Motherhood Personal Posts

You Won’t Catch Me Judging You!

If you’ve been around a while, you know that I’m a home-birther (to the extreme), a baby wearer, a cloth diapering advocate, I make my own baby food, I breastfeed into toddler-hood, I rear faced by daughter until 4, harnessed until nearly 7, and I’m newly a co-sleeper. My goal is for every mom and mom-to-be to be fully informed, but you won’t catch me judging a scheduled c-section, disposable diapering, Gerber using mom with a crib sleeping baby. Why? Because I’ve been judged, and it sucks!

Frankly, I’m used to being judged for breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, cloth diapering and the like. I’m getting used to being judged for not being “green enough” in that I still use mainstream personal care products for myself, and I use Tide on my cloth diapers.

However, a few years ago I had an experience that still sticks in my craw. I’ll try to keep it short.

If you have never had a child who would.not.sleep, you may not entirely understand this. Rewind to August 2009. My son was 3 months old, and my daughter was 4 1/2 and attending preschool 3 days a week, 2 1/2 hours each day. The preschool was about 15 minutes away, and I had to park, get the kids out, walk into the building to sign her in, and leave. 5 minutes max. At that point, my son would only “nap” if he happened to doze off nursing, and every darn time I tried to put him down, he’d wake up. Shamefully, I even tried the swing (sometimes worked at night in the beginning) but as soon as I tried, he’d be wide awake.

The one time he’d fall asleep was in the car, so pretty much every time, he’d be asleep before we’d gotten to the preschool. These days, I can unbuckle him, carry him inside and set him on the couch. Back then, as soon as I unbuckled the chest clip, he was wide awake. Forget actually transferring him anywhere. So, I’d have to unbuckle him, wake him up, take my daughter inside, then deal with the fact that he absolutely did not want to get back in that doggone car seat, buckle him up, listen to him scream for 15 minutes, then get him home and calmed down.

Although I realize that car seats are for riding in the car, I took advantage of the infant seat and attempted to gingerly carry him into the building and back. Unfortunately for me, there was too much jostling involved and he woke up (I tried twice.) So, it was either unbuckle him and have to carry both him and the seat back up the steps and through the parking lot, then buckle him again, or leave him in the seat for less than 5 minutes. I left him in the seat.

So keep in mind that I tried this twice before I ended up just putting the sleepy wrap on before we left the house, putting him in, carrying him down, walking back to the car, taking him out and buckling him back up. There was another Mom (there were only 8-10 kids in the class) that wasn’t always the one to drop her daughter off, and wasn’t always there when I was dropping mine off (there was about a 10 minute window to drop kids off) who seemed to always be around when I had my son in the car seat, but never when I was carrying or wearing him.

Well, this same Mom was also a member of a MOM’s club I joined (another long story on why I joined & why I left.) To make a long story short, my non-napper was also not a fan of sitting still at that age, and tired very quickly of walking around & around the same room. He was great at the grocery store, but miserable when trying to visit family, or when attending MOM’s club events or meetings. If he was awake, I was left trying to keep an eye on my daughter while bouncing and walking him around, anything to keep him from screaming, until we finally had to leave, with my daughter usually upset and me about at the end of my rope.

Can you see where this is going yet? Twice, my son was asleep when we got to events. Once, I popped the seat out and put it in the stroller and let him sleep. I guess because it was rolling smoothly instead of jostling, he stayed asleep for quite a while. Another time I carried the seat inside the host’s house (and it was this mom of course!) and let him sleep for a few minutes before he woke up.

Other than that, I moved him in the seat once or twice while he was sleeping during a visit to my parents and maybe twice when he fell asleep as he was tagging along to my daughter’s playdates. The rest of his waking (and many of his sleeping, LOL) hours were spent either held, or in the sleepy wrap.

I saw the mom another time and she says “Oh! This is the first time I’ve seen him out of his ‘bucket!'” OK, it sounds innocent enough as typed, but believe me, the intent and tone behind her words was there, and it was not just me being sensitive. The inference was that I was one of “those” moms that just toted the kid around in the “bucket” like some sort of luggage.

It is really unsettling to be judged for doing/being something/someone you’re not! Gosh darn it, I am not a baby bucket carrier! Them’s fightin’ words! (to be said like Sandy from Spongebob.)

So, if I see you toting your child around, awake and bouncing against your knee in that “bucket,” I’m gonna smile. I might even tell you he’s cute. But I’m not going to judge you, because I have no idea if that bottle is filled with breastmilk, if you were unable to breastfeed, if your babysitter put that sposie on your baby…and frankly, it’s none of my darned business. 🙂

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • January 27, 2014 at 7:34 am

    […] while ago I read this article and it totally rang true. The idea that cloth diapering mothers would judge one another for […]

  • April 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I agree 110%! We don’t know what is going on in another’s life. I often put a fake smile on because I don’t want to burst into tears because of something going on in my life whether it’s big or small. We need to be looking at ourselves first and stay out of other people’s business. At times I used the bucket and other times I wore my daughter, we did what worked best for us at the time.

    And yes, my daughter is currently in a disposable, but that’s because I’m currently stripping my diapers because I think she had a small ammonia burn on her and they stank.

  • Mary Michaud
    April 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm


  • Rachel N
    April 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    What’s wrong with leaving your child in the bucket seat? I am with Heather, I live in Canada and it is near impossible to take your child out of that seat and put them in a carrier when it is -30 Celsius with a windchill that makes it -40. I left both my babies in their seats when running errands in the winter. They survived just fine:) The summer is different, I would usually take them out. I think a lot of it is where you live. NOBODY up here takes their infant out of the bucket seat in the winter, even taking the extra 2 minutes at the car to buckle them back in could freeze them.

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Well, if she couldn’t feel self righteous about this in Canada, I’m sure it would be something else!

  • April 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve never heard of anyone thinking it is odd to have a kid in a carseat when you’re running errands. I’ve only ever seen ONE other person walking around wearing a kid except us. My husband insisted on getting an ergo sport so he could wear the baby, but I had told him repeatedly I wouldn’t use it, because I can’t buckle itmyself with the baby on, and my arms are too short to put the baby in (basically baby would be above my head, and try doing that with any baby on a regular basis)…. but he wouldn’t listen. I wanted something like a ring sling that would be easier to do myself. therefore I am stuck with the car seat until baby can learn to ‘hold on’ while I am carrying her. now if you just left your kid in a car seat all day and all night and never held them (like neglect), THAT I could understand, but you’re in your car, what ELSE are you supposed to do? Some people….

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      I think the assumption was that I just carried him around in the car seat and/or put him in some kind of contraption day in and day out and never held him. I haven’t read the actual studies, but I have heard that a study was done of “small sample of 200 two-day-old newborns and found that oxygen levels where slightly lower for infants sitting in a car safety seats for sixty minutes.”

      Not enough to make me concerned. I’d have to read the study.

  • Heather
    April 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    That bucket was a godsend in our Canadian winter. What should I do? Take the kid out of the nice toasty bucket (where he almost always fell asleep) and have him screaming while I put him in a wrap while we both freeze in the parking lot? Over my coat? What if it’s wet? Etc. Or, just keep him asleep in the bucket, plop it in the stroller or top of a grocery cart (where it latches securely, I never went to stores where the stupid thing didn’t click or sit entirely within the cart) and shop peacefully while he naps contentedly? I chose the second option on many occasions, and I would do the same again. It also came in handy while we went out to eat (while he slept) etc. I would take him out the second he woke up, but like his mother, my child does NOT like to be woken up. So, judge me all you want, other moms, but that damn bucket made my life a lot easier in the early months.

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      I often wonder if the moms that are so judge-y about this had the sort of babies who would sleep through everything, take two long naps per day etc. etc.

  • April 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I totally second what you said. I’m not going to do what I do with my child just so I can compare myself to other moms and make me feel better than another mom. The only way I’d judge another mom by my standards is if she is cussing all the time at her baby/kids, smoking around them, or anything that is abusive. But as far as when a mom lets her baby sleep, when or where or how long she breastfeeds, feeds formula, what her level of clean is in her house (unless its extreme ie maggotts due to negligence), then I don’t judge at all. One thing I’m sensitive to is the fact that I’m a stay at home mom and have had only 1 job my whole life, when I was pregnant with my first child at 19 yrs old. I’m 30 now. So, if someone made a disparaging comment about that, I’d literally have to regroup my thoughts in my head to try and shake it off. I think that being a stay at home Mom or stay at home Dad just isn’t highly respected in our culture, and it’s hard to push off the negative effects of what we value as a whole in the United States. So yeah, I hate it when people judge. But I don’t mind people’s commentary if it’s nicely said or if its a friendly debate about say, formula versus breastmilk. Personally, I think what’s natural is better so I breastfed my last 2 children until they were 13/14 months old. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t formula feed my first baby for a whole year or had to supplement my 2nd born’s diet with formula due to low milk supply. Then supplemented myself with herbs for my 3rd baby to fully breastfeed. And I don’t feel judged about cloth diapering because I didn’t even think to do it until I wanted a less mess way to potty train my last child who is 2. But I just feel as you do. Less judgements would make for happier people in general. Thanks for that post!

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      I am starting to think that sometimes Moms are judgemental of other moms because of their own insecurities?

      • Elizabeth
        April 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        I agree…I always felt like I was being judged! Mom, mom-in-law, aunts, whatever always had a “thing” to say to me. The only people who didn’t have an opinion were my two friends who had babies at about the same time! I felt grateful to have a couple of comiserators for sure…I feel that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t understand why I do what I do, or would rather see me do things differently, please just keep it to yourself and let me raise my baby how I feel works best for us.

  • April 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I had/have a non sleeper. At 13 he has never slept well and the doctors finally put him on melatonin at night to sleep. I know and feel your pain. Non-sleeping babies are not fun, because not only do they not sleep, they are not happy because they need sleep :). At least that is the story of mine. He was high maintanence and not happy most of the time until he could walk. If he fell asleep in that car seat which was rare because I have always been a SAHM, You couldn’t have paid me to move him. It won’t hurt them, and shame on her for judging. I hate judgemental people. We are all learning, all trying to do our best as parents, and darn it as hard as we try, we will mess up in some ways. If they are alive, clean, fed, and we pay attention to them 99.9% of the time, we are doing great I think. This is from a mom of four. All still alive, youngest almost 3 and still in cloth diapers at night time. I think he will excel as an adult and none of it will matter then!

    • April 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Exactly! It’s not just a matter of wanting 5 minutes without holding a baby, it’s more dealing with a screamy baby the rest of the day!

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