This one is for the moms who can’t keep their opinions to themselves, the ones who are convinced that they’re doing it right. This one is for the moms who shame others in any other way. This one is for the moms who see someone struggling in the grocery store with a toddler (who is now flinging themselves screaming on the floor over the desire to lick a sucker that rolled under the shelving unit) and roll their eyes. This one is for the people who gossip to their friends about the amount of TV/video games/candy/cereal/outside time/inside time/screen time/homework time/dinner time/time-out time/ etc. someone else’s child has.
This one is for you and the people around you.
I still love you, even though what I am saying may sting. I’m grateful that you care about your children and the children of families surrounding you…. But I want you to know that if your method of caring isn’t careful, the “help” you’re freely giving may put another person struggling through parenting over the edge. Your glances or attitude toward women who are doing it differently, be it their off-brand/inorganic/bad parenting do nothing to help that woman succeed.
So, here are some tips to help you navigate other people’s motherhood.
- If it isn’t harming the child or children involved, look away. Unless that child is in danger or you think they are, it may be a good idea to take a deep breath, a long bath, and an inward look at why you need to pick apart the parenting of another person. If you yourself feel jugged but are trying your best, take a moment and calm yourself; sometimes people comment and judge because they’re insecure about what they do.
- Stop comparing yourself. You are no better than that parent, and you are no worse either. You were both placed here with different circumstances. Maybe the person who you think is doing something wrong didn’t grow up with the same parents that you did. Maybe they have read all the books, but they don’t have anywhere near the same kind of support that you do. Maybe financially, emotionally, physically they are falling apart. You really cannot see into their life enough to know. There is no need to be comparing anyone; we are all at a different place in life.
- Show compassion and kindness no matter the circumstances. You can argue until the cows come home about proper parenting, safety, food, literally anything… But no one will listen unless they feel safe. It’s a brain response; when people feel attacked, their logic and reasoning shuts down. It happens less often as an adult, but it is still enough to make it difficult if not impossible to teach someone. Here’s the thing; you might (MIGHT) be right, BUT that doesn’t make it your place or job to tell another caregiver what she’s doing wrong. Leave it to the people who care about her. Have grace for everyone, yourself included.
So repeat after me: mother judging is no longer the way. I will get a hobby that doesn’t involve bringing other people down like a 3rd-grade bully. I am an adult who can grow and change, and so are the people I’m looking at.