life on the "j" train

Taking a "busy working mom with 2 special needs kids" life one moment at a time

It’s So Easy To Judge June 4, 2012

I talk a good game but it’s hard work not being judgmental.  I know that.  I constantly have to check myself.

 

I see a kid who looks too big to be in a stroller and my initial thought is “That’s just ridiculous. Make that kid get up and walk.”

Then I think “Deens, (me) you don’t know what’s going on or if there is a medical, psychological, neurological whateverical reason that this child needs to be strolled.  Don’t judge

I hold the door open and smile at the mom pushing her very heavy child through the door.  If there is something going on, the last thing she needs is me rolling my eyes or making her feel any worse than she might already.

 

I see a kid who looks too big to be using a bottle.

Ugh, I think.  My kids were done with bottles at their 1st birthday. Why would a parent even WANT their child to be using bottles. They’re such a pain in the butt to clean.”

But wait … I have to stop myself.  I don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe the child won’t or can’t eat.  Maybe the mom has tried everything and has decided it’s better to let the child drink from a bottle than starve to death.  Far-fetched?  Maybe.  But I don’t know so I don’t judge.

 

I hear parents all the time talk about how their kid doesn’t sleep through the night.  I used to be the one who would say “Just let them cry it out for a couple of nights.  It works.  Both my kids sleep through the night and have done so since they were just a few months old.”  Little did I know then how fortunate I was (we were).  It’s not always so simple.

 

Recently, there was a lady in the supermarket with her daughter – who looked to be about 8 or 9.  The daughter asked her mom to buy a sugary cereal.  Mom said no and the kid lost her mind.  She threw a huge tantrum in the aisle and the Mom (looking horrified)  finally said “That’s it, no cell phone for the rest of the day.”  Another lady commented that kids today are spoiled and a child that young shouldn’t have a cell phone and back in her day, kids spent time outside playing instead of inside texting and playing video games.  I couldn’t NOT say something.  I very calmly told her, I don’t think it’s our place to judge.  We don’t know what’s going on in their family or what lead them to give the child a cell phone.  After that, Judgy McJudgepants, had no comment.

 

Now, believe me, I know that we’re the minority.  Those of us with special needs kids.  Maybe most of the kids that I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to, don’t deserve it.  Many kids are over-indulged and a lot of kids could probably do with some tighter boundaries but since I can’t look at them and tell which is which, I just assume that the parents are doing the best they can.  For more reasons than I can ever list, what works for one family won’t work for another.

 

No-one can tell just by looking at my Jay, that he has a lot of struggles.  He looks healthy.  He looks normal.  He’s cute and happy and playful.  No-one would know that when he doesn’t share his toys, it’s not because he’s spoiled.  You wont know that we work on his sharing skills ALL THE TIME and have made A LOT OF PROGRESS.  No-one would know that we allow him to eat cookies for breakfast, because often times, it’s that or nothing at all.  You won’t know that there was a time that he wouldn’t eat cookies so cookies for breakfast isn’t a treat, it’s a friggin victory.  No-one would know that even at 4, he’s still wearing diapers because he’s autistic and potty training is difficult for him and to be honest, it’s not at the top of our priority list.  No-one would know that we let him bring his i-pad to birthday parties because it keeps him calm and running around with a bunch of rowdy kids is not always rarely fun for him.   It’s a major accomplishment that we even made it to the party and stayed till the end with no melt downs.

 

I’m aware that  it doesn’t look like progress to the outside eye, but despite what you might think, my boys work very hard and I’m proud of them and how much progress they have made in all areas.   I’m proud of how far I’ve personally come.  I’m proud that I’m bold enough NOW to voice my opinion when I hear others making assumptions or jumping to conclusions and talking behind backs even when it’s not directed at my child.  Hey … maybe it was directed at one of your children.  And to me, one of yours is one of mine.

Advertisements
 

13 Responses to “It’s So Easy To Judge”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Excellent post! I struggle with the judgements, too…and always remind myself that maybe there’s something I don’t know about. I love how you stood up for that family with the Judgey McJudger. Glad that you have our backs…I have yours, too!

  2. love, love love this post!

  3. Deenie, this is one of the best things I’ve read this week. I’m going to post a link to it on my facebook page, and the ten people who actually read it (har har!) will have access to your post. Okay, sorry, I’m a little sleep deprived.

    What a great post though. You’ve really pointed out a lot of important things: as we are always struggling for compassion and understanding and empathy for our own children, we sometimes forget that other people need it too!! I guess it is our inherent nature to be JUDGEY. Good for you for saying something to the busybody in the grocery store though. I too am no longer so complacent about these situations.

    And, damn woman–you are so right about the cookies. So, so, so right. If you ever want to vent–ever about food issues, hit me up on twitter or my email (you can find it in my profile).

  4. sherilinr Says:

    i’m here due to karen’t fb link, so i guess i’m one of her 10 people.
    i have a younger sister with special needs who looks normal, but sucked her thumb until she was 20. oh the looks and nasty comments from people who should have been minding their business!
    now i have a daughter who’s got aspergers and even though we’ve come a long way at the age of 9, she still has moments when i need the people around me to just look away and not stare or judge or worst of all open their stupid mouths and comment on something they clearly know nothing about. it’s not like i can give an explanation to that person in front of her because that would embarrass her even further. she’s going to be embarrassed enough when the moment passes, let’s not have the adults in the area making it even worse.
    good post.

  5. Thank you for the reminder. It is so easy to jump to conclusions or make unfair comparisons to others.

  6. solodialogue Says:

    This is a beautiful reminder. To write a post like this, you have to have understanding, compassion, love and kindness. I was the mom pushing the stroller because my son would cause himself injury from his lack of peripheral vision, ADHD and need for proprioceptive input. I was the mom giving my son bottles til he was three to get him fed because he would and could not chew food without gagging. Thanks for having my back. I too, am sharing this! And you can count on me to have your back too. xoxo

  7. cathmae Says:

    Deenie, you are such a sweetheart! Everything in your post is true and is derived from your personal experiences, and yet I get the sense that even before your child gifted you with all this insight, you would have treated me and my child with compassion. You speak with a voice that is just so gentle and lovely.

    • That’s very nice of you to say. I like to think I always had compassion in me but the truth is that I’ve become a lot more understanding over the past few years.

  8. jewelsathome Says:

    Thanks for writing this. It comes from the heart, and it is something I try to remember myself each day. Almost all of us parents are just trying our best, and judgement and criticism will not help the parents or the kids (but was perfect for the judgey lady in the store! Your kids are lucky to have you!

  9. Jen McTaggart Says:

    thanks.

  10. Ann Kilter Says:

    Good. Removing the beam from your eye, before judging others applies to special needs parents, too. There is also the “you aren’t doing enough for your child if you don’t embrace diet changes, behavior therapy, immunization issues, and drugs, etc,” judgements. We all do the best we can and everyone has different issues. And we know our own kids like nobody else does. This is an excellent blog post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s