When Moms Judge…

When Carrie commented on my picky eater post a couple of Mondays ago and shared that she felt judged as a mom sometimes, it tugged at my heart.

Ironically, later that same day, I was at the doctor’s office picking up medicine for my daughter (she had strep throat) and I saw another mom being judged…

She was about 8 1/2 months pregnant and looked exhausted. Her daughter (about two) was clinging to her leg, and her son (about four) was running around the chairs in the waiting room.

Her little girl was the one who was sick–coughing and crying, her nose running and her eyes watery.

When the girl’s cries got louder,

and the mom didn’t respond,

other people in the waiting room began to stare.

I could almost hear them thinking…Why isn’t that mom doing something? Why isn’t she taking her daughter out of here?

After several minutes, the mom tiredly leaned over and picked up the little girl,

when all of the sudden,

the crying stopped…

and the girl threw up,


There was an audible gasp in the room.

And plenty more stares.

I hurried to the counter and asked for some paper towels, grabbed the Kleenex box off the nurse’s station, and brought them back to the mom, whose look of appreciation gave me a lump in my throat.

I could feel her embarrassment and exhaustion.

I could the feel irritation in the room too, as if it was the mom’s fault her daughter got sick.

I wondered if she noticed the stares like I did.

And I realized,

I’ve been guilty of the same thing before…

Judging other moms.

Watching them with their kids and thinking they should (or shouldn’t be) doing something.

With this mom in the doctor’s office, I just felt sorry for her. But there have been other times I was the one doing the staring…

When Mike and I first had our daughter, we went to a parenting class. We read a bunch of books. We tried to get as many tools under our belts as we could.

And as she got older and started to test us, she didn’t get away with much (the poor first child…). We implemented what we learned, worked through the challenges, and were happy with the results.

Up to that point, when I’d see other kids having a tantrum and the mom not doing anything about it, I’d sometimes wonder…

Why is the mom allowing that? Why isn’t she doing X, Y, or Z?

In other words,

I judged.

Then there was that fateful day in Target when my daughter was about two and a half years old (just old enough to start having some real tantrums of her own) and she threw herself prostrate on the floor, kicking and SCREAMING.

No matter what I said or did,

no matter what X, Y, or Z consequence I promised (and she knew I’d follow through),

there was no stopping her.

It was humbling, to say the least.

I got more than a few judging stares as I carried her out of the store with her arms and legs flailing wildly.

Ever since then, when I see kids acting out, I feel for the mom.

Because I’ve been there.

We’ve all been there at one point or another, no matter how well we discipline, what methods we use, or how many parenting books we’ve read.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to sound like I have a throw-your-hands in the air or anything goes approach to parenting. I don’t. I think consistency, boundaries, discipline, setting clear expectations, and following through are all important.

But I also think every child is different,

and every mom is different,

and what works for one parent or child,

may not work for another (sort of like the picky eater thing).

And sometimes–yes–we moms mess up. 

We don’t handle situations the way we should, 

or we aren’t consistent.


Let’s not judge each other.

We come from different walks of life, backgrounds, and families…

If we’ve perfected our babies’ nap schedules, we shouldn’t judge moms who drive their babies around so they’ll fall asleep in the car. And if we don’t think a nap schedule is important, we shouldn’t judge moms who do.

If we decide to nurse our babies for a year and a half (or longer), we shouldn’t judge moms who don’t. And if we nurse for six months or not at all, we shouldn’t judge moms who nurse for a year and a half.

If our kids go to private or public school, we shouldn’t judge moms who homeschool. And if we homeschool, we shouldn’t judge moms who don’t.

The list could go on and on.

We’re different people and we have different reasons for the decisions we make,

or have to make…

But we’re all moms.

And we’re in this together.

Motherhood is hard enough without the judging stares or whispers from others,

or the finger pointing that can make us feel like we’re failing.

Because there’s nothing worse as a mom than feeling like we’re failing.


So the next time we see a mom struggling or handling a situation differently than we might handle it, 

instead of judging,

let’s help her,

or smile at her,

or pray for her,

or encourage her.

If we all did that, just think how much easier being a mom would become. :)

What about you? Have you ever felt judged as a mom, or have you realized that you were the one doing the judging? Leave a comment and share!


Leave a comment to take a “no judge” pledge with me. (I wasn’t planning on doing this when I started writing this post, but how powerful would it be if everyone who reads this–whether you have a blog or not–simply comments and says, “I’m in,” to show support for moms and a commitment to try not to judge!)


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  1. I love it, I whole-heartedly, absolutely and 100% love it. It's so true, sad, but true, that sometimes we just cannot help ourselves and the expression on our faces gives away how much we're truly judging, even when we try not to. Thanks for this fantastic post!

  2. Great post, great reminder! You are so right –"Motherhood is hard enough without the judging stares or whispers from others." :)

  3. Love, love, love, LOVE this post! I wish all of us mothers could band together more and be more united – we could learn so much more and get so much more accomplished.

  4. I'm so with you! When I was a newer mom, I just stopped telling people what we did with feeding/sleeping/disciplining, etc. I never understood why other moms seemed to think that if we did things differently, one of us must be wrong. I totally agree that what works for one kid/mom/family, doesn't necessarily work for the next. And it's OK.Thanks for raising the issue Genny.Mary

  5. So true! Before I was a mom, I thought the same judging thoughts. Then, I had the privilege of my daughter throwing a complete fit in the store one day and after that, my attitude changed. Now I think to myself, well, it might be her child today, but it might be mine tomorrow. Now I feel more compassion for other moms…most of the time.I pledge to not judge! And to help whenever possible. :)Excellent post Genny.I have picky eaters too and I completely understand how others look at me as a mom…like I'm just not trying hard enough to get my child to eat…well, if trying everything I know and have read for 11 years isn't working hard…hmmm….Thanks for sharing on these topics!

  6. Two weeks ago I wrote a post on "ending the Mommy" wars, which hit the front page of Freshly Pressed. I couldn't believe it…at first. But then I realized that this is something that irritates everyone on both sides of the divide: the judges and the judged (and let's face it, we're all on both sides at one point or another).

  7. I pledge to take the "no judge" challenge with you (which, by the way…is a wonderful idea)!Oh…change your Target story to Barnes and Noble and I'm right there with ya, honey! Parker was about the same age as your daughter when he pitched a fit because we had to leave the train table at the back (waaaaayyyy in the very back) of Barnes and Noble. As I was wrestling with his kick and screaming little body to get him back in his stroller I bumped another mom. I was near tears and quickly apologized. She was so kind and smiled and said, "It's okay…I've been there." Apparently others in the store had not "been there" as they stared and frowned as I wheeled my screaming child from the waaaayyyy back of the Barnes and Noble to the very front of the Barnes and Noble. I remember that I was Christmas shopping at the time and had books in my hand to purchase and quickly realized that my child was not going to stop his tantrum and I was certainly not going to be able to stand in line to check out. I dropped the books on the nearest table and scooted out as quickly as possible.You could also take the "throwing up in the doctor's office" and switch it to "throwing up at the Minnesota Zoo" and substitute my Faith as the thrower-upper. She wasn't quite one yet and she was still on her chemo. It had been about a week or two since her last treatment but something that day just didn't sit right with her and as we were finishing up at the zoo, up came everything in her tummy. Again…I stood nearly crying as I quickly grabbed her and held her little head over a garbage can. A friend was with me but really wasn't of much help. I think her instinct was more of panic than anything. But again…so many stares and no one to help.Thanks for an eye-opener today. The next time I see a good temper tantrum going on, I'll ask that mom (or dad) I'll give them a smile and offer of help instead of a judging look.Peace and blessings to your day!Jeanine

  8. I love this post and I really truly think everyone should read it. I tweeted it and added it to my Facebook page to help spread the word. It really is important not to judge, but sometimes we do it without even thinking about it.

  9. Great post! Being a mother to a teen with Aspergers and other disorders and a 10yr old with endless energy (ADHD) how can I dare pass any judgement on any poor mother! Seriously. I've been judged too many times to mention.I only pray people don't have to swallow their own thoughts of "I would never, or she should" because it may very well be them one day!

  10. Great post!I'm guilty of judging but my eyes were opened to that a while back and I've been trying to judge way less. I think it helped to have a kid who had a tantrum in the store because she didn't get her own way and I saw how others looked at me. It felt awful. But I also decided that day that I was the mom and I knew why I made the decisions I made. Someone can look down on me because they see my crying child in the seat of the shopping cart and I don't seem to be doing anything to stop it. But you know what… my kid was fine. She was just mad. And I wasn't giving in because of other's stares. So now when I have to walk out of wherever I am with one (or two!) kid under an arm kicking and screaming I just hold my head high and smile at those who stare. (It kind of shocks them haha.)By the way… I'm in.

  11. Thanks for sharing your stories, and for joining in with me!!!Genny :)

  12. Sure, we judge but that's not a bad thing. Judging is a part of processing and it's part of how we learn what we do and don't want to do as parents. I do love your suggestion, though, that we help each other, too. It's hard to take that step with a stranger but I admire that you did. My friend's two-year-old once threw a fit in a department store and when the security guard tried to stop my friend from bodily removing the kid from the store, he demanded she somehow "prove" the kid was hers. "Think about it," she said, while holding the screaming child,"if she wasn't mine, why the hell would I want her now?"

  13. This is so what I try to live by. I think I am one of those moms who gets a lot–plenty–of raised eyebrows and gasps. Moms are so tired and worn-out and they us to encourage them.I'm with you, girl, no judging here!!!

  14. Oh, oh! Well said, and I've JUST been writing excessively about this very topic :). We are clearly blog-soul mates. Great post!Peryl @ parenting ad absurdum

  15. Great post Genny!! It's so true -I know I've judged more than once sadly. And I've also had my son throw a fit in a store when he was young – oh that horrible hot feeling and knowing that you're bright red and everybody is staring right at you! My husband still remembers me calling him at work after I made it out to the parking lot – I had to vent to someone! :)Whenever I hear a baby crying or see a little one throwing a fit in a public place, I remember my experience. It happens to every mom at some point I think!

  16. Hi Genny,Just taking a breather and thought I'd pop over and say hi. LOVE your blog. And,yes…I'm judging your mom-blog, it's great. If you ever get the bug to teach a class on blogging I'd sit in your front row.Ok, time to clear the bed of all of my junk and invite Paul in for the night. Poor guy, he walked in earlier and the mess was overwhelming!

  17. I had to stop back today. Last night I made a quick trip into CVS for a couple of must-have items (conditioner for Faith's hair being the main one). There was a mom with a toddler in the same aisle as me and this little guy wasn't being naughty, he was just chatting away…very LOUDLY! I could tell she was so embarrassed and was trying to shush him. When they left the aisle he started screaming…louder and Louder and LOUDER until pretty much the entire store…and probably people in the parking lot…could hear him. I thought of your post and how this poor mom was probably so happy to get out of the store. I hope her little guy found the comfort he was looking for and they were both able to settle in for the evening.

  18. Being a mom is so tough, why do we make it even harder on ourselves by judging? Great post!

  19. Great post. I too am guilty of judging even when I really try hard not to. Being a mom is tough, period.

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