I’d have commented there but she said she didn’t want the whole ‘We all judge and it’s normal’ disclaimer which quite robbed me of my first line!!!
I’ll bring up a few points here that would make this too long to be a comment on another blog.
We’re all thinking people who observe stuff, process it and think about it. You may not voice it – but that doesn’t mean you don’t think it. Everyone does. It’s just that since we blog, we have a space to air that judgment, and before we started blogging, we stuck to gossiping on the phone!
For all those who say I wouldn’t judge another’s parenting – well it isn’t restricted to parenting is it? You probably judge other things like how your friend treats his wife in a chauvinistic way or how your brother allows his wife to treat him like shit or how your best friend keeps a terribly unhygienic toilet seat that no one would sit on.
And if you still claim not to judge, well then you’re God and us mere mortals are going to hang around here judging anyway – so you could move on 🙂
Bloggers – like newspapers are recording. And they’re giving opinions. There’d be no opinion if you wrote – I went to a park today and saw a baby… yaawwwnnn……
The only thing worth reading is if after that sentence you write – it was about to touch a stray dog baring its fangs and no adult was around to take care of the child. Now here you can either choose to leave it at that subtly or like me say – Where the F**K were the parents?
Some people care for stray dogs, some people spread AIDs awareness, some people write about the Canadian seals – some bloggers talk about children, parenting and their response to it. It’s natural for those who are mothers to talk about such stuff because its our area of interest at this moment in time. Just like political bloggers are talking, judging and writing about politicians right before the elections. To me parenting is more important than politics. Hell, if our politicians parents had brought them up better our country would be in a better place today.
I once wrote about a mother who came back from work, sneaked in the back door, slept for an hour and then met her child. Every single day. Now I don’t care if it made her more able to engage with her child – all I am thinking is – why have a child if you barely have an hour a day to give her – which is what she confessed to. I had been chatting with her for a couple of hours and realised she does nothing for the child. It’s not the one odd tiring day that she came back and napped for an hour, she did it everyday. I know some jobs are tough, but if you are aware of you gruelling schedule, why bring a child into it?
Sure, a child will grow up knowing no better and will be grateful for any time you give it. But the same logic applies to parrots in cages. I know many people who say – don’t cage birds. Err… why? You’re feeding them and loving them – they will grow up accepting this situation. They will never know what it’s like to fly in a free sky so how does it matter? So if you can get all upset and judgmental about a parrot or a dog locked in a kennel all day – why not a child who gets no attention? To my mind, they’re equally if not more, important!! And I speak only for myself here.
Mommy bloggers. Mothers are conflicted lot. Guilty about something or another. This has just increased as media gives you more information. As you hear about other mothers and read about other parents. Blogging is about opinion and every blog judges something or the other. Atleast every blog worth reading – be it a blogger’s opinion on a movie (which is a judgment on the director of the movie then, or the actor) or on politics – is a judgment. So when as women we turn around and say mommy bloggers are judgmental we’re not only slotting ourselves, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Aren’t there other judgmental bloggers? Sure there are – but you don’t care, because none of them is a judgment of you.
I get a lot of comments from girls telling me that they want to be a mother like me. It’s no secret – my comments are open -you can go through them and see it. I’ve often wondered why young girls say that.
After all I am hardly the perfect mother. I’ve blogged about slapping my 18 month old for biting me in my pregnant belly – an instinctive and protective reaction for the baby in there and the pain. I’ve blogged about running to catch trains with the children in our arms. I’ve written about their double barrelled surnames and got into arguments with so many of you (Right Ro and Sue?). I blog about my religious and political choices. I’ve talked about so much stuff that so many of you come here and literally take my ass over.
But I do it anyway. Knowing fully well that you are judging me each minute of it and after every few lines. Now I don’t think I blog because I think I am doing a terrific job and want to show you my perfect choices. Hell – I’ve often eaten my words openly.
But I think what attracts some and pisses off other mothers is that I love it. There’s no streak of guilt in a single post. Not because I can’t go wrong but because I enjoy it. Just like you enjoy cooking or gardening or sewing or football. I understand everyone doesn’t love it as much as I do, but that’s not something I can help you with. I cannot feel guilty or sound doubtful to make you feel better.
I LOVE being a mom. I take the job seriously even if I take the day to day life very lightly. A meal skipped here or a chocolate eaten there isn’t a matter of life and death. But an overall sense of wellbeing and security of my child, matters to me.
I know a lot of mothers talk about how unsure they are – and so am I. I take days to make up my mind and when I do – nobody and nothing can make me unsure of it. I’m done. I’ve given my choice my all and I haven’t a shred of guilt or doubt.
So yes Y, here’s the response to the last part of your question – do I feel judged? Oh all the time. I am judged for supporting SRK’s right to smoke in his own damn make up van, I am judged for caring about Dalits dying in floods in Bihar, I am judged for usually siding with the underdog, I am judged for whacking my kids once in a while, I am judged for my religion, for not liking to cook – the list is endless.
One of the worst was when I was working from home and people looked down on it. For instance – see this recent comment (Don’t take it personally Diya, just trying to make a point here). The assumption is in two parts – one, that SAHMs do nothing but watch TV all day and the other, that they haven’t the education to put up a play by Premchand, Shakespeare or the Wizard of Oz and can only regurgitate the crap they see on TV.
So I guess there’s always an us vs them and I’m back at work now so I really feel for the mothers at home who still have to face that shit. And now that I am working I don’t care what people say about working mothers – you won’t see me arguing it on any other blog because I am totally at peace with my decision and the timing and what is right for my family and so I don’t give a shit anymore! I’ve given it much thought and to me, my plan and decision is watertight. I see no loopholes in it. I think what bothers people is the pointing out of holes and gaps. Now either you ignore those – or you fill them. But you cannot grudge others their confidence in their plans and want to know what makes them so cocksure!
I take Parul’s (her comment on Y’s blog) stance on this one – it doesn’t matter if others are judging you. What matters is if you are judging yourself. And I know I don’t. I might be dead wrong about many choices 20 years from now – but right now I have given it my best – I can laugh in the face of anyone who questions my choices because I really don’t doubt my choices for my life or my kids. I am a 150% sure of them at this point. And if I am wrong, I am equally ready to admit and apologise to my kids.
Also yes, blogs are a reflection of the real world and if you can’t deal with it here, I don’t know how you deal with it in real life (thanks Parul!!). After all it’s an opinion and as long as I don’t tell you that I think you’re an awful mother, it’s rather unfair to deny me my opinion on my own blog that is totally open to your response, as long as you are not rude. And there is as much implicit judgment in the words
I could never sit at home/my brains would rust/ I’d go mad sitting with a baby all day/I’d die and kill the baby too
as there is the words
I could never leave my baby/ I don’t like anyone else rearing my child/I can’t bear to leave him with anyone else.
Most of us have either said or thought one of the two and you don’t need to admit it to me. The judgment is implicit and so no one can really take high moral ground. Think about it. Are you guilty of any one of those lines in any form?
The important thing is to be confident. Which is why I blog about the most politically incorrect matters be it parenting or politics, with a lot of courage. I don’t care what you think of me for thinking the thoughts I think or making the choices I do – and I shall defend them to my last breath and be damned if you make me ashamed of them. The only thing that bothers me is if you get abusive and then you’re dead buddy, be it the blogosphere or the real life.
Posts with opinions and views are not asking you to follow the blogger’s parenting or philosphies. They’re writing about things that they think. Period. There’s nothing more to be read into it. Most often it’s just a rant. Like a mother who dragged her annoying kid to a movie and made it unbearable for me or the lady whose maid sits around while we are chatting and listens to us chat about our personal lives. I cannot help it if you happen to be like that mother. It annoyed me and I will blog about it.
Long ago someone tagged me to write about my quirks. I should never have been honest (well then I wouldn’t be me!) but I honestly admitted that I hated going to a house that looked like no one cared for it. Dirty, untidy and messy. A lot of people left comments saying I’d never be friends with them if I saw their house. Why? Is their untidy house the sum of them as a person?
I am guessing all of us here are a lot more than mothers or bloggers. Is one irritant or disagreement enough to ruin our relationship? Well we don’t have a relationship with random bloggers – but does that one thing they don’t like, that you do – such a big deal?
But I don’t care 🙂 This is me… I swear and they either ignore or tell me to shut up, or just go with the flow and our friendship goes way beyond it now with me adopting Dipali as a doosi nani to the kids and Kiran as the sister I never had. If I had taken their open statement that they don’t like people using foul language upset me I’d never have got this far and neither did they let it affect the way they feel about me. Do they judge me for it? Heck, I don’t know or care. I do it because I am as comfortable doing it as someone else is smoking or drinking and doesn’t give a damn about what I think of it! And if it really bothered me I’d examine my choice and see why their disapproval bothered me and if I needed to make a change. If I didn’t then they are just stuck with me and my flowery language for life 🙂
My point? Well since this started with Y and a few references to my blog (Of course – it’s always about me!) Y, you’re a lovely girl with a lovely nose and a lovelier baby. Who cares how I or anyone else feels about ayahs or lazy moms? And Preeti – who cares how tidy my house is or what someone else thinks of you travelling for work – you still have very sesky legs! And ma – you are the best, even if you didn’t make me aloo parathas for breakfast each morning (This is just incase you felt judged too ;)) – for more things than I can enumerate here.
These posts are random scribblings, notes taken at boring moments by a keen observer… and most of all, just an effort to write something each day.
There will always be people who disagree with the way you do a certain thing but chances are in the midst of the friendship, they don’t notice it. I don’t think of it as something terrible. I don’t let it upset me. I think of it as their opinion – something I truly understand since I have one of my own. And I also always remember that for all that people might swear that they are non-judgmental, I’ve seen the most amazingly judgmental, prejudiced and biased things slip out of those very mouths at unguarded moments.
It makes me realise I’m just one of many. And it makes me stop caring – which is what makes it so easy for me to blog about my life, despite a troll ready to take a poke at me every single day. So – how about you then?
PS: It’s 1 am and I am dying of sleep so I shall just let this go. But I will be reading and amending and changing stuff tomorrow so those who want to object – you have been warned!