A few weeks ago, I was smacked in the face with one of my worst character flaws- mom judging. This moment taught me some much-needed humility. And God used it to soften my heart towards other moms.
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When I Started Mom Judging
One afternoon every week, I spend about 40 minutes hanging out at a local business. It’s a busy place, but I’m usually able to enjoy a little downtime while there. However, sometimes, there are some extra loud families that visit when I do. These are the times I start mom judging.
You all know what I’m talking about. These types of families arrive, and the kids are just WILD. Plus, the parents are all over the place. They’re trying to do 10 things at once and are failing miserably at all of them!
I’m a teacher, so ya’ll know I love kids. But after a long day in the classroom, the last thing I want to do is deal with someone’s unruly children. My brain is overloaded, and I’m just done.
We All Mom Shame…
Well, this one family is frequently there at the same time I am. When they enter the room, you can almost hear the collective groans. Nobody says anything out loud, but we all feel the same way- it’s gonna get crazy in here! We are all mom judging in our heads.
As soon as this family walks in, I start mom judging right away. As their mom is (loudly) telling them to sit down and keep their shoes on, I am silently ticking off all the parenting mistakes she’s making. That constant yelling is making them tune her out, or why can’t she keep them from climbing the furniture are some of the thoughts swirling through my mind as I sit there in silent superiority.
The last time we were there together, I began my usual mom judging immediately. All the things she was doing wrong and all the things I do right were rolling through my head as I listened to the three of them. I know it’s kind of creepy that I was listening. But they are a little loud, so it’s almost impossible to tune them out.
After the initial “sit down” and “put your shoes on” their conversation got a little bit deeper.
One of the kids asked the mom about doing a little extra for a school project. She said that a friend from school was able to do ___________ for their project, and the child wanted to do the same for hers. “Well, ______________ has a mom and a dad at home. You just have a mom, so it’s a little harder to get those extra things done,” was her answer.
Mom Judging a Single Parent is Ugly!
My jaw dropped because I never realized this mom was a single parent before. I guess my superior attitude and mom judging kept me from seeing it.
Single parents are the bomb! They work tirelessly nonstop for their kids, trying to fill in the gaps on their own. And they don’t get half the credit they deserve, partial because of self-righteous people like me.
I continued to listen to their interactions and my attitude softened even more. Here she was, two little kids in tow wherever she went, trying her best to teach them right from wrong. It didn’t seem like they were listening, but I’m certain some of her words were going to stick.
Something else I noticed was that she had each child do some of their homework while they waited. One of them was working on their spelling words. The mom was quizzing them and gently making corrections whenever they made a mistake.
The other child was (reluctantly) reading a book that was assigned for homework. She was a little whiny about having to read it, and many mothers would have caved in, but not this mom. “You can read it now, or later. But either way, you’re going to read that book,” she calmly replied between spelling words.
Tears welled in my eyes as I realized how judgmental I had been to this fellow mom, this sister in arms, without even knowing her!
Why Did I Start Mom Judging?
So why did I start mom judging? Had I forgotten what it was like to have little kids? Or was I just so tired at the end of a long day that I stopped being empathetic to other moms? What if I’m just a snob?
Whatever my reasons were for mom judging, I knew it had to stop now. So, what are some quick ways to stop mom judging? Here are six tips for working on your heart in the mom-shaming department.
1. Remember That I’m Not Perfect
Right away, I stopped mom judging her. I started thinking about my own parenting experiences. Did my kids ever act like wild things in public? Oh yeah, they did! I remember one time, at the dentist’s office, the youngest two were climbing every piece of furniture as my oldest jabbered on nonstop! It was so embarrassing how crazy they were! I was also in awe of another mom whose kids came in, sat down, and quietly colored between the lines.
And I can’t remember if I ever successfully made them do homework while in public. Considering my three were either dancing on the tables, asking questions at the top of their lungs, or missing the paper and instead “coloring” the furniture. I highly doubt that I could get them to calm down enough to do anything productive!
2. Check Your Attitude to Stop Mom Judging
Whenever I begin to have mom judging thoughts or any judgmental thoughts, I need to check them immediately. First, I need to decide why I’m thinking like that. Is it because I’m tired? Or maybe I had a hard day? What if the other person is just plain annoying?
Either way, my judgmental thoughts must be checked, and then put aside. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life! So weeding those thoughts out immediately is much better than letting them stick around Whatever you meditate on, whether good or bad, will end up controlling your attitude in the end.
3. Remember Your Own Parenting Fails
Even though I was mom judging this fellow mom, with my nose stuck in the air, I’ve had TONS of epic fails in parenting on my own!
My Family Isn’t Perfect
Like I wrote earlier, my kids were very energetic when they were young! Our youngest was an accomplished escape artist by the age of three. She could unlock doorknobs and deadbolts, so we attached a chain lock at the top of our outside doors. Soon after they were installed, we caught her trying to escape again. She had dragged a wingback chair over to the door, stacked a plastic tote in its seat, and climbed up into it. She was opening the chain lock to escape when we walked into the room!
Our son was constantly getting hurt, often from doing something we had told him NOT to do. And one day, our oldest announced loudly, “You’ve changed! You’re not the same nice parents you used to be!” LOL!!!
Parenting is Hard!
Yes, I can laugh now, but back then, parenting was soooooo hard! I never knew what those three would get into. Add to it the everyday struggles of getting them to finish their homework and praying they would go to bed without fighting it, and my mom fails start piling higher and higher!
None of us are perfect, myself included. And we all could use some grace when it comes to our failures. So now, whenever I find myself mom judging, I think back to all the times I wasn’t a perfect parent.
4. Do Something Kind to Change Your Attitude
“Kindness is contagious,” is a quote I heard the other day, and I think it’s 100% true! Mom judging and being kind at the same time is impossible to do. And, once you share kindness with someone, they are more likely to pass along the favor by being kind too!
If you find yourself mom judging, you should stop yourself immediately. Then, you could think of a way to show kindness to that mom you were judging. Giving a gift or offering a helping hand is great, but there are other ways too.
Opening the door for a mom that has her hands full is a great way to be kind. You can also compliment her mothering skills. Most moms feel overwhelmed and inadequate several times a day. A compliment about their skills, no matter how small, can work wonders!
5. Pray for Them Instead of Mom Judging
The Bible says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. It also tells you to offer your shirt to someone who has demanded you give them your coat. These verses are great examples of Christ-like generosity.
Hopefully, this person you’ve been mom judging isn’t your actual “enemy”. In fact, you might not even know them at all. But, instead of mom judging them, you can use these same passages as a reminder to pray for them. Speaking from experience, it’s extremely difficult to look down your nose at someone when you actively pray for them. In fact, it’s nearly impossible!
Go ahead and try it. From my experience, when I started praying for this mom, instead of basking in my supposed superiority, I no longer looked down on her. Instead, I started realizing how much we have in common. I also realized some things she was doing really well as a parent!
6. Remember What Christ Did for You
I’ve been a Christian since I was a young girl. Being in the faith for many years is a good thing. But, sometimes I need a refresher of everything Christ has done for me. When I’m mom judging someone else, I need a HUGE wake-up call!
I have been blessed in so many ways, it would be impossible to list them. My amazing family and friends, a wonderful job, and my needs always being met are just a few examples! I could go on and on and never mention all the ways God has blessed my life.
I’m loved more fiercely than I could ever possibly deserve. We are all sinners, and I have tons of flaws. Every day, I make mistakes. And every day, Christ forgives me and saves me from my sins.
When I think about all of that, of what He has done for me, it’s very humbling. And when I’m humbled, I’m much better at practicing grace with other people. When I remember my salvation, mom judging becomes a total waste of time. As it should be…
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