I have quite a few mom friends who have posted online (not on Momtourage, of course) that they have had this baby struggle, or that difficulty, or some kind of parenting problem. Usually, mutual mom friends will comment with their own perspective, offer advice, or make suggestions. Often, there's the proverbial, electronic-pat-on-the-back, an 'attaboy!' to the beleaguered mom who's struggling on some level. There's also many, "You're doing a great job!" or "Hang in there, it gets better!"
But, when I hear a complaint from another mom like, "WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT?," I cringe. Because...this means that the judging is...beginning. And, simply put, judging another mom (or dad, or couple, or grandparent raising grandkids) is...NOT. FAIR. It's not cool.
Us moms have 10,000 things to worry about in a day, and if a first-time-mom seeks advice from folks who have 'been there/done that,' everyone should be civil. And compassionate. And definitely not snarky.
If a mom of 3 is at her wits' end because her new baby isn't taking to the boob as easily as the others, and wants to slowly supplement formula, we need to not chastise her with "Don't you know that Breast is Best!" comments. Yes, we know that....but not everyone can do that.
If a mom of a 14 month old asks you if you have ever done sleep-training (or, egads, Cry-It-Out or the Ferber method), don't yell at her that she is going to scar her kids for life.
The emotional trauma that some righteous parents (knowingly or unwittingly) bestow on others -- when they claim to be giving advice or tips -- is often unseen, and my heart aches when other moms feel judged or embarrassed for their decisions. One may never know if a mom is secretly struggling with Post-Partum Depression, too; so, snarky snide comments like, "You're not going to do that silly Baby Led Weaning thing, are you?" or "You cannot feed your 4-month old cereal! Haven't you read everything that Google has to say about that?!" could set a mom back emotionally and prevent her from seeking real help.
Asking questions, however, is good.
"What does your pediatrician say?"
"Would you mind if I emailed you something I read?"
"In the 1980s we did XYZ -- is that the popular consensus now?"
But, leave it at that. Let your friend make up their own mind if you're offering parenting advice.
If you really cannot comprehend why in the world your college roommate is feeding her baby meat, or why your sister-in-law is refusing to give her kids certain vaccines, or why your neighbor who doesn't work yet still puts her kid in daycare, learn about 'the other side,' but don't sit in judgement.
We need to be more mindful and respectful of other parents' private family decisions. What's best for your family, might not be ideal for someone else.
Don't judge, please...Don't make another mom question what she's doing. In this crazy ride called parenting, we're all making decisions that we feel is right for our little ones and our families.