I’ve always thought that one of the benefits of having gone back to work into my male ghetto so quickly after the girls was born was that I missed out on an awful lot of Mummy interaction. Yes I missed the opportunity to make friends, to share experiences but I also missed a whole lot of judgemental tripe.
You may or may not be aware that Amanda Holden recently had a baby. You may or may not be aware that she is going back to work quite quickly after that baby has been born.
It appears that this is enough to give rise to outpourings of judgemental comments all over the place about what sort of mother this makes her and what sort of example it is setting. Much the same tsunami of wrath was played out when Rachida Dati took a short period of leave after her baby’s birth. A storm of comments that doesn’t take into account what support she has set up for herself, if she is really leaving her baby behind and what is driving her to do this – might it be that she is doing a job she loves and wants to do, has her baby with her and her family around her. Or not.
It’s all a bit sad making really – how can anyone stand on the sidelines and say what is the right or wrong choice for that mother and her family? How can they know what the situation is at home, the pressures of work or money or career and how can they understand the complex balance of choices that has led her to be going back to work quickly?
I’ve been on the receiving end of a fair amount of judgemental comments about whether I was going to go back to work or to throw it all in and stay at home. Comments that failed to understand the what and the why and just exposed the prejudices of the people making them. Comments that showed that they didn’t understand that my choices were made because of all manner of dynamics some to do with me, some to do with my career, some to do with my husband’s job, some to do with childcare and so on.
How about we sit back and work on the basis that all the other parents out there are making the choices they do for the right reasons for them and their family.
How about we ignore that yes, there are a few parents who probably need saving from making the wrong decisions but they are a tiny minority compared to the millions of parents doing the right thing day in, day out.
How about we consider that we probably don’t know everything about the iceberg of a family from the tip we see played out in public.
It covers all aspects of parenting from how we give birth, how we fed our babies, how we live with them – we shouldn’t be standing on the sidelines judging, we should be offering help, support and not knocking people down.
How about we start being kinder and less judgemental and remember that even one comment can be incredibly hurtful and will linger in the minds of those who hear it. The internet is a powerful place, it has a long memory and once things have been said it is awfully hard to unsay them.