Four Reasons This Mom is NOT Judging You
The other day I was walking through the grocery store with my kids, minding my own business, when I saw these words emblazoned on the cover of of a women’s magazine:
1200 WOMEN CONFESS HOW THEY’RE SILENTLY JUDGING YOU.
The words “Enough is Enough” were printed in teeny, tiny print right next to the headline so perhaps the content inside was actually uplifting and encouraging, but the words that the magazine chose to print ON THE COVER to hook us into buying their magazine were about us women silently judging one another. The folks at this magazine clearly know that many (if not most, if not all) of us wrestle with the deep down fear that other people are silently assessing us and finding us wanting.
It seems that the judging ramps up a notch once we become moms. It’s human nature to feel tenderly toward kids so it’s hard NOT to have strong feelings about the choices we see other parents making. But here is the thing:
The fear of being judged causes us to put up walls to protect ourselves. Those walls are barriers to connection and community, something that moms DESPERATELY need as we do the vulnerable work of raising our kids.
It’s a catch-22 that this time when we need each other the most is also the time when we are most inclined to turn on one another, pick up our gavels, and turn motherhood into a cross between a courtroom and a political campaign.
While I ABHOR the headline the magazine chose, I do agree that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! So I’m here today to make four promises to you, Sister Moms. Four habits of mind and heart that I’m committing to embracing as we do motherhood together.
1) I promise to remember that I’m just skating by on grace myself- I make #allthemistakes both as a mom and as a human being. There are so many times in my day when I’m not super proud of my parenting and just because you’re not catching me in a mistake in any given moment doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Conversely, just because I may happen to catch you in a less than stellar moment doesn’t mean you’re not absolutely #killingit in the entire rest of your parenting. So let’s not sweat the moments we see each other in. I need and require grace daily, so who am I not to give it away to you? Let’s pick each other up, dust each other off, and get back in the game together.
2) I promise to remember that I don’t know all of the things all of the time- Confession: my husband kept having to correct me on chest clip placement when my firstborn was a squishy little infant nestled into his car seat. I mean, it’s called a CHEST clip and there was even a PICTURE on the clip itself showing that it was supposed to be nestled squarely between his little armpits. But there it was, languishing ineffectively just centimeters above the buckle because that little detail had gotten lost to my mind amid the volumes and volumes stuff I was trying to remember and get right as a new mom. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep track of #allthethings we are supposed to know to keep our kids safe and well, but you and I and our sisterhood of moms are the best hope we’ve got of keeping it all together. So let’s remind each other of best practices, but let’s do it with a hug and a laugh rather than a finger wag and a head shake.
3) I promise to remember that I do not have the perfect recipe for motherhood- We have all busted our rear ends to figure out what works best for our kids and for our family and we do things the way we do them for very specific reasons (and 90% of them amount to the fact that life would fall apart if we didn’t do things that way). But my recipe for success isn’t going to look like yours and yours isn’t going to look like mine. It’s HARD sometimes to remember that no matter how much another mom’s way of doing things may fly in the face of the carefully crafted procedures on which my family runs, it doesn’t mean they are WRONG. It’s a practice of mind to take off my “me goggles” when I look at the choices other moms make and the way they run their families, but I promise you that I am committed to that work.
4) I promise to remember that our mistakes do not define us as moms- We all make mistakes. Being right all the time isn’t the key here, being forgiven and loved is. What would our kids say about us if we asked them? I mean, if they put aside whatever our last SO UNFAIR infraction was and got down to the heart of how they saw us. Are we defined by our mistakes to our kids or would they say they loved us to the the core of their very being and that we are more valuable to them than they could ever express? Each of us is infinitely precious and desperately needed and wanted by our kids, and it’s time we started treating both ourselves and each other that way. We can disagree with another mom’s actions or choices, heck we can not like OUR own, but it’s time we committed to stopping short of letting that define ourselves and each other as moms and as people.
So there you have it, Sister Moms. Four promises I’m making to you to put my relationships with you ahead of my opinions. I’m not saying I’m going to be perfect at it all the time, as I said earlier it’s hard not to have strong feelings when kids are involved. But I hope we can all cover each other with grace when we make mistakes, both in raising our kids and in sistering each other. Let’s make a commitment to put down our gavels, link arms, and move forward together, just as precious and valued and flawed as we are- and the magazine headlines can just have a seat while we stand together.