Judging Other Mothers
Women have a history of being hard on one another. Moms especially have a lot to be hard on each other about. “Oh, you aren’t breastfeeding?” “You gave your baby cookies for dinner?” “You let your baby watch 2 hours of Baby Einstein videos?” “You use a bumper?” We all have opinions about what pain management moms use during child birth. Each of us has our own style and attitudes about how we raise our children.
We need to support each other as moms and not judge each other. I know I don’t like it when I feel like I am being scrutinized or being told I am doing something wrong. There have been times that I chose not to do something with my baby, because I was afraid of being judged for it.
Being critical of your friends and family hurts your relationships. Speaking your mind does not always build trust. Sometimes friendships end because of criticism and condemnation. Even small remarks add up over time. We are not always aware that we are speaking unkindly to each other. We all put our foot in our mouth at times. Let’s be mindful of the attitudes that we are portraying to each other. In the words of High School Musical, “We’re all in this together!”
Here are 5 ways to help us stop judging other moms:
1. Make a choice not to judge. We need to make a conscious effort to change our attitudes and accept our friends for who they are. Making a choice not to judge will help you remember not to criticize or disparage your friends the next time you speaking about them.
2. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” is the fifth habit of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. Learning this principal can greatly change the way you engage with other people. We need to try and understand what our friends are going through and the circumstances that made them choose that decision before we even speak. We don’t always have the full story from a blog post or part of a story heard second hand. I have friends that it is their personality to keep their lives private. So when they make a parenting decision, I can’t have an opinion. Seeking to understand what is going on our friends’ lives builds up our relationships and they will feel supported.
3. Stop talking about other moms, even to your spouse. We really need to guard our tongue when it comes to gossip. It is really easy to slip into gossip when you are honestly sharing the latest news of your friend or family member. Sometimes it feels good to talk about other people. It feels good to have someone agree with your point of view. Make a concerted effort with your friends not to talk about each behind each other’s backs. You won’t have to worry about if what you said gets back to your friend and it is better for everyone! There is peace in keeping your comments to yourself.
4. Don’t give advice unless it is requested. This is so hard for me, because I love asking for advice from people. I just assume that everyone is like me, but they aren’t. I need to remember that I shouldn’t give advice or my opinion unless they specifically asked for it. If advice or insight is requested from you, then you have to be careful not to be offended if they don’t take your advice. And visa versa, you shouldn’t be offended if you don’t like the guidance you requested. Counsel and sharing experiences is helpful. Let us make sure we always speak with the law of kindness on our tongue when giving counsel.
5. Celebrate and encourage each other! We all have difficult and enjoyable jobs raising our kids and caring for babies. Be and ear or shoulder when it is needed. I enjoy talking to McKenna and hearing about all the appointments and health updates of her two kids. Tell another mom what a great mom she is! Say it in a card, in person, in an email. I don’t know a mom that doesn’t mind being praised for being a good mom. Drop off or mail a little gift to a friend. Stop by and do her dishes. There are so many ways we can celebrate each other. Lets remember to stop judging and celebrate our victories with one another!
Have you ever felt judged by another mom? Have you ever been offended by someone giving too much advice? Do you make an effort not to judge other moms?