Mothers, Let’s Not Judge Each Other!

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Mothers, Let’s Not Judge Each Other!

Recently, I’ve started to notice more when people rant about other people and how they should live their lives – particularly when it has to do with parenting. Remarkably, everyone seems to believe that their own methods are superior to that of others. Even though this goes for both genders, we women seem to have a greater tendency for judging each other and what’s more, talk about it with other women, which is why I’ve decided to address this post to mothers in particular. It is so easy to point a finger at others, isn’t it, but can we afford it? Doesn’t it say in the Bible: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”? I’m sure every religion has a similar line.

Although it might seem that way, the goal of this post is not to judge everyone else for being judgmental (that would be the ultimate hypocrisy, wouldn’t it) or to lecture everyone of how not to speak badly of others. Far from it. You see, I’m not all that innocent; I’ve done it myself. But increasingly, I’m realizing that I have no right to judge others for how they choose to live their lives or raise their kids. First of all, I am not a perfect parent myself; I definitely have my flaws as a mother and as a person. Further, something that might work for me does not necessarily have to work for someone else – and vice versa. Motherhood is hard work. It is the most amazing thing in the world but at the same time, we are expected to love and protect, nurture and teach, feed and clean, and so many other things, not just for 5 years or for 18 years, but for the rest of our lives. And while motherhood has brought most of us unlimited love, made us less egocentric and self-absorbed and more patient, wise, and compassionate, many of us still question the parenting choices of other mothers if they are not the same as our own. Things like whether we breastfeed or not, whether we pursue a career, whether the kids still sleep in our bed , how we feed our kids, how much the kids watch TV, how well the kids do at school (and so on) still become basis for judgment.

So I’m wondering if the reason could be that we tend to assume that others are merely dealing with the same challenges as we are. Because I think it is pretty darn certain that this is not the case. Having experienced my two sons diagnosed with autism has taught me a valuable lesson, namely that we never know what is going on in the life of others. In fact, we don’t know the tiniest bit about the situation of others and hence, we cannot know what they are going through. If we were in their footsteps, then maybe, but one can never fully put oneself in somebody else’s position. People deal with all sorts of difficult things, things like grief or loss, mental deficiencies, chronic illness, disabilities and so many more, without it being apparent to others and yet, it can highly influence the mindset and decision making process of people. There are so many variables that influence any given situation, sometimes just normal things like how one slept last night. The influential factors to how people act and react to what happens around them are countless. We are all different and as such, our situations are different, no matter how similar they may seem to be on the outside. We simply aren’t equipped to judge others for how they choose to live their lives as long as their behavior is within the legal and ethical boundaries.

This is a lesson I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time. So how about we commit to giving people the freedom to make their own choices, even if they are not the same as ours, without giving them a disapproving eye. How about we give them the benefit of the doubt since we don’t know what drives their decision making? So my fellow mothers, let us respect the choices of each other, embrace the differences between us and appreciate the love we all share for our children! Are you with me?

Here is a link to a GREAT article/survey made by TODAY Moms about the extent of judgment moms put on each other. The numbers are staggering and watch the included video as well – you won’t regret it! (I tried to embed it into this post but for some reason couldn’t).

As always, thank you for reading …and of course you are more than welcome to share this post and comment. ~Ragga

11 responses »

  1. I agree that it is important not to judge others, and I think having an autistic son has actually made me less judgmental. But I actually think that it is often women that do not have children and men that are judgmental of mothers, more than other mothers. I am thinking particularly of the discussion about breast feeding here in the US.

    • Thank you for commenting Margret. I completely agree that getting an autism diagnosis for my sons has increased my level of tolerance and understanding. I’m definitely more compassionate and less judgmental than I was before. Regarding the childless people, you might be right. But no matter who does the judging, that person should take a moment and consider what they actually know. Because very likely, they don’t have the slightest idea!

  2. I love this post! I was thinking about this the other day when I shouted at my 9 year old Ethan, it was a hot day and the windows were open and I had had a particularly stressful day. The neighbours were having there usual mothers meetings after doing the school run and they all looked over and started pointing at the house and merely discussing me saying what a noise etc, this made me really angry and talk back at them saying if they aren’t in my shoes don’t judge.
    After calming down I realised people have a right to an opinion and that in life will never change BUT I can safely say I can have an initial opinion on someone but without knowing there current home life or situation issues surrounding there’s then I should not judge, do I want to explain to everyone I meet who chooses to judge me that I have a very stressful life and have a child with autism and 2 other children, no I don’t ! Amy home life doesn’t define me or the pwrson who I am. I am ranting now soni will e quiet x

    • haha you are adorable Freyja! :) …but also very right. Sure, one can have an opinion but having an opinion and judging is not the same thing. So let’s cool it a bit and not just assume that if someone has an outbreak, whether a child or a mother (or a father or anyone for that matter) that they’re bad children/mothers/fathers/people – there is very likely some reason behind it that we don’t know about.

      Fortunately, I’m building up a more and more “whatever, let ‘em talk” attitude. Not that I totally don’t mind but you know, they can just eat it if they think I’m a bad mother …or even more so if they think my kids are insufferable. I know better and more importantly, so do my kids. Bamm! There you have it! ;)

  3. As in your last reply I have slowly but surely developed a ‘let them think/say whatever’ attitude towards strangers and playground mums. I find this much easier with my autistic son than my younger neuro-typical son, not sure why. Maybe bad memories of how my elder son & I were treated, almost always by other mums, when he was younger? Maybe because I had the safety net of knowing that autism was to blame for oldest’s antics & therefore the secret knowledge that our disapproving others were clueless? Maybe low confidence brought on by chronic agitated depressive illness made me blame myself for youngest’s behaviour & be more sensitive as by this point I had very little reserves left to ‘fight back’. I do however feel far more aware of the need to stop and think before judging others just based on my own circumstances.
    My main question is however, how do you cope when it’s your own family judging? When they know your circumstances but refuse to learn anything about autism or a psychotic illness that has at times necessitated weeks at a time in hospital. From my own family I’ve had name-calling, accusations of indulging ‘bad’ behaviour and refusal to help as, I quote, ‘you’re the one that wanted children’.
    (Luckily I have an angel for a husband and great in-laws.)
    How do others cope with judgemental families when you also desperately need some help from them?
    Sorry for ranting and going off on a bit of a tangent (I’m sure you all know what it’s like once you get started…..(hopefully) :)

    • First off, I want to say YES to your last question – once we get started it’s not easy to stop! ;)

      But regarding the family issue I must admit that I have not experienced any judgment from my or my husband’s family. The only time I became a little frustrated with them was when we realized that our younger boy also had autism (soon after the older was diagnosed) and they were not buying it, blaming our suspicions on hysteria due to the newly received diagnosis for the older one. But apart from that, they have been wonderfully supportive.

      So unfortunately I can’t answer that question. But wow, I feel for you as I would imagine that judgment from those closest to you would be the hardest to swallow, right? It would be so interesting to hear from others that have experienced the same, perhaps they might be of any help to you and able to answer your question…?

  4. As always a wonderful written piece. I love this blog for many reasons. One is like me you have two children who happen to have ASD. I find it funny you become less judgmental of others when you have with special needs. I think as we nurture our own and fight for our own we learn to nurture others and fight for the underdog. Now here’s hoping my thoughts come off as judging right back but as a message to others as to how they can make the world a better place.
    The mom bully who blogs: if we aas parents are to teach our kids that bullying is wrong than we need to teach by not doing it our selves. By bloging the bullying we as mothers are showing our children that it’s ok to cyber bully. Our schools are than spending time to teach our kids how not to be a bully and how to protect them selves from cyber bullies. I love a blog written by a mother who is sharing her personal journey in motherhood. She’s letting me laugh and cry with her. But what makes a good blog is when the blogger is true to them selves. They don’t read like tabloids mags but have information and real thought provoking ideas. Just one last thing. Sometimes as moms we think our jobs are not valid and we need someone to say we do it right. Sometimes we want someone to say that mom has all the answers. But if no one tells us we have to tell our selves. The mom bully is no different. They bully for exceptance. From insecurity that they need to hear they are doing it right and everyone agrees. They need validation and want someone to say great job mom. But what the bully can’t see is so does the other mom they are bullying. So while they walk away feeling better about them selves by putting the other mother down, they just made another mother feel like crap. Keep bloging, keep keeping it real and keep being the voice to the advocate that you are. You are fab!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and also for your many good points. I guess the bottom line is that we’re all trying our best, right? It’s hard enough a “job” as it is, being a mom, and therefore we should all support each other as best we can – not the other way round. Go #PositiveMomPower !!! ;)

      xx Ragga

      • I love #positivemompower! I only wish we would stop bullying and except each others differences. We do after all have the same goal, raising the best kids ever! I’ve read the other posts and I have to say it’s easy for the mom bully to pick the special needs mom to bully just like it’s easy for others to pick on the special needs child. I’m hoping though that mom blogers will start bloging about themselves, their experiences and what makes their family great. Why blog about another moms experience. I love reading a blog about real life but I want it to be about that persons life. We really are all just moms. That’s why I like the blogs I RT they are on the real. Love the # it should be used to cheer each other on. No more tearing each other down.

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