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Confession: I’m a recovering mom-judger.
I used to roll my eyes when one more exasperated first time mom would ask, “How do I get my two-month old to sleep through the night?” I would be hard pressed to hide my surprise if another mom admitted the cornerstones of her kid’s diet for the last week was string cheese and chicken nuggets. I’d go home and tell my husband, “So and so lets her kids do x, y, and z. Can you believe it?” followed by the quintessential line, “I would NEVER let that happen.”
Yep. That was me. Judgey McJudgerson at your service.
A few nights ago when I was spinning around in my chair singing, “I’m not funny, la la la…” instead of writing, I started to wonder why I judged so much. I’m not a mean-spirited person. I genuinely like most of the people I found myself judging. I didn’t like judging them nor the guilt that came with it. So what was my issue?
And in a flash of insight not unlike Big Bird realizing he didn’t want a new habitat if it meant leaving his friends on Sesame Street, it hit me.
I judge because I’m insecure.
Why do I judge a mom who admits she lets her kids watch a crap load of T.V.? Because her lack of remorse, and confidence in her parenting skills, reminds me of my insecurity.
It’s my problem. Not hers.
Why do I judge the mom who posts on Facebook all of the homemade crafts and art projects she does with her kids? Because I feel bad for not having the desire to do those things with my kids.
It’s my problem. Not hers.
So this all begs the question, “What if I stop judging other moms who are just doing their best, and try to up my game and continue to strive to be the best mom I can be?” If I take all the energy I exert when I’m whining or ranting about some other mom (most likely a nameless face on the internet because they’re easy targets), and instead put that energy into building my own self-confidence and making better decisions for my family, nothing but positive outcomes can emerge.
I’m talking to myself when I say this, but I hope you’ll hear me too. None of us are perfect. All of us know that. We all go to bed some days wondering how badly we screwed up our kids; we wonder if we’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, do people like us? This parenting thing is hard, and it’s made even harder if we’re tearing each other down rather than building each other up. It’s so easy to feel isolated on Planet Parenthood and it just shouldn’t be that way.
If someone is brave enough to ask an honest question about their kids, we need to honor their desire to do what’s best for their children. If someone has the stones to admit that they spent most of the day restraining themselves from running out the front door forever, we need to offer support, encouragement, a hug, and a whole lot of beer. If someone is confident in their parenting decisions, even if we don’t agree with them, we need to respect the fact that they’re trying to do the best they can for their family.
Can we stop wasting our precious time and energy judging other moms and just love them instead, please? Pretty please with a red dye number five infused, chemical laden, 72 ingredient list snack food on top?
This post was originally featured on Toni’s blog, Is It Bedtime Yet?