I’m going to make a blanket statement which you may not agree with. Even so, we all judge. Is this human nature? Are we just trying to compare ourselves to make sure we’re doing “OK?” We judge how someone looks, their weight, their clothes, their car, their house… with all this, one area I would like to stop judging is parenting. I have felt judged for parenting, and I did not like it.
I feel like I’m making progress. Read on…
Recently, on two separate occasions some close friends prefaced sharing sensitive information with me by asking me not to judge. They only wanted to share their fears/concerns, or ask me for emotional support. I was more than happy to lend my ear for support and reassurance, but then I started to get self-conscious. Do my friends think I judge them? Am I being judged for judging? Oh it’s a downward spiral of judging shame.
I probably was pretty judgmental back in the day (pre-twins when it was a 2:1 parent-to-kid ratio, not the 2:3 I’m currently experiencing aka zone defense). I admit I have a judgmental past, but I recently had a sobering experience where one bestie reminded me of how, “Parenting is tough. You and Josh have ways of parenting that work for you… everyone parents differently and different things work for different kids… do what you do and let others do what they do and do not take it personally if styles differ… If I spent too much time worrying about how other people parented, I would never sleep.”
With her words, I was smacked in the face with a reality-check.
I have really taken my soul-sister’s words to heart, so when another friend expressed concern about being judged by me, this is what I emailed back:
“Here’s the bottom line. You love your kids like crazy. I know this. I would never question or doubt your parenting skills or methods because you know what’s best for you and your kids AND we are all just trying to do the best we can. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’m really going to make this a horrible day.” There are SO many different ways to raise kids, they are all effective in their own ways, and a lot of what we do today as mamas is a reaction to what worked or did not work for us as kids.
What I think does not impact who you are as a mother, wife, and woman, and my opinion should not matter anyway… what works for my family may not work for every other family and it is OK… I [must] let go of the immature notion that one way is the best way. If we all did everything the same exact way we would never learn from one another and life would be pretty darn boring.
I [may have] a hard time adjusting to the “house rules” at someone else’s house, but when around other parents I try to be respectful, and I’m not going to drastically change who I am as a parent.”
We all have “I totally rocked this parenting thing” days, and days we do not feel like we’re winning Mother of the Year awards (like the time I locked myself out of the house and my 9-month old daughter was upstairs in her crib – oops).
Parenting is hard enough; we don’t need to add another layer of emotion and guilt by judging one another.
So I promise not to judge you, if you promise not to judge me.