Have you ever yelled at your crying kid only to show those judging others that you had this shit storm under control?
What about bail out on your grocery shopping because your kid decided to have the ultimate meltdown over not being able to put his boogers on every cookie box he could touch?
From the moment we wake up we’re going through our day trying to get acceptance from those around us…
“What will my friends think if I took this job?”
“What will his mom think if my child doesn’t share this toy?”
“It’s been a year since I had my baby and I still can’t fit into this dress, what’s everyone gonna say?”
Living to please others makes you a follower… someone who can’t take a stand for anything in life… even your own child.
The Moment I Realized The Truth…
My daughter, 4 at the time, was having a school performance for Christmas.
Although the teacher told me she was practicing hard and was excited to perform, she had a complete and total meltdown once she got up on stage.
Now, the last thing that crossed my mind was removing her from the stage because I was worried what the other parents might think of her.
I took a video of her meltdown and shared it with family (we all make horrible mistakes)… and I heard about all the judgments behind my back…
“She’s a bad parent”
“Why would she let her cry on stage?”
“There are other parents who want to watch their child in peace…”
As if I didn’t want to watch my daughter’s performance.
I didn’t remove her immediately because…
- First, I wanted her to be present with her fears because I knew that in order to overcome it she needed to experience it.
- Second, I refused to “rescue” her immediately and make her believe that every time she experienced challenges that I’ll be there to save her, which is the first step in the direction towards raising an adult who’s incapable of solving their own issues.
I let her be on that floor crying for less than a minute… then I walked over, picked her up, sat back down in my seat, and held her and rocked her in my arms until she caught her breath…
And not a minute later, I put her right in front of me and told her to perform for me… For Mommy… whom she practiced so diligently for…
It was hard not to notice her hunched shoulders, coy smile, the twisting of her body from shyness but excitement at the thought of dancing for mommy, and head tilted ever so slightly to the floor…
The option of giving up wasn’t even a possibility in my mind… because I wanted her to know that despite her fears she’s strong and that I believed in her strength enough to allow her to keep going…
I wish EVERYONE who judged me could see her confidence grow with every delicate dance move she performed, for me… just for mommy…
The tears came rolling down my cheeks… despite my best efforts I couldn’t stop it…
My heart ballooned with pride but ached at the thought of the fear that gripped her innocent little heart…
As shocked as I was about the judgments, I soon realized…
Most people parent from a place to avoid judgments rather than think about the parenting opportunities that are in front of them at that moment…
How can I explain to them that parenting should never be done to appeal to the opinions of those who want to judge me, but rather from a place that supports the values and characters that I want to raise in my child?
Imagine if I immediately removed her from that stage and held her in my arms and let her “give up” because I was more consumed with what others were thinking about me and my child…
What message am I sending to my daughter?
What parenting opportunity would I have missed?
…Because this year’s performance, on an even BIGGER stage, with even 5x MORE people in the audience, my baby girl freakin’ ROCKED that stage!!!
Although she told me she was scared to get on that stage, I told her she could do it and that I believed in her… And she did…
Her beautiful little face with a smile from ear to ear beaming with pride was all I needed to release another session of waterworks… doesn’t take much these days to have a faceful of smudged mascara streaking down to my mouth.
When you let others opinions direct your actions you’re giving into the idea of who you think other people want you to be as a parent instead of parenting to support the values and character that you want them to have.
Opinion Domination in Action
Take a look and see if you parent from this place.
The first step to fixing any problem is to realize that one existed in the first place.
- When you scold your crying kid because you see that people around you are starting to see how you’re going to handle the shit storm going on.
- When you let your kid watch the iPad or iPhone at the restaurant so he stays quiet like a zombie instead of getting loud and demanding… because that could possibly bother everyone else.
- When you’re forcing your kid to share constantly (or give up his toys) because you think other moms are gonna think your child is selfish.
- When you’re in the market and you leave to go back home because your child started his meltdown and you’re embarrassed.
- When you feel really good when people tell you that you’re an amazing parent and all your parenting is done from a place to get approval when you’re in public.
- When you jump at the chance to make your kid apologize without hearing out your own child because you’re worried about what the other mom will think of you guys.
We’ve all been there…
So let’s see why this is catastrophic for your child and what you can do to turn it around…
Why You Love To Care About Opinions
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Holy shit… I let other people control my parenting and I’m a crappy parent”, give yourself a break…
According to Scientific American, what other people think about us matters because social status is an important factor in obtaining resources. (Crazy, right?)
More interesting is that people will change their behaviors to make sure that they’re positively perceived by others, especially if those “others” are in our social circle…
…the opinion of others is not weighed equally in all situations. We rarely pause to consider what others might think when the context is good because we’re assured that our status within the group is unaffected. And negative opinions held by those outside of our social networks may have less weight than others because they are less likely have an impact on future relations. Is it only when our social standing is threatened that we begin to wonder … what are people going to think?
So understand that if your parenting’s been hijacked by others, it’s not your fault… we’re social creatures and our need to be accepted has much deeper roots than you think…
But now that you’re aware that you operate from that place, it’s time to flip the switch.
How To Take The Reigns Back
As a parent, we want to protect our kids from tough situations, that’s just intrinsic.
But according to Dr. Dan Siegel, a Harvard trained Psychiatrist and author of The Whole Brain Child, the tough situations are exactly what kids need in order to grow and develop into adults who have good decision-making skills, emotional intelligence, empathy, and morality!
You need to use those tough moments as parenting opportunities that’ll shape your child.
When you parent from a place where you’re more focused on others opinions you unknowingly neglect the critical parenting opportunity that exists in the tough moment:
- When you scold your crying child because you think other people are judging you, you’re neglecting to listen to your kid, help him understand his emotions, and help him solve his problem that existed in the first place.
- When you let your kid watch the iPad or iPhone at the restaurant to stay quiet, you’re neglecting the opportunity for him to develop patience and self-control in public settings.
- When you’re forcing your kid to share (or give up his toys) constantly, you’re neglecting the opportunity for him to learn that it’s okay to protect those things that he wants and values. Also, when it’s his turn to want something he’ll understand that the other kid isn’t obligated to just give him something because he wants it.
- When you jump at the chance to make your kid apologize without hearing them out, you’re neglecting the opportunity for your child to feel like he’s being heard and the chance for him to resolve the situation and grow his problem-solving skills.
So, to make it super simple, you need to stop giving so much shit about what other people think about your parenting and start caring more about what’s best for your child.
How to Stop Giving A Shit What Others Think of Your Parenting
Judging from Lifehacker’s 1.2 Million Likes on “How to Stop Giving a F*ck What People Think“, there’s a whole lot of us who want to break free of living life for the others, whether you’re a mommy or not.
Here are ways to stop giving a shit what others think of your parenting:
- Stop thinking people actually care. In our social media obsessed world we have an attention span of about 8 seconds, according to Time. And according to a research done by the National Science Foundation, we have about 50,000 thoughts a day! There’s not a lot of space in our heads to worry about someone else… the truth is, most people are worried about themselves, much less about you.
- They judge ’cause you’re AWESOME. No matter what you do, judgers are gonna judge. It’s just an inevitable part of life. When people judge you it stems from their own insecurities about themselves. I know because I’ve been the judger and it was at a time in my life when I was miserable with myself. I would hate on everyone who I thought had more than me and it would make “ME” feel good to tear them down. So there… if people judge you it’s because they think you’re so dang awesome and they can’t stand it. So the only thing they can do to make themselves feel a “weeeee” bit better is to knock your awesome down.
- Up your confidence game. When people see you’re confident, they just don’t mess with you because it’s too much work to knock down someone who can’t be knocked down. So go ahead and lift your head up high, stand up straight, and look down on everyone who tries to knock down your “awesome.”
- Surround yourself with winners. You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you’re spending time with negative people it’ll bring you down. Instead, surround yourself with people who’ll lift you up. Find other mommies who don’t judge you, who don’t care whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed, vaccinate or unvaccinate. But rather care about the loving mom that you are and support you to be the mom you want to be.
- Everyone’s struggling. Even if you think they’ve got their shit together, no one really does. Behind closed doors, everyone has something they’re struggling with in private. It’s these exact struggles that might get them to judge you in the first place. So when you feel like they’re starting to judge, choose to walk away and leave them to be alone in their sad little world. You really don’t have to take part in their misery.
I’ll leave you with this… because you’re FREE to be what you want!