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One of the most exhausting parts of being a parent is experiencing the judgment that comes from others. Everyone from our in-laws to the random “Karen’s” we meet out and about are flooding us with opinions on how we should be raising our kids. But out of all the judgment we receive, no one is better at judging than other moms.
Before the baby is even born, Moms tend to start judging others based on what they have personally done. Your entire pregnancy was likely filled with personal questions like “Do you plan on breastfeeding?”, “Will you be giving your kids screen time?” and even “How much weight have you gained with this one?”.
Once those questions are asked, they’re usually followed up with a full explanation of what that person did along with what you should do. It can be utterly exhausting trying to navigate these answers when your body is still working on growing the baby. Unfortunately, the judgment doesn’t stop once the baby is born.
In fact, the judgment gets even more heated after the baby is born. There are so many topics that moms are judging one another on. Topics ranging from breastfeeding and screen time to pre-school and even kids’ diets. As moms, we know there is no one else we can connect with more than other moms.
But for some reason, we spend so much time judging others instead of coming to terms and accepting that every parent has their own way of doing things. And with all of this negative social judgment, how are we supposed to make decisions for ourselves?
READ MORE: Don’t Judge Your Motherhood
How We Perceive Judgment
We’re all trying to do what’s best for ourselves and our families, but every time we hear someone judging others, it changes our mindset completely. It causes a ton of stress and fills our minds with self-doubt. We start looking at everyone around us and pick apart the daily things we do, wondering if someone out there is doing it better than us (or “the right way”).
For some reason, we have this idea that everyone is doing something better than us. We see someone we know running every day and we think “I’m so out of shape, but that person doesn’t have kids so they have no idea what my life is like.” You are automatically judging others based on what your life is like, instead of realizing the person you are really judging is yourself.
Instead of immediately attacking that person for their actions, try saying, “Wow! That person is doing a great job. It’s so stressful to find time to run when I have a house full of kids. What ways can I free up my schedule so I can make fitness a priority?”.
Changing the way you perceive peoples endless amount of comments on your parenting, and what you say about others, can have a huge impact on day to day life.
Different Ways You See Moms Judging Others
We see moms judging others everywhere we go in public, especially in current times. When our kid has a complete meltdown in the middle of Target, we are likely to feel eyes on us and judgment from all around. But it may not just be the random people we meet. Friends end up judging others as well.
Mom groups can be such a wonderful thing, especially when you’re a first-time parent. But oftentimes they are a breeding ground for judgment. Playdates can become a complete no-go if you do not parent in a similar way to those around you. Some people find that differences in parenting styles can bring a level of awkwardness to the situation, and no one wants to deal with that.
In 2020, what do we do when we’re doubting ourselves the most? We hop on the internet to see what everyone else is doing. This creates a sort of constant negative social comparison that shouldn’t exist. If you have Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok, you’ve likely encountered the world of relatable mom memes.
We’ve all giggled at toddlers throwing themselves on the ground because we put maple syrup on their pancakes when they asked for it on the side. Memes like this can make us feel so connected and a little less alone.
While you’ve encountered those jokes, you’ve also likely seen memes judging others on popular mom topics. Moms asking questions like “Oh, your kid doesn’t watch tv? Well, I’m not sure if we can be friends ” or “Your kids don’t eat all organic? Then we definitely cannot be friends.” In every joke, there is some truth and both sides have it in spades.
Let’s not forget the moms in your family. Family events can be exhausting when you know that Aunt Susie or your Mother-in-Law will pick you apart based on how they raised your significant other and their family. Imagine sitting on the edge of the couch and watching someone bypass every parenting move you make because “that’s not how they raised their child”. It’s insulting and hurts more than anything when it’s family.
As we walk around the store or we’re scrolling on our Facebook timeline, we’re comparing ourselves to all the moms out there in the most negative way instead of using that information to connect with others and back up our own beliefs.
Why Judging Others Needs To Stop
When you spend time judging others, especially other moms, it has several toxic effects. Being judged, especially as a new parent, is terrifying. You’re already trying so hard to make sure you do things right for your child. Being told that you’re doing things wrong can be heartbreaking. We’re all just trying to hang in there, especially for the first few years.
You never know what someone else is going through, and some of us hold in a lot of things that should be said. If you struggle with postpartum depression, this judgment from other moms can have even more of a negative effect.
Moms who struggle with postpartum depression are typically struggling in silence and can be too scared to ask for help. The judgment that is thrown on top of that can prevent her from asking for any help and damage her in a way that you may not realize.
Not only does it have a negative effect on the person being judged, but the person judging others can suffer as well. When you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, you’re filling yourself with the doubt that the way you are parenting is not the right way. This self-doubt can make you angry and defensive, causing you to lash out and start judging others instead of supporting yourself and your decisions.
While it may be a little intimidating to hear that your friend doesn’t let their kid have screen time, especially when your kid is completely obsessed with Frozen. It makes you want to jump up and defend yourself instead of letting the other person make decisions on what’s best for their family. Just like you, they have their own reasons for their parenting choices, and instead of assuming they are judging you, assume that they are doing what’s best for their family.
Our Kids Feel That Judgment
You may not realize this, but your kids are constantly paying attention to the social situations around them. They may become best friends with a kid in the playgroup and all of a sudden they’re no longer allowed to go to their house to play. They don’t understand that it’s because their mom doesn’t want to be limited on the snacks they provide or they feel awkward if they want to put on a movie, all they know is that for some reason they can’t see a person they like anymore.
Kids will also 100% pick up on the language and vibe you give off towards certain people. They are the first people to overhear you talking about their friends’ parents, and you can bet that they will likely repeat those words. Judging others in front of our children can be extremely harmful as it just teaches them to look at others in a negative and critical light. Instead, we should be teaching our children to celebrate the differences in one another.
As a mother to teenagers, it’s even more important to show your kids that judging others is not okay. Just as we hop online to start comparing ourselves to the world around us, so are our teenagers.
According to Newport Academy, “Teens spend some amount of time on social networking sites updating their profiles and posting. But they spend the vast majority of their social media time looking at peers’ profiles and photos. Therefore, this leads to constant comparisons.”.
If our teenagers are online judging others and themselves, and then they see us doing so with our friends, it only encourages that comparing themselves to others is okay. It goes beyond just comparing parenting, especially with teenagers. We may compare parenting styles, but we also compare body types, how successful we are, how much money we bring in, and more. Instilling that thought process in our children is toxic and is one of the most important reasons we have to stop judging others.
How To Deal With The Judgment
If you find yourself falling victim to unwanted or unnecessary judgment, there are a few ways for you to cope or deal with the negative feelings or situations that come with it. If you have valued this friendship, or if your children value it, you can always approach the person who you feel placed judgment or criticism on you.
We’re not saying jump down their throats and say “What’s your problem, Susan?”, but rather approach it from a loving and understanding place. Try starting the conversation with, “Hey friend, is there something wrong?” to open a dialogue casually. For more serious topics, being upfront but kind is helpful as well. Perhaps try, “I understand that we have different rules in our households, but I respect the way you parent your kids and I would like the same respect as well. We’re all in this together”.
Those who spend their time judging others are often so focused on what others are doing that they have no idea that they are affecting anyone else. In fact, they could simply be projecting something from a completely different situation. Maybe they have someone in their lives who is spending their time judging them, so they feel the need to pick apart other situations.
Coming in with an understanding of how each household elicits different rules and teaching the importance of respecting one another in a positive way can have a huge impact on a situation that could otherwise turn to judgment quickly.
That being said, you should know when to draw the line. If you see someone judging others so constantly and you find that it’s not worth your time and energy to work on that relationship, then ditch it. If you have someone who seems like they are in constant competition with your parenting, that may be a sign of a toxic friendship. No friendship should ever feel like a competition or that one has to be better than the other. You are not a doormat to other people’s problems and judgment.
Talk to your kids about respect and how it’s important to understand that everybody has a different way of doing things, but that it’s important to respect their ways instead of judging others. While those words may not stick with the judgemental person in your life, allowing your children to see how you handle a situation like this will have an impact on how they handle certain things later on in life. Judging others doesn’t just start with moms, your kids will also experience judgment all their lives.
We Have To Start Pulling Together
The more we continue judging others, the more separation we put in this world. Us moms are constantly trying to juggle so many things in life that we’re quickly adapting the household rules for what suits our family’s best interest. We rely on our friends, family, and parenting groups to boost us up in times where we feel like we’re not good enough. But judging others and their parenting methods knocks us down each time we make a decision. It’s time to pull together and support one another regardless of how different we parent instead of filling ourselves with constant social comparison and make parenting a competition.
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