What would you do if some self-righteous critic comes up to you and starts making thou-shalt-not comments about your mommy skills? Would you:
a. Do the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on the critic while your other hand is getting manicured?
b. Thank the critic for pointing out what should be done, hug her then carefully pluck a strand of hair and give it to your mangkukulam (necromancer) BFF?
c. Shout “crucify her” at the top of your lungs?
d. All of the above
Mothers are notoriously sensitive when they are being criticized for the way they are raising their children. It is something that doesn’t sit well with moms.
When it comes to our children, we do things with the best intentions (zero risk and perfect outcome). But in spite of, we constantly question our actions and worry if we are indeed doing the best for the people we love most in life. We have so many fears and doubts about our own mommy skills that being castigated for one makes us feel like a terrible mom, and no mom would ever want to be viewed as one.
No mother is spared from criticism. We get it from our own moms, our mothers-in-law, or our annoying we-are-the-perfect-parents neighbors whose kids have the strongest inclination of becoming the next Unabomber.
I got criticized by some random stranger at a mall for not having “the right kind of baby carrier”. She made a thorough lecture about the benefits of the baby carrier she apparently used. Only one question popped in my mind that time – Are we close?
What should you do when you are being criticized?
Keep Mum and Listen
While you’re being criticized for whatever, hold your tongue. Too much emotion can result to bad reaction. Just listen to what the critic is saying. He/she could be saying something of vital importance. If not, just keep quiet and watch the critic make a fool of himself/herself.
After all your loathing has subsided, assess what was being criticized about your mommy skills. Is the criticism valid or justified? Does the critic have a good motive or is he/she just an irritating meddler? There are some people who criticize with the best interest for both you and your child. Assess which critic belongs to that category.
Acceptance and Self-Improvement
If there is validity to the criticism, then we should begin the hard journey to acceptance. Acceptance is the first (and critical) step to self-improvement. Think about the ways in which you can improve your mommy skills further. Our goal is to give our child the best care possible, right? Improving ourselves will give them just that. Accept also that there are just some people who think high of themselves just because they can put on a diaper five seconds less than you can.
If the critic’s claim is false, then rejoice in the knowledge that you are not like him/her. We cannot control what others think of us. We can only control the way we think of ourselves and of others.
Parenting styles vary, that’s why criticism exists. One’s ways and beliefs are different from another. But despite that, respect and the Golden Rule should supersede one’s thinking. You are entitled to your own beliefs, but you don’t have to be an Equus africanus asinus about it.
We have a lot of theories about parenting, but that’s just what they are - theories. If one mommy skill has been proven to be superior (faultless and holy) amongst all, then it would have been turned into a universal law a long time ago.
When your job description includes “educating a generation”, the pressure to make everything right is enormously high. Like what I stated above, as long as we do things with the best intention possible and do not do things that are way beyond what’s right and necessary (physical, emotional, sexual, verbal abuse), then I guess, we are a-okay.
*Guest post for glamomamas.com
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