If judging were an Olympic sport, moms would medal every time. Seriously, we’d be victory dancing like Usain Bolt and slow clapping like an 80s movie. Am I right?
When it comes to judging one another, moms are THE WORST.
Now listen, this is not an indictment. For one, I’m a mom and I tend to judge as much as the next gal — I don’t exactly have a leg to stand on in this department. For another, indicting other moms is pretty much the same as judging them. I looked it up.
What I want to say is that not all judging is bad. Quite frankly, some of it can be quite helpful and illuminating for our own parenting. I’m not talking about giving the side-eye to a mom who permits her child to climb UP the slide (the horror!) or gasping in shock at a woman breastfeeding in public (breasts, how terrifying!).
The kind of judgment we should reserve for one another needs to come from a desire to learn more about what we want for ourselves as parents and for our children. Allow me give you a few examples from my own life.
I have a dear friend who has this beautiful and clean house. It’s spectacular. Her pantry looks the way I imagine Gwyneth’s looking (as if it was arranged by tiny little pantry-elves that only shop at Whole Foods). She can keep her amazingly decorated house clean and organized, even when her three-year-old is running around like a crazy man. Girl just KNOWS what to do and where EVERYTHING goes. It makes her feel happy when everything is in place.
Another friend of mine is this rock star nutritionist. Like, “makes her own almond milk” and “feeds her willing toddler Brussels sprouts” kind of rock star nutritionist. She’s passionate about food and making sure her family eats the real stuff. Lady spends so. much. time. in the kitchen because it is her studio, her office.
I could easily feel inferior to these two women in my life. After all, organization is not my forte and my toddler just tried cat food for the first time this morning (loved it, by the way). But here’s the thing about those things: they’re just not “my thing.” You know what I mean?
We all have our things that we fight for in this crazy world of parenting. Our battlegrounds. Maybe yours is eating only organic food or not watching any television. Or maybe getting your child to sleep through the night is the hill you’re willing to die on. The thing is, looking at the amazing mothers around me and seeing where their battlefields are helps me figure out mine. The key is to let myself off the hook when something isn’t my “thing” and to let other mothers off the hook when something isn’t theirs.
We can’t do it all. Sad face emoji. But we can’t! Even Giselle Bundchen with her private chef and dreamy husband can’t fight every battle. The best we can do is figure out what is most important to us to impart on our children and then pray to whatever god we believe in that we have the energy to do it.
Examining one another’s parenting style is part of the process. But rather than judging one another in a burn-book-circa-middle-school kind of way, let’s learn from each other. If anything, this approach helps me feel more secure in my parenting. I look around at my amazing friends and the gifts they bring to their parenting approaches and I feel inspired rather than defeated. I pick up their tricks for the things they are passionate about and share mine. From observing, I can discern what my parenting style is and where I want to spend my limited energy. (Discern is a synonym for “judging”…I looked it up).
I grow my own vegetables. I do yoga with my children. I stay home with them most days. I obsess about what they’re wearing.
Rather than roll your eyes at any of that stuff — the stuff I’ve decided is important to me — see if it helps you figure out what you’re willing to put up a fight for.
What are your “things?” For what are you willing to put up a fight?