Just do you – the only parenting advice you should definitely follow

just do you

Collaborative post.

Recently I have been feeling the fear. Not the fear of all the spiders creeping into our house for the winter (although that does terrify me) or the fear that Christmas is looming and I am so not ready for all the chaos that the festive season brings. No, this is a fear that only people with children can truly understand. Lately I have been worrying about people judging the choices I make on how I decide to bring up my kids. I think all of us feel judged at one point or another but when you are trying to bring up a child it seems everyone has an opinion on how you choose to parent. The old lady in the shop, that person online, your best friend’s dog – everyone has something to say when it comes to how we bring up our own kids, whether we ask for their opinion or not.

I have been feeling the fear of judgment over the past week or so as Alex is almost one now and I am still breastfeeding him. In fact, I have zero intentions of stopping breastfeeding him any time soon. There is something about how mums decide to feed their babies that brings out all the judgey, perfect ‘my-way-or-the-high-way’ type parents, the ones that love nothing more than to criticise any mum who’s feeding choices differ to their own. Yes, I feel proud of myself for sticking at breastfeeding and planning to continue until my baby wants to stop but I can’t help but worry about what people are going to say when they see me still feeding him at a year old. I only know a handful of other mums who have breastfed and of those mums, only about 4 have continued to breastfeed past their child’s first birthday. With breastfeeding rates in the UK being one of the lowest in the world, it is not a surprise really that I feel like one of the only mums still feeding their baby into toddlerhood.

This fear of judgement, it could really get me down if I let it. Stressing over what other people think could potentially result in me not following my heart and stopping breastfeeding before both Alex and I are ready. Worrying about what other people think or what other people might say is something all of us parents do at one point or another. Well, I am saying, no more! It is time we all stand up to judgement, the disapproving tuts, the hurtful comments and snooty stares. Parents, why do we care so much about what other people think? It is our decision how we choose to raise our children, no one else’s.

I often get odd looks as I let Alex, who isn’t walking yet, crawl around on the floor when we go to the playground. I, as his mum, feel it’s ok to let him have a crawl about and get a bit messy, it’s more fun for him than sitting in the pram and a bit of dirt isn’t going to do him any harm. Some parent’s don’t feel the same and that’s fine. I’m not judging them so I don’t really see why they feel the need to judge me. When Leo is having a tantrum over wanting a cake in the coffee shop and I’ve said no, for example, in the past I have let the angry eyes burning into me really upset me and make me question myself as a mum. Now though, more often than not, I let those people sit there being angry and judgemental and not let their looks of disapproval get to me.

just do you

The fear of judgement is very real in parents, we all want to feel like we are doing a good job and to sometimes be met with nasty comments or dirty looks can have a real knock on our confidence. The best way to get over this fear is to be as confident as we can possibly be in ourselves as parents and in the decisions we make on how we raise our children. Remember, no one else is living your life. No one else knows your baby like you do. Just because one parenting style worked for Mrs Judgey Pants, doesn’t mean you have to do things that way too. It could be easy for me to say, as a mum who has breastfed two babies successfully, that every single mum should breastfeed but I would never say that. While I am passionate about normalising breastfeeding, I would never think myself superior to mums who choose to bottle feed. Just like I don’t look down on parents who don’t like babywearing or those who decide to sleep train. Whatever floats your boat and each to their own, as the sayings go.

So, if you want to breastfeed your baby, do it without fear that a stranger might sigh disgustedly when you feed in public. Do it with confidence. If you want to use baby formula, do it with the knowledge that formula milk isn’t poison whatever some breastfeeding fanatics might say and own the fact that you know what is best for you and your baby. If you want to co sleep, go for it (just do it safely). If you want to babywear, awesome. If you want to follow a strict routine, that’s your call. Gentle parenting, cry it out, baby led weaning, shop bought puree, designer baby clothes, a wardrobe full of hand me downs: however you decide to bring up your child, don’t let the fear of other people judging you stop you doing things the way you want to.

My blog may be full of tips and advice for lots of different parenting challenges but I am not saying my way is the only way to do things. I am simply sharing my experiences in the hope that my hindsight and knowledge might be useful to other parents out there. Just like the posts on this blog aren’t parenting law, neither is the information you find in all the baby books or the opinions of other people. Take the advice if you want it, ignore it if you don’t. Whatever you decide to do, that decision belongs to you and if it’s something you truly believe is right for you and your family then go for it and own it. When it comes to being a mum, just do you and you won’t go far wrong. Remember, your kids will always love you regardless and that’s the most important thing.

Have you ever felt judged for the way you choose to bring up your kids? Have you ever been in a situation where someone has negatively commented on your parenting style? I would love for you to share your views and experiences in the comments below.

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19 Comments

  1. October 20, 2017 / 6:57 am

    Great post and Im sure one that will rung a bell with many mums! So much judgement out there and not enough support – for whatever way you parent. Wish we could all be happy for each other and accept our choices muh as we do with say job choices. Now I wouldnt go and jack in my job to go back to uni but would certainly never think differently of anyone who did so why cant we take the same approach to parenting. We are all living our lives trying to make the best of it all. Great post #BlogCrush

  2. October 20, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Your tips and advices are very useful and helpful for many parents . Thanks for sharing your Experiences of motherhood. #Blogcrush

  3. October 22, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Wonderful post, Wendy! Those that judge need to, well… I must be kind. We need to not listen and carry around the judgements of others. Trust in ourselves breeds esteem in the girls. #thesatsesh xoxo
    Lisa Pomerantz recently posted…SpartanomicsMy Profile

  4. October 23, 2017 / 8:34 am

    You can only do what you feel is right as a parent. If others don’t agree that’s ok. There will lots of things that come up as your children grow I expect. Lovely post. #mg

  5. October 23, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Preach. Preach all damn day long. Just do you is the best advice anyone can ever give, not just restricted to parenting either. #mg
    Rach recently posted…Top 10 Songs: Year 2010My Profile

  6. Ola
    October 23, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Breastfeeding is a hot topic no matter where one lives. In Bible times, women didn’t wean their children until after 2 years old – perhaps longer. Judging others is a deep flaw that exists in all humans unfortunately. Some mean well, but it can be hurtful. I can tell that you want what is best for your children. Continue on.

    • Ola
      October 23, 2017 / 2:55 pm

      #mg

  7. October 23, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    YES! Just do you! Totes agree. I breastfed mine until they were 16mths old. Keep going if you both want to 🙂 I think one of the lovely things I’ve learnt from blogging is that there ARE lots of ways of doing things and, just because something works for you doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. As you say, you just have to do you! #mg
    Lucy At Home recently posted…BlogCrush Week 36 – 20th October 2017My Profile

  8. October 24, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Oh my! I parent abroad and I’m constanlty afraid that people are judging my strange foreign ways!!!

    But when it comes to breastfeeding where I live the breastfeeding rates are way higher than the UK and a lot of people breastfeed past a year. I know people who kept going till the kid was age 4. Most people use a nursing cover or shawl, but no on is offended by it. I kept going till 17 months when extenuating circumstances meant I couldn’t continue.

    And yeah, boo to judgy people. They can’t be that happy with their own life if they have nothing better to do than judge others!

    #dreamteam
    Kamsin recently posted…Bye-bye Comfort Zone, Hello Brave New MeMy Profile

  9. October 25, 2017 / 8:39 am

    Absolutely each to their own, as long as baby is safe and loved then we should be able to make choices without being attacked for them. I have felt judged, my sister in law in apertural was very judgemental as was my brother. They laughed at me for feeding organic food to my daughter, they told me I cuddled her too much, but worst of all was the judgement over giving her formula. It’s a long story but despite a natural birth, plus breast feeding my daughter as soon as she was born and having her constantly on my breast for the first few days my milk never came in, it got to the point my baby was becoming very unwell and not thriving, I was transferred to a mother abby ward and given access to the best location consultants the Melbourne had to offer and a paediatrician. Still despite the fact she latched perfectly and I tried natural remedies and medication still not enough milk. I breast fed her what I could for 13 months and topped her up after every feed. They abused me for it, they told me I wasn’t trying hard enough, that I was not seeking enough help, and that I was even lying about trying hard enough. It cut so deep because I tried my heart out, because the pain of feeling I was failing her was killing me and yet they stood there whilst I cried and yelled at me for being bad mum. Every time I bottle fed in public I felt ashamed and judged because of what they had said to me. So you enjoy feeding, you do it proudly and for as long as you want. Peel can be cruel, but our bond with our babies is all that matters xx Thanks for sharing this #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…How to Survive Social MediaMy Profile

  10. October 25, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    I agree that we should be confident in ourselves to know whats best for us mums and our children. However, I don’t feel it always boils down to what floats your boat either. Some people no matter how much they want to breastfeed their children can’t. #BlogCrush
    Helena recently posted…Cerza ZooMy Profile

  11. October 25, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    #thesatsesh yes to this! Since dude has started school I’ve made a new years resolution – why wait until January lol, and I WILL not compare him. I don’t need to judge him, society will do that. I need to see him with clarity and this isn’t defined but what his class mates like, do, don’t do…who gives a freckle… is he happy, is he healthy then I’m winning x
    fridgesays recently posted…Lick the lid of life 🙂My Profile

  12. October 25, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    I’m so with you. I still haven’t stopped breastfeeding at 14 months. I’m kind of embarrassed/kind of not. It varies. But I really shouldn’t care what anyone thinks. Thanks for reminding me 🙂

  13. October 26, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Just popping back from #blogcrush. This phrase “Just do you” has been spinning round my head all week, thanks to your post. I have a friend who is quite vocal about the fact that she doesn’t agree with my parenting style and we had a playdate with them yesterday. I just kept whispering “just do you” under my breath because this is what works for us and I don’t need to feel swayed by someone else trying to push their opinions onto me.

    Also, LOVING the new logo! #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Starting Nursery: Why I’m Worried (& Why I Shouldn’t Be)My Profile

  14. October 26, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Yep! This is so true! It’s so hard to just do you at times though isn’t it? I think it’s something we get better at the longer we parent! Thanks for linking this up with #DreamTeam!
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…#DreamTeam Linky – week 78My Profile

  15. November 5, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Yes to this! I always think we need to just try and support other parents instead of casting judgement on them. This parenting thing is tough and there’s no one way of doing it, after all. #mg

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