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Here’s an open letter to all those people who judge a mother, criticize her parenting choices and offer unsolicited advice.
Dear Self-Appointed Critic,
It is with great sense of urgency that I have to tell you to stop putting every mother you encounter in a dock! Because quite frankly, she does not need your judgment, opinions or unsolicited advice. You may not realize it , but you are everywhere and your opinions travel faster than the speed of light, even before the poor mother can fathom what just struck her.
Remember the time you so brutally blamed the mother when her child fell sick? Or how you gave a disgusted look when the kid screamed in the hollow darkness of the cinema hall? Well, you may not believe it but sometimes situations do GET OUT OF CONTROL. But blaming the mother is the easiest thing to do, isn’t it? And what’s interesting is that you come in different types, which makes things all the more worse.
Your first type is the nonchalant man. Since nature has not endowed you with certain skills and a motherly instinct, most often than not, you say or do things that make absolutely no sense. Like the other day when you told a heavily pregnant lady that giving birth is no big deal and anyway the pain could not be that bad. Well, thank your stars that the lady did not punch you in the face. Or the other time when you wondered aloud that it isn’t very difficult to manage a home and a toddler! Surprisingly you almost always get away with your opinions unscathed. You know why? Because, the kind mothers give you the benefit of doubt. But I would still suggest that you not stretch your luck too far but gain some knowledge before you speak to a mother.
The second variant of you is the woman without a child. So you could be single or married, but the fact that you do not have kids but the courage to criticize someone who has, makes it even more interesting. So every time you question or ridicule a harried woman without knowing what she’s dealing with, please stop yourself. It would be great if you could start with not judging a mother for her physical appearance or turning up your nose when you see her wearing clothes that do not match.You have absolutely no idea how much effort it takes to pull out something wearable and still come out looking sane. And please stop staring at the bulging tummy while she wears the latest in vogue. Giving birth may have taken away the once chiseled body but it cannot take away her spirit I sincerely plead you to use the compassion that comes with being a woman. Believe me it would mean a lot to a mother.
It is so painful to see a mother who has walked the rocky path of parenting herself but who still criticizes another mother. You do this to show off your competence. You have turned this whole motherhood thing into a competition and that’s pretty sad!
Finally, the most annoying and least worthy of any forgiveness is your third kind — another mother! It is so painful to see a mother who has walked the rocky path of parenting herself but who still criticizes another mother. You do this to show off your competence. You have turned this whole motherhood thing into a competition and that’s pretty sad!
Haven’t you secretly smiled when you saw a mother struggle with parenting? Aren’t you guilty of flaunting your knowledge and highlighting the ignorance of another mother? Don’t you gossip about how much or less a child eats/plays/studies/sleeps and so on because the mother is inefficient? Didn’t you almost scream in horror when you got know that a mother did not or does not breastfeed ,without even knowing the reason? Weren’t you the one who thought that the child was mischievous because the mother chose to work or stay at home? And in spite of knowing that each child is different, you leave no stone unturned to prove that there’s something wrong with his/her mother and how right you are!
I”ll tell you a secret here. Every mother, no matter how hassled and unorganized she may look or behave, knows exactly what’s best for her child. That instinct was born in her the day she conceived, it will remain with her all her life. So there’s nothing much that you can do to make things any better. Because between a mother and her child things are already perfect!
I know in your defense, you would most probably say that you were only trying to help. But do you know what would be the best way to help? Simple! Keep your judgments to yourself and only render advice when asked for. All the mothers would not only take a breath of relief but might just bless you in return for giving them non-judgmental and unconditional support.
Hope this letter would give you the wisdom to let a mother be and allow her to enjoy the wonderful days of parenting without the fear of being caught and criticized when she makes a mistake. But who doesn’t make mistakes. Don’t you?
A Mute Spectator
Image via Shutterstock.
People Enthusiast/Writer/Trainer/Happy Soul
I agree to most of the points highlighted by you, Gita. But look at it from the other side. I have seen many women literally fishing for comments regarding their mothering skills or they would ‘report’ to the others (i.e. to their friends or family) about their skill in handling the child. Why can’t a mother talk anything else apart from her husband, in-laws, children, roti and subzi? I am sorry for sounding blunt. But I feel that women are giving strings to others so that they can be pulled, and after they are pulled, they complain about this.
Some amount of insight and introspection will help all of us in understanding that unwittingly many times, we seem to look outside for acknowledgement rather than patting ourselves for whatever small we have done. THIS we definitely need to learn from the men. They may appear thick-skinned, but they may not brood around or keep thinking about the comments the others around them pass…they may rise up in defensive, but they do not keep craving for acknowledgements, and even if we did not acknowledge they will take it in their stride and let go off it.
Women should know to first pat themselves and feel satisfied from within rather than raising to the bait of outside world.
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