This is a thought experiment directly related to bluemilk’s A couple of things to bear in mind with the ‘slacker mum’ movement post which is also cross-posted at her blog and a comment left on her Twitter stream last night. (you can follow @bluemilk). Also read this great post by Michelle at Crooked Fences (@ mamabook).
So lets say you are a parent. There are going to be a few people judging you about that choice simply because you made it (regardless of the circumstances it was made in).
Now lets add in: occasionally your child goes out in public with unbrushed hair. Here come a few more judgements.
Now, your child is out in public with unbrushed hair and clothes that are a little oil stained but still look as though they have been washed recently. Can you feel the weight of judgement mounting?
Now lets add some judgements about your child’s bodyshape (regardless of what zie’s parents look like because the judgers don’t care).
Now lets add in another child.
Let’s stop there for a moment – at this point although there are going to be a few judgy people about no one is that likely to be dobbing you into DOCS/Child Services or whatever. This is where I sit on the spectrum, and I suspect that many people talking publicly about themselves as part of the ‘slacker mum’ movement sit too. I don’t know this, it is my ‘feelpinion‘.
Okay, so you can be a slackish parent and no one takes that much notice, except for the judgy people who are just judgy.
Now lets add in some more factors:
You believe in homeschooling or unschooling. You will probably be labelled ‘hippy’ or ‘feral’ and have the judgments that come with that on you too.
You have more than two children.
You have two or more other parents with whom you created these children.
You are a single parent.
You are a single parent with shared custody.
You have a step child/children.
You have a disability or one of your children does.
You are trans.
You are not heterosexual.
You are unemployed or underemployed.
You receive welfare.
You are non white.
None of these things make you a bad parent (just as not ticking any of these boxes necessarily makes you a good parent). But in the eyes of the judgers your children are at risk. Anyone down this end of the scale is probably in danger of being reported to the authorities. Not because you are a bad parent, but just because of the judgement society makes on people who don’t enjoy the privileges of money, white-ness, able-ness, cis-ness and all those other things that people seem to find so important when raising children as if well rounded human beings have never come from parents who aren’t perfect models of white/able/heterosexual-ness or that really fucked up kids have never come from cis white het parents.
The reality is the less your privilege the more your choices come under scrutiny, regardless of what is actually happening with your children.
SoTBO: people who don’t have children whether by choice or not are also judged, often harshly.