Recently I was scrolling through the responses on a Facebook page to a mother who asked for tips and a bit of reassurance around her decision to put her toddler into childcare.

Her daughter was not happy, cried each morning at drop-off and generally had problems with adjusting.

She felt torn by mother guilt, as though she was making the wrong decision, but also wondered whether this was all a normal part of adjusting to childcare and she should stay firm.

Are You A Judgey McJudgey?

Most of the responses were positive, in fact overwhelmingly so. But there was that critical minority that took it upon themselves to get all Judgey McJudgerson on this mother. “Stay at home if you can”, advised one woman before adding, “I would always put the emotional well-being of my child first” (inference: you clearly don’t). Another woman suggested that the original poster reconsider their life choices and what it really important in life because “they are only little once” (inference: don’t be short-sighted, stay at home!).

In my own experiences I’ve come across some judging too of my own use of childcare – all from other women.

I’ve had someone gasp “so soon!?” when I said my son was going into childcare at twelve months so I could return to work.

Another asked how many hours he was going to childcare and then exclaimed that “that’s an awful lot of time away from mum for such a little tot”. And my personal favourite – an inspirational quote someone shared with me: “we live two lives; one for us and one for our children”.

I’ve learnt to dodge commentary by front-loading my explanation that my son goes to childcare with financial justifications. Unfortunately, I don’t have a money tree in the backyard so off he goes to care! It’s not possible to take more than two years maternity leave without losing my job so off he goes to care! That pesky rent won’t pay itself so off he goes to care!



Why Do I Do It?

While these are all true points, my son really goes to care for two central underlying reasons.

Firstly, I need something that reminds me I am a person outside of the sometimes all-consuming role of mother and that engages the skills I took seven years at university to learn.

Secondly, I also want to show my son that we are blessed to live in a society where people can do whatever they want if they set their minds to it. For me, that means worker and mother. For others, that means stay at home mum. And that’s perfectly hunky dory ok. I never say any of these things though. I feel shamed into thinking my personal needs are somehow selfish or beside the point.

But why should I or any other working woman feel ashamed for their choices?

It’s 2018 for goodness sake! Wasn’t that the whole point of the feminist movement, that women had the right to choose? I don’t mind if someone stays at home so why should someone mind that I don’t?

These are choices and we should all – men and women alike – be celebrating each and every one because women have exercised their right to make them.

I find it odd that the harshest critics of women are often other women. Why is that so hard for some of us to pat each other on the back?

The life I have chosen comes with benefits and sacrifices but so does every choice in parenting. It is a give and take relationship, like all relationships. And it is in that exchange that the relationship can become richer and more vibrant, complex and fulfilling for all parties involved. I want my son to understand that. I want him to have that in his life.

I’m sorry if there are people out there who think this is not the very best I can do for my child because, on the whole, I think it works pretty awesomely for us.

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  • Its very easy to judge someone. I think it’s harder to try to put yourself in their shoes.

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  • This attitude really annoys me. Mothers ask other mothers advice, we should helping not judging and putting mothers down.
    I hardly ask other mums about my children because I am worried about the negative backlash I might receive. And that’s an awful shame.

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  • They’re definitely out there which is a shame. It’s all in the wording….I sometimes got a negative comment followed by “I don’t mean to judge”….yeah right, just don’t say it if that’s the case or word it completely differently!

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  • It’s so true, women judge women, it’s not good

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  • I think only the parents can really decide if things like child care are right for their kids.

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  • There are a lot of judgy Mc Judgy’s out there when it should be more of a mums support club
    I hope I’m not that moo cow

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  • It’s sadly the way of tge world at the moment. There is always someone out there ready to criticise someone else for the most trivial reasons

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  • Women are the harshest critics of women. We are so hard on ourselves and each other. I try to not be a judgey mcjudge

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  • Such a good and true article. We are all judging of each other. We shouldn’t make each other feel guilty about our decisions, we do that enough to ourselves.

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  • Love this article, great read !

    Reply


  • I think we women can make choices I personally would stay at home if I could but I couldn’t so if you want to work but don’t have to good for you just don’t listen to negativity and do what works for you

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  • I feel we need to care less about what other families are doing and focus on what is right for our own families. No one understands what goes on behind the closed door of the house to fully understand why some make the choices they do.

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  • Maybe I am a little slow as I don’t understand what the issue is. The original poster initially requested tips and a bit of reassurance about her decision. Positive or negative, good or bad, advice was given. Maybe she should have reworded her original question so that she would only receive positive reassurance only about her decision.

    Reply


  • Exactly we should all be doing what’s best for us and our families and of course that will be vastly different for everyone.

    Reply


  • If your asking for an option on a topic you really can’t complain when people give you theirs. What is unreasonable is people giving you advice you didn’t ask for.

    Reply

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