In my late night (if you consider 9:00 late) internet browsing, I stumbled across this article on USA Today.com. If you don't have time to read because you are not sticking your kid in front of Elmo like I currently am, essentially it's about moms judging other moms and the author questions why this is so. I've touched upon this before and I was glad to read the article and see that I'm not the only one who experiences this.
I think when Captain Destructo was born I expected a bit of judgmentalism from the older generation. My grandmother, for instance, has a habit of providing winter wear for my daughter on a regular basis, despite the fact that we live in San Antonio where it's maybe been below freezing once in the 4 years I've lived here. When I went to visit her on the East Coast, she brought a blanket when she met me at a restaurant "in case I forgot how cold it gets here." (side note: I love my grandmother and apologize for throwing her under the bus for the sake of humor). When Captain Destructo was a few days old, I took her to Target in a sling (thank goodness the recall hadn't happened yet; who knows what other comments I would have gotten). An older lady came over, I thought to admire the baby, but actually to tell me how many illnesses she sees at the hospital where she works and how I really shouldn't have the baby out in public (my husband said "really? There are sick people at the hospital?").
It was surprising to me that I felt I was being judged by my peers. I called a friend when Captain Destructo was a few weeks old to whine over how insanely tired I was and how my baby would only sleep in my arms or her car seat, confessing that I had let her sleep in her car seat in the house.
"(Gasp) You're not supposed to do that!" she said in shock.
"Why not?!" My insecure, sleep-deprived self said.
"I don't know. You're just not," she replied.
I wonder how much of what I perceived was actually judgment and how much was projection. I felt like I was a bad mom so thought others must feel the same. After feeling insanely guilty about not breastfeeding a full year, I talked with a friend going through the same thing and realized that supplementing is actually pretty common. So if I hadn't reacted so defensively when questioned about it, perhaps someone would have sympathized with me and I wouldn't have felt like such a loser.
I'm off to rescue my peanut butter covered daughter who is done with Elmo and is eating a Kleenex. Don't judge me.