By Regular Mummy Contributor Jade Kelly (@jadeakelly_)

Judgement - it's only human. But certainly not to the extent or level some people choose to take it to. That's right, CHOOSE. Because no matter what, you always have the choice as to how you handle situations and treat others. 

That being said – everyone has judged someone, on some level, at some point in time. I, personally, have been judged over and over again for being a young mum and how I choose to parent my children. Being a young mum has ‘defined’ me in a way, and unfortunately as young mums we're exposed to criticism and lower expectations solely based on our age. Which isn't fair.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me and I haven't let it affect me in some way. It has. But the silver lining to this is we have the chance to prove the haters wrong. And despite this constant judgement of me, I can proudly say that I have never judged another mother's parenting or had the audacity to think it's even acceptable, or my place, to judge someone in this way. It's not. And I'm honestly disappointed with people that think it is. 

I ask myself these questions daily; Aren't we all adults here? Since when has it become acceptable to attack and judge anyone, let alone fellow mothers? Did I miss the memo that cruel is the new kind? Honestly - is this the example you want to set for your children - that bullying is ok? Aren't you aware of the dangers and repercussions of bullying anyone, at any age? 

Who cares if I co-sleep with my children? How is it affecting you? Why does it bother you if I'm still breastfeeding and want to continue to do so until my son doesn't want or need my comfort in that way? Mind your own business!

Is it really bothering you that much that I have a relaxed style of parenting and don't follow a routine? It's what works for my family. Worry about your own life and what works for your family.

Who cares if I’m a young mum? Yes, I had my children young. But age doesn't have anything to do with being a good mother. That is a fact. Whether you're 40 or 24, age won't determine the type of mother you'll be. Only you can do that. I pour my heart and soul into raising my two beautiful boys. They're my everything. I don't deserve judgement because I'm a young mum. I don't deserve to be judged in general. No one does. 

Now, I know that not everyone will always agree with me and that's fine. I'm not naïve. You're entitled to your own opinion. All I ask is that you think before you speak or judge.

Being a mother is hard – wonderful, but hard. Each day holds its own unique challenges. We all have our own secret battles and hardships. We're all getting by as best as we possibly can. After all, aren't we after the same thing - happy and healthy children?

We're supposed to support and encourage each other - praise each other, not tear each other down and criticise. What good is that doing? If you don't have anything nice to say - don't say it at all! I couldn't put it any simpler I tried. 

I’ve created life-long friendships with woman that are honest, kind, loving and, above all, kick ass mothers who want not only to bring light and happiness to my life, but to support me and respect my parenting decisions. They understand the fact that's it's MY life.

So, instead of being a bully, try forming supportive friendships and bonds with your fellow mamas. Create a network you can be proud of! And just remember – words can harm. Be a person your children can look up to. Set a positive example for them. It's never to late to change your ways. 

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