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