I've heard this word so much since becoming a mum, and have often felt that other women think I'm judging them. That they think I'm some kind of supermum who has it all sorted, and by default that means I look down at what they do.
First of all, helllloooooo, have you read my posts about sleep deprivation, meltdowns and bedtime-maggedon AKA the witching hour? Believe me when I say that I ride the highs and lows of the motherhood roller coaster just like everyone else.
Second of all, I've had way too colourful a past to judge other people.
I've recently come to the conclusion that it is their own insecurities making them feel this way. My choices have very little to do with it. Let me give you some examples...
Cooking from scratch / clean eating
I have suffered with food sensitivities all my adult life, and was diagnosed with Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when I was 26. Cutting out processed carbs, dairy products and refined sugars from my diet led to me falling pregnant naturally, and by accident, even after two doctors told me I would need fertility treatment when the time came to start a family.
I believe wholeheartedly in nutrition, and using it as a way to heal the body and mind. I've been following the all-natural GAPS diet for over a year now, which has had a dramatic effect over my well being. Not to mention the fact that I can now tolerate foods that were making me ill after eating them previously.
GAPS is working for me, but it's exceptionally restrictive in comparison to what most folk eat. I don't think any less of others for not doing the same though, what you eat is up to you. If my gut health wasn't in such a state I wouldn't have to do a diet as drastic as GAPS. It's certainly not my first choice.
I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed, and feel really fortunate that I have managed to do so. Being as intolerant to dairy as I am it was never on my radar to give my babies formula, which is essentially made from cows milk. Here's the thing though - I genuinely do not care how anyone else feeds their baby, as long as the baby is getting fed.
There's so much breast-bashing that goes on, which is unnecessary and unhelpful. This is how I do things in my family because it works for my family. End of. I don't go shoving the 'breast is best' mantra down people's throats, and personally, I have never heard of a breastfeeding woman doing this. I use boobies as an ace card when I've run out of other ideas, which probably isn't the done thing at all.
After my son (baby number three) was born I realised pretty quickly that if I were to get anything done, I would need to have him in the sling where he could eat and sleep when he pleased. We also have a double buggy which the girls - at 3½ and 6 - still sometimes go into if we need to do lots of walking and little leggies get tired. We are a non-driving family and accepted long ago that it's best to let them have a ride than deal with the fallout of their exhaustion.
I could convince myself that people are staring at us thinking 'that child is too big for a buggy', but deep down I know that they aren't, and it's my own internal voice torturing me. Mummy guilt is an absolute bi*ch, isn't it?
Are you being judged?
Next time you feel that you are being judged, take a step back, a big deep breath and ask yourself whether the person doing the judging is actually you.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we are often our own harshest critics. We complain about the lack of sisterly solidarity, but beat ourselves up over the tiniest of things.
In the great words of Queen Elsa of Arendale, LET IT GO!
Apparently if you like yourself in this day and age you are in the minority, which makes me sad, because unless we truly like ourselves, how on earth can we expect to walk past the mirror without being judged?