The "Mom Judging" challenge on our TODAY Parenting Team is sponsored by Similac's Sisterhood of Motherhood.
Mom judging and mom guilt tend to go hand in hand, and they both raise the same fundamental question:
Why oh why do we do this to ourselves?
In our latest challenge to the TODAY Parenting Team, we asked contributors to weigh in on the issue of “mom judging,” and the response has been staggering. Many moms made passionate arguments about why judging other mothers helps no one. We’ve compiled some of their insights here.
What experiences have you had in this realm of life? Please let us know! Feel free to join in this ongoing conversation by becoming a member of our team, and stay connected to TODAY Parents updates on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear your stories!
Reason 1: Parenting is hard — for everybody. (Amy McCready)
“Let’s all STOP. Stop judging ourselves and stop judging others. There should be solidarity in the club for every parent who is trying to do the right thing and operating from a place of love, shouldn’t there? Instead of thinking, ‘My child would never do that!’ Why not lend a smile to the mortified mom of the toddler who’s suddenly the source of the ‘clean up on aisle five’? Offer a hand, or at least a show of support that we’ve all been through something similar. Because the real world of parenting doesn’t come with a special app that makes everything sunshiny and beautiful. There are sleepless nights. There are questionable decisions. There are mistakes big and small. There are lessons to learn. But there’s also love. Lots of it. And little hands to hold. And boo-boos to kiss. And games to play. And teens to teach to drive and usher into adulthood. And memories to make.”
Reason 2: Many so-called “mom fails” are actually “parenting wins.” (Mother of Serendipity)
“#MomFail: We use the term so casually, throwing it about on social media, in conversations at the park and on those rare and cherished moms' nights out. We use it to describe all the ways (big and small) we aren't living up to the perfect vision of motherhood. … (But) as parents we all want … support. We all want someone — a partner, a friend, a doctor, a member of our community — to reach out in our moments of doubt. We crave, no, we need a little validation. We need someone to tell us we are doing it right. Whatever it is and however we are getting it done, if we are stepping up and showing up for our kids, then chalk up a #ParentingWin. Sometimes we need someone to remind us our children will survive, and thrive, simply because we are there for them.”
Reason 3: Nobody’s perfect. Nobody. (Kirsten Brunner, licensed professional counselor)
“The majority of us parents are doing our absolute best. And in spite of these stellar efforts, we all screw up regularly and struggle with very similar challenges. As parents, we have more in common than not.Some of the most loving, reassuring words a friend can say in response to my parenting woes are, ‘Oh, girlfriend, I have struggled with that same situation! And let me tell you, it sucked.’ Relief and gratitude wash over me when I feel that, instead of judgment, I am receiving understanding and empathy.”
Reason 4: Real dialogue can lead to real friendships. (Jennifer Swartvagher)
“I am probably too critical of others, and I know I am even harder on myself. It is so much easier to be quiet and unassuming. If I don't put myself out there, there is little chance of getting hurt. ... These days, we are standing in the back of the gym, our eyes focused on our iPhones while we wait to pick up our kids from an activity.
“Let us all make a vow to step out of our comfort zone. Strike up a conversation on the playground or on the school pickup line. You never know, it might be the start of a beautiful friendship. That mom who looks like she has it all together? She might be lonely. We need to get rid of all these preconceived notions we have about each other. Looks can be very deceiving. Parenthood is challenging journey and we need all the support we can get.”
Reason 5: Respect and tact are commodities to be cherished. (Jamie Taylor)
“We are all trying so desperately to parent with excellence. When we become parents, especially for the first time, there are so many lessons to learn. Our survival in parenting is often due to a great deal of trial and error. Most moms and dads will land in a somewhat comfortable place when it comes to raising the next generation. And even if you think that you have a better way to handle their children, you would do better to hear some well-meaning advice. Let us spend the most energy on raising our own children with honor, respect, and intention. And, when we meet someone who really wants to hear our opinion, may we speak honestly, but carefully. And, when they neglect our very sound advice, remember to ‘come to your conclusions’ carefully. After all, who are we to judge?”
Reason 6: At some point in their lives, all children throw fits in public places. (Lisa Maxwell)
“Parenthood is hard and whoever says it's easy is a big liar. I personally love to see a kid throwing a big fit in the checkout line over candy! I love it because it makes me feel better. It means that someone else is having to deal with real life; their life is not perfect. I feel for them and I get it. In that moment I'm not judging; I'm just glad it's not me! ... So, if you see me staring at you when your kid is having a meltdown in the toy aisle, I promise I'm not judging you. I'll probably smile and nod my head, not because I think you're a bad parent but because I get it. You can buy him the toy or not — either way I have your back. We're all in this together!”
Reason 7: Love wins. (Jordan)
“Let's make a deal. Stop the mom-judging. It's tiring. ... My soul needs rest and sometimes a friendly glance from another mom in the trenches who can totally relate on any other given day. Knowing you are not alone is such a gift to a mother's spirit. Our choices may look different on how we feed, clothe and discipline our children, but our love for them and for others should outshine all of it. At the end of the day, all kids really need is love. Let's focus on that.”