Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Some people seem determined to judge and spread negativity. They know best; you are wrong. You shouldn't have done that, you should have done this like this, you shouldn't think that/do that/dress like that/live like that/parent like that.
I am a single mother. I know that having a blog and daring to write about my experience puts me in the firing line. Anyone who puts their head above the parapet and speaks out is in for it in this culture. Just lately, some comments on some of my work have downright surprised me though. For example, this post for Yahoo about my journey as a single parent. I had intended it to be a positive piece about how I'd started out depressed and afraid but actually now was doing quite well. The comments on it surprised me; people seem determined to make assumptions and judge based on those assumptions.
Then there's this piece about how I decided to go self employed. Instead of read it and think "good luck to her" people feel the need to comment with unending negativity - about me, and about how being self employed isn't as great as I make it out to be.
And this piece about being depressed in pregnancy, where some woman says she feels sorry for my child!
I spend a lot of time on the internet (even with my current self-imposed social media ban). Every day I read things I disagree with. People parenting in a way I wouldn't choose to. People choosing to write a post on Facebook where they call their child a little shit or worse. People agreeing with government policies I had hoped were a joke. I'm not argumentative enough to leave a comment beneath any of it though. Am I alone in this? I just think "that's a bit shit" and click to a different page. Scroll on past.
But with my life (and with many others who end up judged so harshly) there is also the other aspect of it: the fact that, regardless of whether I made poor choices in my life up to this point or not, the end result is that there is a child. She is alive, and she needs to be looked after and raised well. I can't put her back in; she won't fit. So while everyone is busy arguing and judging over whether I should or shouldn't have had a baby when I hadn't been with the father for long, or was on medication or whatever else... there is still a child.
Surely it would be more beneficial for all concerned - not least the child - if we could all put our judgement and recriminations to one side and look at how best to care for the child. Not just my child, but all children who are born in less than ideal circumstances.
Yes, you could cut benefits and have single mothers fend for themselves, as one commenter has suggested - but that's punishing the child as much as the mother. The child has done nothing wrong. Don't they deserve just as much of a chance in life as a child of a wealthy, two-parent family?
By all means, call me names. Punish me. But don't punish my child. Don't judge my child; she has done nothing wrong, and she is perfect, just as she is.