Generally speaking, I'm not one for self-doubt in the face of adversity. For the most part I've always just done my own thing regardless of what my friends or the rest of the world thought. At times it was lonely to be such a weirdo, but I was born a dedicated outsider, so making my own way came naturally. (As I got older I was able to make friends with other wackos. Turns out the world is full of us.)
Sufficed to say, I'm used to disagreeing with people when it comes to living life. I don't have a history of letting that get under my skin. Instead I tend to let them do it their way while I do it mine, and the world spins madly on, oblivious to the fact that I decided to wear a tie and suspenders at six years old instead of a pink frilly dress, or that I shaved by head on a whim one afternoon after quitting high school. Really, my personal philosophies, lifestyle choices, and private inclinations are just that - private. As in, nobody elses business and certainly nobody elses decision.
So it struck me by surprise just how incredibly sensitive I became shortly after having CC. At first I chalked it up to hormones. But the baby blues came and went and still I felt so shakey, so insecure, so unlike myself and my usual approach to life. And every time I spent time with other parents it only got worse. I found myself listening to their stories about raising kids and feeling uncertain about my own choices and methods. I felt worried that I was doing it all wrong. I felt scared that they would think I was doing it all wrong. I felt scrutinized and judged and naked.
On top of all that awkward social interaction with real live people there was the internet to contend with. (Which I've spent a whole lot of time on since becoming a curious/frantic/desperate mother.) People on the internet are just plain mean. Those folks aren't just over-sharing or accidentally making people feel bad with their perfect-sounding lives. They are actively shaming and bullying eachother over everything from breastfeeding to sleep training styles. If you want to give a new mom and anxiety attack just leave her internet browser open to a mommy forum. For real, it's crazy.
And it was flipping me out.
But then a friend of mine came over with her big cute pregnant belly and I found myself rattling on about inane details of my life with CC - how I fed him, how I bathed him, how I played with him and talked to him. I wasn't trying to pressure her into doing things my way with her own kid. I just had this urge to share - kind of like I share here on my blog. Except once I had a real live human person in my clutches it was so much more intense. Before I knew it I was share-vomiting all over her. Blah blah blah blah. Listen to me talk about my kid. Blah blah.
So it hit me - maybe all these times I'm feeling judged by other parents they are really just giving in to their own urge to share. Maybe like when I listen to people talk about other topics relevant to my own life, I could listen without taking every word personally. Perhaps it was up to me how I decided to take it.
It's sort of like the other parent's stories or advice or whatever are just a bunch of raw potatoes. Eating potato raw isn't very pleasant so I need to make it into something else before I can ingest it. I have the choice of making myself a plate of I can't believe her pompous ass mashed potatoes, or a basket of wow, her choices are different than mine would be but that's totally OK french fries.
So maybe us parents should all stop shaming and feeling shamed, and instead enjoy some tasty white starches. Unless of course, you're paleo, then I guess you'd be taking my sharing starch and quietly slipping it into the rubbish bin. Actually, come to think of it, that's not a bad strategy for dealing with unsolicited advice either.