Saturday, February 11, 2012

choices do not always equal judgment

This morning I read a blog from one of my favorite mom bloggers, and it resonated with me on many levels.  The gist of the blog {in case you don't want to read the entire thing} was about the "trend of deriding those bloggers who write anything considered "alternative". They are accused of being holier-than-thou, of judging others, of making others feel bad about their lives, of presenting an impossible image, and above all, of pretending to have the perfect life".  

Wow.  After writing a blog about "mompetition" and some areas where I needed to be less competitive, I was accused of being judgmental and making them feel bad about their parenting choices.  In hindsight, though I wrote that blog with no intention of hurting feelings, I can see how the tone might have come across as haughty.  I shared some things that I'm passionate about, and how I need to be less judgmental about  my choices.  Yet, I was still accused of judging by saying I needed to judge less.  If you can possibly understand that, God bless you. {can you send me an email and explain it to me?}

You see, after years of community in an online group of friends {we connected on a parenting website when we were all pregnant with our first children}, I decided to be really transparent about an area where I was struggling.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the path that conversation would ultimately take.  To make a very long, emotionally damaging story short, several of the ladies {who I would've referred to as some of my closest friends, albeit only in the virtual world} began ripping me apart, limb from limb, accusing me of being judgmental and opinionated for sharing some of my choices {breastfeeding, choosing not to fully vaccinate, attachment parenting, not taking narcotic meds after a c-section because I didn't want to endanger my breastfeeding or bonding relationship with my newborn}.  One gal even went as far as to say that I was "without tact".  I was absolutely heartbroken, and it rocked me to the core of my being.  

In "real life", I had never been accused of being judgmental or opinionated.  I really contemplated why, and determined two things: one, the written word can often be read in a different tone than it was originally intended; and two, perhaps I feel a greater freedom to share about my decisions when I'm writing {not getting interrupted every two sentences is empowering! ha!}.  

I love what a commenter wrote on the original blog I mentioned.  She said that the "crunchy" life choices tend to be more research-based.  I'd never thought about it that way.  But yes- I do tons of research about practically every decision I make {from parenting to food purchases to laundry detergent}.  So, when I make a decision, I feel a great deal of certainty {granted, any decision as a mom is subject to change at any given moment!}.  Perhaps, then, when I share about a choice I've made, it comes across as being haughty or proud {in a negative way}, because I am so certain after doing hours of research.

We all have the privilege and responsibility of doing our own research and making our own decisions.  When reading about other people {especially other moms} and their choices, we would all do well {myself included} to refrain from assuming malicious intent.  So hard.

So, what about you?  Have you been accused of being judgmental when you share a decision?  Have you ever been in a situation where you were offended by someone else's certainty?