It is not me. It is a tiny piece of me that I filter and invite the world to see. I do share some transparent stories. But I don’t generally post photos of my dirty laundry or peanut-butter smeared windows. You don’t know me just from reading this constructed mask of me.
So may I be honest for a moment?
I have judged other mamas. I have judged them, found them wanting, and dismissed them. I have not always assigned positive intent. I have made assumptions about parents based on their kid’s behavior. Or what their kids were eating. Or how their kids dressed.
For these actions, I am ashamed.
And I never want to make another mama feel shamed or dismissed.
And there is a very precise hurt that comes when someone judges you by the behavior of your children. Ask me how I know.
I remember being in a group that started attacking formula feeding. As I looked around the room, I saw the non-lactating mamas look uncomfortable. And I was so uncomfortable that I went to the car to feed Cedar her bottle of donated breastmilk. I wonder if any of those mamas ever went back.
Mamas, can we be gentle with each other? Can we give grace? When I see a mom melt down and yell at her kids, can I assign positive intent? I have no idea what her day has been like. Am I any better for waiting to yell at my kids when no one can hear me? Am I any better for blogging mostly about my successes?
The parenting we do in public is only a tiny picture of the huge work done behind the scene.
I’ve worked in difficult careers. Non-profit, ministry, corporate, education, and now birthwork. None of it. None of it compares to the difficult job of parenting. Can we cut each other some slack?
Please note peanut-butter smeared windows and screaming child. And the blurred glimpse of a terribly flawed mama in the glass.
I love your successes and flaws, beautiful one.
Thank you for being so honest. I read your blog regularly despite only meeting you once and having a brief convo on FB. I enjoy hearing about all of your stuff; family, birth things, etc. Honestly, I think I do the opposite…put other mama’s on a pedastal to measure myself. I’ve only had interactions with AP mom’s in limited environments…mainly at Blessingways. I admire the way they calm their babies so easily, have all organic clothing, cloth diapers, etc. So that being said….I REALLY appreciate hearing that NOONE has it all together (even though it may always appear that way).
Oh no. I have caught myself being guilty of this lately, usually when I am feeling self- conscious or vulnerable myself. Thanks for causing me to reflect and keep myself in check. As always, your blog posts get me thinking. Thanks also for showing us your less than perfect side, it’s easy to look at more experienced mothers and feel lacking. You’re still kind of awesome…
Thank you for this, Julie!
I am very judgemental of others and I work at that all of the time as well. Unfortunately my husband is the one that hears it the most. I’ve been doing better in regards to some things and not so good with others. With birth, I still have to stop my brain of thinking that if they had only done something different they would have had the birth that I wanted them to have. They had the birth they needed to have. As for the parenting, I dislike when people tell me that I’m supermom. They have no idea how often I melt down and take out my anger on my husband and kids. I’m a work in progress and I’m thankful that you are able to share some vulnerability. A lot of your posts on grace right now have been helping me so thanks.
For the record, you amaze and inspire me – flaws, successes, and the whole 9 yards.
Beautiful post! I feel this way about humanity in general – – why can’t we all just give one another a break?
(And in response to your peanut-butter windows, here’s a similar post I wrote a couple months ago!)
Thanks for being so honest, and for letting us readers see this sliver of yourself. I have found your blog to be uplifting, challenging, and informative (often all three at once!). Russ and I are excited about using Hypnobabies SOON with our birth, and are grateful for your instruction and support.
“And there is a very precise hurt that comes when someone judges you by the behavior of your children. Ask me how I know.”
I want to know how you know, and I want to lash out at them for hurting you. But, I suppose that’s not grace either.
Instead I will point out that even if judging us by the behavior of our children were appropriate (which it’s not), it’s short-sighted nontheless. These little creatures are still forming and growing and learning. The angelic baby or compliant toddler could change into a rebellious teen or mal-adjusted adult whose “misbehavior” will be more damaging than throwing blocks or screaming. They may come to unfairly judge their friends and peers. Furthermore, I’ve heard tell of a little girl who was a bit of a stinker, especially to her little sister. When she grew up she became an icredibly thoughtful friend, a super doula, a Christ-centered mama and wife, and one heck of a salsa maker.
I miss you, Abby. Miss you terribly.
well said! thank you for posting this.
I, too, regularly read your blog, but have never gotten to know you well. I’ve only actually seen you a few times 🙂 Thanks for being honest to all your readers. I judge other people’s choices all the time. I am so guilty. When I go to my google reader, I always hope that there is a new post from a handful of blogs, and yours is one of those! Keep posting-it’s so inspiring.
I love this post.
I can relate to it both as judger, and judgee (um, not sure if that’s a word). Thanks for the gentle reminder.