I think my backyard neighbors are bad parents. My opinion of this is based on two things: 1) she is routinely up after 10 or 11 pm, which to me seems unnecessarily late for a three year old. I know she is up this late because she is usually running around their backyard shouting, which serves to keep me awake, grrr. 2) when we first moved into our house two years ago (meaning the kid was 15 mo, the same age as our daughter), the first thing we did was put a railing on the deck so our daughter wouldn't fall off. That's common sense, right? Well, these people obviously did not think so, and I was treated to the sound of their child screaming several times a day after falling off because while she was playing on the deck her mother was inside. For months. And, while I am a big supporter of letting your kid fall once in a while so they learn to be careful, three times a day over three or four months (until it got too cold to play outside) seems excessive. She was probably unable to learn not to fall off the deck because of all the head injuries she sustained doing just that. But while I think these two things justify my opinion, that doesn't mean I feel good about being so judgmental. I mean, they may think I'm a terrible mom from whatever snippets of my parenting style they've seen. Heck, this person certainly thinks I'm terrible and they've never even seen me in action. And honestly, it doesn't bother me because I know that the truth is I'm a good mom. My kids are happy and healthy and well fed and reasonably clean. I have been complemented on their good behavior in restaurants, and if they don't live on an all organic, sugar free diet or get a bath every day I'm okay with that. Because it's more important that they know I love them, and that they always feel safe and taken care of than that I comply with a stranger's rules for parenting. And it reminds me that we should all try to cut other people some slack when judging. Except for the really bad parents: like people who don't even attempt to control their kids in public , and my backyard neighbors.
There is a fabulous word out there for women who harshly judge other's parenting styles. It is The Sanctimommy. (Take a minute to read the post at the link cause it's great). Also in regards to the 2nd comment (at the above link) about bed head - not that I disagree with the frustrations of seeing kids who have clearly never met a brush, and not that I don't understand parents who pick their battles and decide that tangled hair ins't as important as wearing shoes. But there is also a small percentage out there who have neither ignored the snarls nor given up the fight. My daughter constantly has "crazy hair" because she just has crazy hair. I brush it, I don't brush it, there is no difference. She has a weird growth pattern and some is really curly and some is only a little curly and it just goes all over. So please forgive us parents who are actually trying to groom our children but who may not be able to wrestle nature into submission. I am dying to get her into ponytails as a way of taming the beast.