This afternoon on my fourth school run of the day, myself and Ciara collected Ryan from Montessori at 3 o’clock.
When I came out of the crèche I struggled to carry coats, bags, a scooter and two little hands as I mentioned to the kids we were going to take the Luas (the crèche is two stops away on the Luas but a 35-minute walk on foot).
Ryan immediately went into tantrum mode shouting that he didn’t want to take the Luas, he wanted to walk so he could have more time on his scooter. That’s when I heard my parenting being judged.
A woman passing with her friend gave me a disapproving look and turned to her friend saying I was “encouraging laziness”. I was about to try and explain myself until I realised it was none of her business and I do not need to justify my parenting to anyone, let alone a judgmental stranger on the street.
Here’s what she saw:
Me pleading with Ryan to hurry up, that if we get the Luas instead of walking we can get ice cream when we get off.
Another young mother failing to control her kids, “encouraging laziness” and using ice cream to bribe them, turning them into spoilt little brats.
Here’s what she didn’t see:
The lack of sleep I got last night because the kids kept waking up too hot, looking for juice or needing the bathroom.
Me getting up at half six this morning to get Ciara ready for school and make sure Josh was up for work.
The fact that I hadn’t eaten all day or sat down since 8 o’clock this morning because between school and crèche runs and housework I didn’t have a chance.
Having to stand up on the Luas on the way over even though my feet were throbbing from being on them all day, because the only available seats faced the opposite way to the direction we were going in and Ciara gets travel sick.
The crippling menstruation cramps I’ve had all day that painkillers just won’t shift.
The stress I’m under from wedding planning with less than two months to go.
The grief I’m suffering because my dad died last month.
So, to the judgmental woman from today, to any person who’s judged a mother on the street or to anyone who has ever judged another human being, who gave you the right to do so?
What business is it of yours how someone raises their children? You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and what a person might be going through.
We need to stop judging mothers and start supporting them instead. We may be all sharing this world together but let me tell you, none of us are getting out alive!