You hear it all the time in the s0-called “Mommy Wars.”
“I hate how judgmental other moms are.” “I hate being judged because I bottle-feed/work/stay home/spank/wear/don’t wear my baby/let my kids sacrifice small animals in my neighbor’s yard.”
Guess what ladies, judging isn’t the problem. We all make judgements. For example, if you wear white before Memorial Day, I am judging you as being just a wee bit tacky (unless you’re in Kentucky and it’s between Derby and Memorial Day because that has always been a debatable point).
Likewise, when you see me around town in ill-fitting work out clothes, no makeup and god knows what is going on with my hair, you are probably judging me to be sloppy and unconcerned with my appearance (unless you’re wearing the same in which case “holla”- I think that’s what the kids say but it might be holler, not sure).
I’m ok with that. Judging is human and it’s healthy. We tell our kids all the time to use their best judgement to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. We use our judgement to keep us safe, we use our judgement to keep us from doing stupid things we’ve seen other people do.
It’s alright for me to look at what you do as a parent and think “I would never do that.” It’s even ok for me to look at you and think “Wow, she’s not a very good mom.” Despite what the latest feel good magazine article says, you may actually suck and I’m entitled to think so.
Here’s what’s not ok. It’s not ok for me to make it obvious in word or action to you that I think you aren’t a good mom. It’s not ok for me to tell others that you aren’t a good mom. Like the wearing white thing, it’s tacky. It also isn’t ok for me to delude myself for one minute by thinking that you, or someone like you, doesn’t think the same thing about me.
What’s really not ok though is for you to care if I judge you. Who the hell am I? Seriously, this isn’t the John Hughes version of high school. No one person or group wields the power. If by the time you have kids you haven’t grown enough of a backbone to be confident in your decisions as a parent, then yes, I’m judging you for that. You owe it to yourself (and your kids) to quit caring so much about whether someone else is judging you. They are judging you, move on.
Let’s face it, you also owe it to the future of feminism and women (even if you don’t call yourself a feminist, and yes, I judge you for that, too). Worrying about being judged, feeling judged, and whining about it is primarily a female occupation. Stay at Home Dads do often complain about feeling judged, but I believe in their case it’s something they’ve learned on the playground. Men in the workplace don’t complain about feeling judged for working or not feeding their kids organic food or not using a baby sling. Most men are not wasting a single precious moment of their lives wondering how others judge them (if they did, they’d hit the gym, buy a decent razor, and maybe buy a new pair of shoelaces every once in a while). I know grown women, competent women with multiple degrees who actually waste time worrying that others are judging them for their husband’s appearance. What could those women be doing if they weren’t so concerned with buying shoelaces for someone else?
So quit, just quit complaining that the other mommies are judging you. Quit caring that the other mommies are judging you. Unless those other mommies are custody judges, your partner, or your mother-in-law, their judgement really isn’t the problem, yours is.