* I’m a Sisterhood of Motherhood Partner and am a sponsored blog partner, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.”
There is a quote that says judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are. As moms (and dads), we frequently face judgment. Sometimes from strangers, sometimes from friends, sometimes from family members, and maybe the worst of all – sometimes ourselves.
Judgmental comments can run the gamut of a child’s lifespan. As soon as our children are born, there is a ready onslaught of advice and plenty of criticism if it is not followed. Disposable vs. cloth. Breast vs. bottle. Cry it out or soothe. Organic or nonorganic. The list goes on and on. And even though we, as moms, are generally doing our darndest to be the best parents we can be, hurtful comments make their way through.
Let me share one of my mommy on mommy judgment stories.
If only my poor, poor children could have known that this picture could have very well been the moment when they were DOOMED (doomed, I say) to be RAISED BY SOMEONE ELSE. (To be clear, I raise my own children. Some days they would probably like to be raised by someone else, but I do in fact, raise them myself).
Before I because a full time working lawyer, I was a teacher. I had school vacations and summer vacations off. It came to the point, however, in the year leading up to my divorce, that I knew I needed to be able to better support myself, so I took the bar exam which I had long put off and became a full time attorney – albeit working less hours in a less-demanding position than I do now. A teacher acquaintance of mine who was in the process of transitioning out of working to stay home with her children made a remark along the lines of “It must be hard for you – I couldn’t let someone else raise my children.”
I was too shocked at the time, and frankly, hurt. While I wouldn’t have called this woman my friend, I certainly felt like I couldn’t rage on her (like I may or may not have wanted to in my head). This hit me right in the gut, and frankly it is hard sometimes as a mom not to let these judgments define how we think about ourselves, not only as a mom, but also as a person.
I wish that I could have said something at the time, not in anger, but that expressed how I felt in nonagressive way. As my children have gotten older, I’ve gotten better at fighting these judgey comments with humor. Most folks don’t know what to say when you respond that “wolves” raise your children while you are at work. I have also offered to accept donations for bills when criticized for not being home every afternoon when the kids get home. Sometimes, a simple kind statement like “I wish I could be home with the kids more, but I’m responsible for making sure they have food, clothes, and a house to live in, so these are the choices I have to make. How lucky are you that you don’t have to!”
The bottom line is that I think, as the quote suggests, that it is possible that these judgments really stem from our own insecurities as parents. Maybe the mom criticizing me for working is feeling badly about giving up her own career. Maybe the breast feeding mom who gives the bottle feeding mom a hard time is having difficulties, and wishes things could be easier. As moms, we really shouldn’t judge each other until we have walked a mile…which is why I am SO happy to announce that I am partnering with Similac this spring to promote the Sisterhood of Motherhood program! If you haven’t seen their video yet, take a moment to watch it. It’s hilarious, but proves a great point.
The Sisterhood of Motherhood program encourages all people (not just moms!) to change their mindset to one of acceptance, not of judgment. Isn’t this the same attitude that we would want to see in our children? Unfettered acceptance, tolerance, and appreciation of the differences among us? I know that’s what I want out of my girls – so in my home, and in the Sisterhood of the Motherhood, it’s about practicing what you preach. One of the Sisterhood is to spread the message that we are all after the same thing – to raise happy, healthy babies!
I can’t wait to continue this conversation with you over the next few months as we discuss making the right decisions for OUR families, and focusing on appreciating our common goals and less on the differences in our choices!
Learn more about Sisterhood of Motherhood and follow along on Facebook and Youtube, and be sure to follow the hashtags #SisterHoodUnite #ParentsFirst to participate in the conversation on social media!
What About You? How have you been judged as a parent? Or have you caught yourself judging other moms?
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.