Before I had kids, I used to judge other moms more often than I would like to admit. Sad, but true. It was a reflex, like yawning when you see someone else doing so. Judgements would pop into my head, like cartoon bubbles. If I saw a kid glued to his mom’s iPhone, the judgement bubble would appear: “Huh, lazy parenting at its finest!” I would pop the bubble eventually, half-heartedly dismissing my harsh snap judgements, but knowing there was a bit of my true thoughts to them.
Then I had a kid of my own. Most of those judgement bubbles disappeared. Of course they never truly go away, and I distinctly recall a parent totally losing their $hit when their kid wouldn’t behave. That dastardly judgement bubble popped up again: “Maybe that is why their kid is so poorly behaved- the parent can’t even keep it together!” POP! I quickly popped it this time, knowing that the kid’s behavior likely had nothing to do with the parent’s behavior. I learned this from my battles with my first child.
I finally learned my lesson, though, when I was in a situation that was incredibly difficult for my family. My 3.5 year old son is a creature of habit and when things are turned upside-down routine-wise, he loses it. Well, he recently lost it in front of a LOT of people for a decent amount of time. No amount tough love, bargaining, punishment, cajoling, coercing, or reverse psychology could change the way he was acting.
And I was judged. MAN, was I judged! All of the sudden, I was the subject of ridicule and speculation. I was the one whose behavior was in question, whose parenting style and methods were put up for review. I was the one about whom all the whispers and disdainful looks were aimed at. And it sucked.
I eventually sat down and cried. In front of everyone. A huge, pathetic, ugly cry where I covered my face and sobbed. Everyone just tried to ignore it, and it was a kind stranger who handed me a tissue.
I was spent physically, emotionally, and mentally. As I looked back on the incident, I realized that maybe the participants in this mass judge-fest were more like me than I cared to admit.
I don’t believe you can truly learn a lesson or experience what someone is going through until you are in their situation. Now when those judgement bubbles pop up, I answer them.
The mom whose kid’s hair is always a mess? Maybe she lets her daughter style her hair by herself, who cares anyways?
The mom who works all hours of the day and night at a high profile job? Maybe she likes her job and makes the most out of every minute she spends with her kids instead of resenting being at home with them all of the time.
The mom whose kid throws tantrums and they refuse to haul them out of the restaurant? Maybe they are teaching the kid a lesson in their own way.
All I am saying is that we all pass judgement on others. We are human, it is part of our nature. It is up to us how we interpret it, deal with it, respond to it.
So, my friends, when we hang out, just know that yeah, there is a possibility that I might pass judgement on you because I am human. But I love you, and unless you do something horribly crazy, the judgement won’t last and when you need my help, I am here for you. That’s all for now.