On Being Defensive and Judgmental


I wrote this post called Pots & Kettles awhile back, and it's all about how we shouldn't judge older parents — any parents — because we don't know their story, much like they don't know our story. We understand what it's like to be boxed into a stereotype, while we pound our fists: "WE ARE NOT STATISTICS." We are more than you see. So we should be especially sensitive to other people feeling judged, boxed-in, stereotyped.

"I want to be clear: Just because we share why being a young mom can be pretty rad — despite the assumptions and the growing trend to do otherwise — that doesn’t mean that it’s a universally better situation. There are reasons to be grateful (our fertility! our youthful bodies! our abundance of years ahead!), but older women have lists of their own — as they should. Because every mother, every woman, deserves to feel support and encouragement in her choices. What’s right for them, isn’t right for us. Logically it goes both ways."

And fellow young-mom-blogger Gemma Hartley recently wrote a really astute and important post about how younger moms can get defensive and start judging other 20-somethings who happen to be living the more typical 20-something life. The childless life. We snap that our lives are so much more fulfilling and important — that the typical 20-something life is silly. That not everyone is dancing like they're 22, Taylor Swift. Some of us are dealing with spit-up and night feedings at 22, rather than hangovers and all-night pool parties. Here's one of my favorite parts of Gemma's post:

"And personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with dancing like we're 22, whether that means throwing your hands in the air to a boombox blaring poolside or swinging your hips to a lullaby with a new babe in arms. Or anything in between. It's your dance, after all."

(I totally danced like I was 22 — at 17, 18, and 19.)

Creating a young-mom community isn't about declaring that our path is more important than "their" path. It's about finding our people — the people who understand what it's like to be 22, rocking a newborn baby with a stack of grad-school text books on the end table.

If we want them to respect our choices, we need to respect theirs. And I hope that they can find a community to ease their anxieties about being unmarried or living with their parents or feeling lost. About them feeling "happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time". About their life being "miserable and magical (oh yeah)".

Because whether it's older mom vs. younger mom, or married 20-something vs. unmarried 20-something, or party-loving girl vs. new mom, we can and should find the commonalities. The universal struggle of being a mother, or being a Millennial, or simply being a woman.

It's natural to act defensive (I absolutely did), but I've found a direct correlation between my defensiveness and my confidence level. And as I've said about a billion times, I have this community to thank for that. I hope it can do the same for you.


Related posts:

Flipping the Script

Non-Judgment Week

The Lost Generation