I’m a Sisterhood of Motherhood Partner and am a sponsored blog partner, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional information.
Hello everybody. I’m happy to be talking today about an issue that I would bet has affected every single one of us parents: judgment from others regarding our different parenting styles.
If you agree, and if — like me — this type of judgment has wounded you, or caused you to doubt yourself as a parent, then take some action! Go to the Similac Facebook page and share how you would end the mommy wars.
Also, check out their latest video above for some heart to heart stories from other parents.
Judgment surfaces all the time, but in different ways. Sometimes, judgment is clear and overt. Other times, it’s subtle, detectable from someone’s tone of voice, or merely from what they choose to mention. Here are just a few examples I’ve born witness to that popped into mind:
- “She’s a CEO type of mom, laying out for others what they should do. I prefer to be a hands on mom.”
- “She has A LOT of babysitters.”
- “She travels a lot.”
- “It would be nice if she could show her face at school at least once in a while.”
- “Can’t believe she’s not home nesting with her baby.”
- “Why did she have all those kids if she’s never going to see them.“
Let’s be honest. It’s easy to make a quick judgment based on what we see. When we see a certain mom at school every single day, we think “she’s involved.” But what about the other mom we don’t see? Where is she?
Consider this: she might be awakening to her alarm clock at 4 a.m. so that she can get the first flight out for work and then get back home again in time to read to her little ones at bedtime.
This “uninvolved” mom might be just like a close friend of mine whose situation deserves to be described.
My friend travels frequently for her work. Her mother recently fell ill, and she is helping with the medical expenses. When her brother lost his job, my friend offered her their third bedroom (moving her two children in together) and loaned him money to get back on his feet. Last year, her husband’s family, also in poor health, moved close by for extra support from my friend’s family.
You won’t see what my friend is doing at school drop off or pick up. In fact, if you see her taking off on planes for work dressed in a tailored suit several times a month, you might think: ‘”Isn’t she glamorous and having fun?” You wouldn’t know the slightest thing about WHY she is killing herself at work; to hold up everyone else around her.
My friend’s story is universal. Women everywhere push themselves for others all day long, each and every day, doing the best they can under their particular circumstances.
What do you say we let them off the hook, my fellow parents? What if instead of making judgments based on what we see, we decided to make them based on what we don’t see? What if instead of assuming the worst, we assumed the best, or merely assumed we don’t know enough to judge? Wouldn’t that make the world a kinder, better place?
It’s so easy to pass judgment on others, but aren’t we most often just showing our own insecurities? Aren’t we trying to reassure ourselves that, in fact, we ourselves are good parents? Let’s agree that we’re smarter than that. We don’t need to pump ourselves up at someone else’s expense. We can provide encouragement for moms around us. We can each speak our own truth and walk the path that is right for our family without worrying about how and why others choose to do differently.
And here’s my own little story. I work from home, so the travel theme does not apply to me (other than with an occasional blogger conference!), but I know what it feels like to receive a comment from another parent insinuating that you aren’t there for your kids. Arriving late to a soccer game last fall, I bemoaned to another mom on the sidelines that we were stretched thin and struggling to get everyone where they needed to be. “Well, nobody told you to have 5 kids,” she replied. Ouch! That did not make for a happy day. She could have said so many other things! “There was a lot of traffic.” “The game hadn’t even started, don’t sweat it.” “There will be plenty of other games.” There were an infinite number of supportive potential comments swimming in the universe, but she chose instead to focus on the fact that when you have 5 kids, you probably don’t do things as well as you do when you have fewer kids (which certainly might be the case!).
I’ll never know why that other mom made the choice she made that day, but it pushed me want to make another choice. Not to judge. To be helpful along someone’s parenting journey. I’m sure at times I could have said more and said better to lift another parent up. I’m vowing to stay aware of this and do my best to be the most supportive, kind, and understanding fellow parent I can. JOIN ME!
Fellow bloggers of mine have joined a campaign supported by Similac, as have moms Hilary and Haylie Duff, who I admire for being open about their own personal experiences as moms confronting judgmentalism. We so often see celebrities paining a picture perfect image of their lives. How refreshing to hear some honest, constructive truth.
Whether we’re celebrities or not, everyone wants to do their best as a parent. We all have our ways of doing things that are best for our families, and we also have different family dynamics. No one does any better as a parent when others judge.
Judgmental parenting holds us back, wounds us where it hurts the most, robbing us of our confidence, and distracts us from the task at hand: being the best parents we can be.
Think also what a great example we set for our kids when rather than criticize others, we show compassion and understanding. We can teach them how to be a better person by recognizing that we never truly know another parent’s situation.
Let’s stop judging. Let’s hold each other up, not bring each other down. Let’s end the mommy wars.
Thanks for reading.
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.