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,
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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