I am a mommy-judger.
Full disclosure: it was so easy to judge. It IS so easy to judge. Judging tells me that I’m not failing completely as a mother. It makes me feel like I’ve got something together. I compare, tear, and smugly look on as a child is screaming at the checkout line, secretly thinking, “Well. At least my kid doesn’t do that.”
But life has a funny way of teaching you lessons.
I’ll be the first to admit in the breastfeeding battle that I thought you should cover “it” up. Well, then I had this gallivanting son who, at 8 months, absolutely loves to play peek-a-boo with my private parts. And, to those who say “feed them later”, I say, come, listen to my son suddenly decide after one hour he’s starving because his mother hasn’t fed him in years, YEARS. So, the conclusion? Life got me to listen.
Never before has parenting been quite as public as it is now. It’s no longer just a dinner conversation. Every time you post a picture online you are judged (and often, by others, found wanting). Every person has a say, and somehow, has found the courage to share their thoughts – often with a removed filter.
And here’s when judging crosses a line: when we give voice to our disparities, when we move forward from internalizing our doubts and bolstering ourselves and give root to another’s “failure”. Enter: mommy shaming.
Parenting is the hardest job out there – and it’s often because of our own insecurities that cause us to judge, shame, and compare. And at the heart of it, it’s because we are trying so hard to do what’s right by our kids – while struggling, juggling, and drowning with everything else that life sends to us to cope with at the same time.
I’ll never forget a post I recently saw about Macaroni and Cheese – how Kraft was removing the yellow dye. It was chaos. Some moms were happy, some were sad, some were angry. And some, some were downright belligerent. One mom went so far as to say she hoped that the kids of the moms who were feeding them yellow macaroni and cheese would die – “natural selection” as she called it.
What. The. Hell. Let me just rant one second (and warning, language). Who the fuck cares? Why do you care what I do with my children? What right do you have, without knowing me, to tell me what to do differently?
A perfect example is of this mom – the “lip syncing the tantrum” mom. Who was shamed to an inch of her life that she had completely demoralized, defamed, and verbatim “ruined her child forever because she was the worst mother known to the history of moms.” Here’s what you don’t know about her: her son was born premature. He is now two, and has heard her talk for the first time, and is starting to eat food. He’s in and out of the hospital for surgeries – and the mom dedicates her “spare” time to speak about premature babies, donates diapers, time, and money to those in need, and uses her social presences to raise awareness. In other words, let’s give this mom her path to sanity, and take a moment to laugh in the face of toddler adversity.
So here’s your opportunity, moms. Be honest with yourself (and unlike me, you don’t have to write a blog about it). We all mommy-judge. We may not shame publicly on Facebook, but we certainly think it. We have to remember that often, kids are the worst (behaved) when you need a break the most. Where’s the off button? Where’s the “mommy-needs-a-break-because-life-is-shitting-on-her-today” button? It’s really too bad that you can reason with your two-year old, letting them know that their tantrum is just gonna have to wait until your life works itself out.
Recognize that, at times, when you judge it’s because you are so afraid of failing – and remember that at the heart of every mother, is someone who desperately wants their child to know they are loved.