In motherhood, it seems like no matter what choice you make, judgment often follows.
I’ll see an innocent post on Facebook, asking a question about a mothering choice. And chances are there is at least one scathing comment about how vile that choice is. How could you even consider doing that to your child? That commenter certainly never would.
And then we go to the other side of the spectrum. WE NEED TO STOP JUDGING PEOPLE. ESPECIALLY OTHER MOMS. SOLIDARITY, SISTERS!!!!
But can I get absolutely real for a minute? As much as I agree about being kind and generous, and desire to be a walking “judgement-free zone” – I’m not. I make snap judgements all the time, and especially about other parenting choices.
Forget the fact that my kids are not perfect angels, and I’m nowhere near a perfect mom. I can still look at another mom in a store, and feel a sense of smugness that my kids are better behaved (at the moment). Or hear about another mom making a different parenting choice than me, and snidely think things like, “wonder how that’ll work out for ya.”
I’m not proud of that fact. But I strongly suspect I’m not alone. And for most of us, it’s not something we can just flip the switch on with a couple nice platitudes or someone’s angry Facebook rant. It takes changing one’s thinking entirely.
Struggle with judgmental thoughts? (Motherhood or not?)
Here are some ways to combat that thinking.
1. Remember that choices come from priorities. In parenting, for example, we all want what’s best for our kids. But we all define “what’s best” differently. The mom that lets her kids watch a little extra TV? Maybe she’s prioritizing her sanity so she can be giving and patient later. The helicopter mom that’s following her kid on the playground? She may be prioritizing their health and safety.
When we see something we don’t agree with, let’s take a step back, and try to see where that person is coming from. Chances are, they value something that may hit close to home for us, too.
2. Stay in tune with reality. Nothing brings me back down to my level than when my kids start acting the way someone else’s did (and I rolled my eyes at the time). I can’t possibly be judgmental about someone else’s choices when I’ve _________ (fill in the blank). Yelled, thrown toys across the floor, been too quick to punish my kid, fed them too many Goldfish, spent too much time on my phone around them. Guilty.
Not to be all down on ourselves. But to be fair, we’ve all messed up too.
3. Walk in someone else’s shoes. Some of my best friends in the world are very different from me. They make different choices, and it makes me aware that there’s a whole different perspective that I don’t see from my narrow world view.
Ever wonder why it’s easier to leave a mean remark for someone online? (I relate – I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh comments from who-knows-who.) It’s because we don’t necessarily have to see or identify with the face behind the screen. But the more we choose to connect and understand the other side to someone’s story, the harder it is to condemn.
What helps you kick judgment to the curb?