones were always there when I needed them and they are graced with the title of "Aunties". We wouldn't have it any other way. Now after having Savannah, she is 10 months, we have WAY more friends that are parents and it is so nice to talk with other parents about what your kid is going through.
I was lucky and only felt the judging from a couple of people that I wasn't very close with to begin with. Also with my son, it was years before I had FB so I am sure that played a part in it.
clementine / 943 posts
I have never experienced this. My friends who don't have children all really love kids and have had a lot of experience with them, so they are really understanding. My bestie likes to give a lot of unsolicited advice, but we just smile and say thank you, because I know she only says things because she loves my LO. I could take things personality but what's the point?
But- I did go through a friend "overhaul" a little while back and ditched anyone who I didn't consider a true friend. Some of these stories above make me think it's less about your friends not having kids but more about them being crappy friends!
cantaloupe / 6869 posts
@irene: I get what you are saying. I guess I'm a little sensitive about this because my relationships with my parent friends has changed even though I have tried to be supportive of them. It bothered me when I stopped being invited to their kid's birthday parties because I don't have children or hanging out with other parents became a priority. I love their kids and love hanging out with them but I feel like I will only have value to my parent friends again when I have children.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
I'm childless and I judge. I think when it's my turn I will be a be a different parent. I have friends with kids that I hope to emulate. The others I take mental notes at what the child is doing that I hope mine won't and see what the parent is doing to curb orfacilitate such behavior. Example overweight children eating cheetos and drinking soda, yep I'm judging the parents. Or a child without self control and the parent caves rightaway without attempting to teach delayed gratification. Or a child who doesn't say please or thank you and tells people to move! If a parent hears it I expect a friendly reminder. Do I gossip behind my frirnd's back? No b/c that makes me a bad friend and doesn't help them improve parenting. Will I discuss it with DH? yes because we need all the real life scenarios we can use for our what ifs.
GOLD / wonderful olive / 19030 posts
Not my close friends, of my 4 best friends, two are childless (1 TCC, 1 is a nanny so she has 'raised" children) and I feel judged by neither of them. I'll vent, tell them my stories and they laugh or let me cry if I'm stressed.
I do have friends I'm not as close with that I occassionally feel judged by, and I just let it go, none of their business and I think I am a damn fine parent and doing what is best for my daughter.
nectarine / 2964 posts
@MrsKoala: Hugs.... I know what you are saying and I feel for you. I was on your side before as well. It is really overwhelming as a parent, and I guess now your parent friends are busy dealing with their children, and/or figuring out what to do in different stages, and once they go to bed, they are just too tired to give you a call. They tend to hang out with friends who have kids because they'd understand, and may have different solutions to a certain stage / problem, not to mention they get play dates. I do believe they still consider you a very good friend as long as you don't judge them. They will return when their babies / kids grow bigger. haha! Warmest wishes
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: My friends are a bit like you in terms of the mentality. The soda example is extreme I have to agree but for other situations, keep in mind that sometimes as parents, it is really out of our control if your child choose to scream in public, throw food on the floor, or a friend's child has developmental delay, or a child doesn't wave good bye, or simply a child still doesn't sleep through the night when you think he/she should be according to the many TV shows you watch / articles you read. Do keep in mind that sometimes you are looking at very frustrated parents who tried everything and didn't work. Outsiders tend to think there must be something they are doing wrong. How can their children behave like that. That's bad parenting. But just be easy on these parents because chances are, they have probably tried those 100 methods that you suggested to them and more. They are running in circles thinking what they are doing wrong too, and being guilty and blame themselves for not doing it better. What I am saying is they are already beating themselves up inside so try not to make them feel worse....
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
@irene: Of course I don't tell my friends if I think they are doing a bad job. How they parent their own children is their business. Now on occasion if given the opportunity I use my own approach with kids. Once I was around a group of adults and two toddlers. One toddler kept ripping up straw paper and throwing it on the ground. The mom just yelled at him, startling him and he would stip for a bit and resume. After her 2nd or 3rd yell I verbalized and demonstrated using the trashcan for his straw pieces. He mimicked the behavior. Some of the adults commented I.must be a.teacher b/c I was so patient. No, I.just.didn't see yelling resolving anything.
nectarine / 2631 posts
I am waiting for my LO to arrive (3.5 more weeks!!) and I totally judge. I KNOW it will be a different tune once my little one is here and things are different- and before I didnt feel bad about judging my freinds- but now I do. I never said anything to any of them- just thought it on my own, but now I realize how wrong that is!
GOLD / cantaloupe / 6581 posts
I will admit to judging some parenting choices I see, but I would never tell my friends/family that I think they are doing it *wrong*. For all I know, they have a great reason for doing what they do. I take it as learning experiences; I see how other parents react/don't react to situations and form my own opinions on how I would like to act in that situation.
As for friends judging me, I've been amazed that even though Gwendolyn isn't here yet, I'm already getting unwanted advice. I mentioned not wanting to expose her to a lot of screen time and my child-free friend did the 'you'lll seeeeeee.' Well, maybe I will, but keep your trap shut in the meantime!
nectarine / 2964 posts
@Mrs. Lemon-Lime: hahaha! Just like I tell to my childless friends, I'd look forward to see how your kids turn out Or better yet, please come raise my kid because you obviously know what you are doing
(And again, I used to be like you. Seriously.)
persimmon / 1081 posts
@MrsKoala: don't feel too badly about not being invited to kids' bday parties. Of course I don't know your frinds' intentions, but for us, our DD's bday party is her party, not an excuse for the adults to get together (except for the 1st one). We don't want to make too big a deal out of bdays, so starting w her 2nd we are keeping the guest list to age +1 (so 3 kids for 2nd bday, 4 for 3rd, etc). We are not going to get into the bday party arms race.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
@irene: I'm happy I could make you laugh And I'm sure I will.document the mis-adventures of my Little Lemon Limes on HB! Your points were not lost on me
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
Most of my friends didn't start having kids until a little later, so that has helped me not be too judgey (the older I get, the more I know how much I don't know). I've silently judged stranger parents out and about, but would only talk to DH about it later.
I will admit sometimes thinking things to myself, like, oh, I wouldn't do that, but it's her choice and I haven't been in the situation-- like, when I friend ate something on the pregnancy no-no list or something, I thought it wasn't a big deal, but for me personally I wouldn't risk it, it's only 9 months. Now I'm pregnant and I realized how long 9 months is and how silly it seems to avoid a million and one foods, so I'm extra glad I never said anything out loud.
LO won't be here for another 4 or 5 months, so I guess I will see then how the judgments come back at me...