judgmental parenting

Today I’m featuring a guest post from Donna over at Redhead Babyled on so called judgmental parenting blog posts.  You can follow Donna over on twitter @genuineplacebo  Is it too tricky to write a post about a topic that is close to peoples hearts without it being interpreted as judgmental?  Do let me know what you think in the comments below. 

I have written my fair share of blog posts that reinforce the things I like and don’t like in life. I’ve written about my love of babywearing, baby led weaning, my home birth experiences and my breastfeeding journey. I have also written about dummies, smoking and ‘lazy food’.

I see many other people write similar posts about their journey to conceive, pregnancies, birth experiences, natural births, home births, c-sections, posts about breastfeeding, about co-sleeping, their weaning journeys, potty training, going from cot to bed. Every single milestone in the life of a parent-blogger’s child is well documented – This is why, most of us, started out blogging isn’t it? To document our children’s lives, their babyhood and their progress.

I have had a fair amount of backlash towards some of my blog posts – and I’m sure many other bloggers have experienced the same. I would never write a blog post declaring that anyone doing things differently to me is wrong or stupid or anything else of the sort. I have also, never, in any blog post declared anyone to be a bad parent. However, I have been told, numerous times, that I am judging people and calling people bad parents for using dummies, formula feeding, puree weaning, smoking and – god forbid – using frozen yorkshire puddings. I have never said this in any blog post, the most I have said is that I can’t stand smoking, I needed speech therapy from having a dummy as a child and I think frozen yorkshire puddings are lazy as they’re so cheap and easy to make!

I don’t think it is just me that has experienced such backlash. I have a feeling that most bloggers experience similar comments when they write posts that are ‘pro’ something. The thing is, just because they are pro breastfeeding, for example, does not mean that they think every formula feeder is a bad parent. Just like if someone writes about their weaning journey and they are puree feeding it doesn’t mean that they think people who do baby led weaning are putting their children’s lives in danger, taking unnecessary risks and are terrible parents.

Quite often I find that readers of blogs – not just mine but other people’s too, can be incredibly sensitive to the parenting choices they have made and think that anyone writing about an alternative parenting choice is criticising their choices and the way they parent their child. In most cases, posts about breastfeeding will never even mention formula feeding, posts about traditional weaning won’t mention BLW, posts about elimination communication won’t mention nappies and posts about cloth nappies won’t mention disposables. You can be sure as well that none of these blog posts will criticise anyone else’s parenting. None of them will say that anyone is a bad parent – but for some reason the reader will interpret that as the underlying message.

In reality I think you need to go to extremes to be a ‘Bad Parent’ – the type of parents that you see on the news – no more explanation of that is necessary really is it? Those awful people on the news don’t deserve to even be called parents – but they definitely deserve the bad parent label.

I think the journey of a parent is never easy, there is so much criticism and so many question marks over every decision we make. I think that, especially when babies are small, each day is a matter of survival – teething, illness, tiredness – Everyone just has to do their best to get through to the next day.

I may bang on about breastfeeding, babywearing and baby led weaning but it doesn’t define me, those things have just worked for us and I enjoy them and blog about them. When all is said and done – I’m a parent parenting. All other parents are parenting. We are all doing the same job and that job has no right or wrong answer.

When you read blogs don’t try to find the hidden meaning in them, the underlying reason for the blog post. Most, like mine, say everything they need to say – there’s no hidden agenda, no criticism of other people’s parenting, just experiences that the blogger has been through that they are sharing to not only document their lives, thoughts and feelings but also in the hope of helping someone else, sharing that experience and hoping someone can learn something new from it or find a similarity with the parenting journey they’re on.

Parenting is hard. Let’s not make it any more so.

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10 Comments

  1. Brilliant post Donna! I agree with every single word! I didn’t/don’t breastfeed and I use frozen Yorkshire pudding’s but I have never read one of your posts and felt anger and thought you were being judgemental. I love reading your post’s! x

  2. Oh Donna yes!!! I got backlash for “being against working parents” even though a) the post wasn’t about that and b) I AM a bloomin working parent!

    Some people just troll the Internet trying to find something to be offended by!

  3. I largely agree that it is fine to write about your method as long as you note that what works for you may not work for other people. There are pros and cons with all of these things, including breastfeeding and dummies. I think that Donna approaches the breastfeeding topic in a refreshing and fantastic way and I honestly love reading her posts on these topics. However, I did find her comments on dummies a little offensive. She said that giving a new born a dummy is “the saddest sight” and that a toddler with a dummy is “repulsive”. I won’t go into loads of detail as to why there are actually many pros for dummies (i’m planning a blog post on this soon to document our story). But I do think that this topic could have been approached with a little more sensitively. If Donna sees a picture of my son with a Dummy she’ll think it is “repulsive” which I feel is a criticism by her of my method of parenting. Anyway… it is very unlike me to respond when I don’t agree with something, but I hope that I’ve done so in a fairly diplomatic and non-offensive way. I can see from a personal perspective why Donna disagrees with Dummies given her own experience, but the choice of language in that post, doesn’t entirely sit at ease with the message in this one. Boo xx
    Boo recently posted…Week 17 Pregnancy Update and Gender RevealMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment! Can’t wait to read your dummies post. I find it hard to read posts that are against anything that I do as a parent, be it working, bottle feeding etc, without taking it to heart. I think what D said above about having to go to drastic lengths to be a bad parent is pretty bang on. I use frozen yorkies and proud 🙂

  4. Great post… and I love frozen yorkies too (the puds not the chocolate bars).

    The thing that I enjoy most about reading other people’s blogs are finding views that are different to my own. The blogs I enjoy most are written passionatley like Donna’s and don’t waste time trying to blance other people’s views. This gives me a chance to look at my own views from a new perspective, and to feel more informed about a topic. Just my opinion, please don’t feel the need to be offended 😉
    weekendparent1 recently posted…Stress Free ParentingMy Profile

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