Judging me, judging you

I’d love to say that I have never judged another parent on their parenting, but that would be a lie. I could honestly say that I have also judged another person on their “personing” When we judge another person, we hold them up against ourselves and say to ourselves, rather smugly, that perhaps they could do a little better. We hold them up against others, and say they could do a little better. I can also say that at times I have been every bit as hard on myself as I have been on other people.

A few short years ago, I knew nothing of adversity, compared to what I do now. I know people feel like I have had a lot – a difficult childhood punctuated by sexual abuse and bullying, years of self loathing, years of being terribly hard on myself. Two hip replacement, horrible complications from one of them that which left me with a paralysed leg from the knee down, and an opiate addiction. I parent four children, one of whom has Down syndrome and autism. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But it has not a patch on these days (which in the succinct words of Powderfinger, turned out NOTHING like I had planned).

I’m not saying any of this so you will give me a medal, and a chest to pin it on. I’m saying it because I want us all to think about judging other people, and to do this, I must share what I now know.

A few years ago, way before cancer, I went to a meeting at Georgia’s school, run by a carers association, to let us know what help was available to us through this service. There were some parents there, some single mums, some grandparents looking after their grandchildren with very high needs as there was no one else to do it. I sat there astonished as the woman running the meeting explained that there was a service available through the agency which meant if the sole carer of a high needs child needed to go to hospital because they were ill THEMSELVES, that they could get a carer to their home within 3 hours to care for a child that might be dependent on oxygen, peg feeding, might have frequent seizures. Tough luck if you felt like you might be having a heart attack or stroke, hang in there for three hours and we’ll get someone there. I looked around the room and saw the relief on the faces of some of the people there, and saw how grateful they were that this service was available, even though it was expensive, and only able to be used ONCE. These people were completely on their own. Imagine going to bed each night with THAT stuck in your head. That, my friends, is adversity. There really are people who are THAT alone. All those things I listed above – I never had to do any of them on my own, not really.

This is just one example of how we never know what battles another person is fighting.

I had a bit of a wakeful night last night due to the steroids on board from chemo. I wandered around the internet looking for things to read and happened on quite a few extreme examples of people judging other people on their parenting and personing. Everything from whether they breastfed, and how long for, to what they wore, be it to the school run, or the shops, and everything in between. I could almost physically feel the shoulders of people I didn’t know sink in despair, at the sheer impossibility of them achieving what looks so easy for other people (but you can bet your arse it AIN’T).

How about we make this the year that we stop this shit. That we stop comparing ourselves to other people unfavourably, that we stop comparing others to us. If we know someone else is struggling, let’s lift them up. Let’s tell them that we saw what they did today, and that was enough, they did good. It might just change someones whole day.

17 Comments on “Judging me, judging you

    • Darling,
      I needed to hear that today.
      “Let’s just tell them we saw what they did today and that was enough.”
      Thank you.

  1. Please don’t delete this post. I think it’s one that we should all be able to come back and read over and over. I love your writing, you are a writer that is real. Much love to you. X

  2. Thank you – One of the things I love about your blog is that you say it exactly as it is. I have been this judgemental person at times (definitely not intentional) though to be fair I think it’s a fine line between judgemental and opinionated. Please don’t delete this post – It’s a timely reminder for all of us. Let’s all be kinder this year xo

  3. So true you never know what another person has been through by just looking at them! We all have our scars Xx

  4. Word. Very well said. I have been that judgy person and I have been the object of judgy people’s judging. We all have. It’s impossible not to judge entirely, but removing the value judgements as much as possible is a great life goal I think.

    As others have said-please don’t delete

  5. You did damn good today my internet friend. Hoping to someday meet you. I NEED THAT BOOK right now.

  6. Certainly a timely reminder to all of us, whether we unintentionally do it or are just having a bad day ourselves. Thank you Julia, hope your week improves and that your schoolies have had a good start to the year

  7. Hi again, l love your posts, you say it as it is straight from the heart l wish l could do that at the moment, my problems are minute compared to you but we all have a bitch at times, human nature l think. I will try very hard this year to be a better person, so please leave this blog so l can re-read it when l let life pull me down as it is atm. Thankyou Julia xxx

  8. Thanks for writing something with no pretence. I often find mummy blogs say how people want things to sound and miss the raw truth. Gratitude is truly what will get us through the hard times, because no matter what, you can always look up and count the stars. Tomorrow is a new day full of possibilities yet to realise. Life is challenging in so many ways for so many people…but to be here experiencing life, whatever challenges it sets, is an experience worth being grateful for. JM

  9. Well said, lovely girl.
    I really believe a lot of the judging & attitude etc., comes from what you’re brought up with in the household ie. Monkey see (& hear), Monkey, do.
    I raised my only daughter well I think, (going by others feedback?) as a single mum but when I was diagnosed with Lymphoma & she went to live with dad at 16, she came back home a year later, with No Respect for anyone & a potty mouth-Aaaagh!
    That old drinking add where the dad drinks at his BBQ & his young boy copies him, rings true, unfortunately.

  10. Judgement is something we all do, it’s human nature and a sucky characteristic. I’m not proud I do and one day I learnt a very important lesson.

    It had been maybe three weeks since my baby daughter died. It was a weekend I had a migraine and had to go to the on call doctors surgery. I was miserable, the pain in my heart as well as my head, was, at that stage making me so angry. Then in walked what I saw as a perfect mother with her perfect pigeon pair children. It seemed to me it was all I’d just lost. I’m not proud but I sat there and did a lot of it’s just not fair thinking and had feelings of envy and bitterness towards this woman with the ‘perfect’ life who had done nothing more to me than walk into a room I was in. I was called into the doctor and that was the end of that – so I thought.

    The next week I opened our local paper to find a photo of this woman talking about vandalism at the cemetery on the grave of her own baby daughter. I got a well deserved slap in the face. I’m not perfect since then, but I try very hard to always remember every one of us is holding our own burdens that the rest of us know nothing about.

  11. Don’t delete, love, great post.

    I wish this service was more freely available to all single parents / grandparents etc who might take I’ll in the middle of the night. Your post demonstrates the clear need for support like this, I hope it is read far and wide xxx. Txx

  12. Very well written. I do take my hat off to those people, there is always something going on in other people lives.

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