The “judgy-est” people are those who have no kids, followed by the pregnant ones, followed by the parents of newborns (oh, and then by the parents of grown children with faulty memories!). By the time parents have been in the game for a few years, I think they are far more tolerant of diverse parenting strategies, because they’ve all used each one of them at least once.
But of course the judgment goes both ways. As a comparative veteran, I can sometimes listen to would-be or going-to be parents and think, honey, you haven’t got a clue. Just wait. It doesn’t matter if the discussion is natural childbirth, or breastfeeding, or attachment parenting, or old-school parenting. You haven’t met your kid yet, and you haven’t met your sleepless self yet, so just wait before you write your rules in stone.
On the other hand, there is something beautiful about would-be parents and their plans and dreams. We’ve all been there. We all had good intentions and strong opinions (or half-assed opinions). It is not my job to educate and I don’t even think it would serve a purpose. Innocence is good. There is nothing so beautiful and hopeful as a pregnant first-time mom, or the mom of a newborn. So much possibility!
Understanding and tolerance is required on both sides. Recognize when you are clueless. Recognize when your experience is just your experience, not a universal truth. And recognize when you should just smile and say “isn’t that interesting.”
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