I must admit that this letter is very much written to myself. The truth is that we moms are some of the worst in this area. We all judge others at times. We judge clothes, hair, children, behavior, parenting styles, decorating style, birth story, religion, work status, and the list goes on and on. One of my goals this year is to embrace the differences in my fellow moms instead of being quick to judge. Too many times I have seen when judging others completely steals my joy. I will also say that I have not always been successful in this goal, but I so desire to be! I am writing this to help us all see that embracing differences is so much better than judging!
What Does it Mean to Judge?
My definition of judging is being quick to form an opinion that may or may not be supported by facts. Facts are important in forming an opinion. Many times when I am too quick to judge someone, I am wrong. Two of my best mom friends I thought I didn’t like at first! Why would I even make that judgement without getting to know them? Merriam-Webster’s definition of judging: To form an opinion or reach a conclusion through reasoning and information.
Why Do We Judge?
There are many reasons we judge. For me jealousy and pride are at the top of the list. I look back over the last eight years of being a mom and realize how much I have grown in this area, especially when it comes to judging parenting. Actually, I was prideful in my parenting before I was even a parent! The screaming kid in the checkout line obviously needed more discipline. Or the “picky eater” who really is only picky because the parents let her be. I was so quick to judge, and didn’t even consider what else may have happened in that mom’s day before she stepped into that store or sat down at the table. What if there had been an emergency and the kid didn’t get her nap in. Or what if the mom with the picky eater has tried and tried and tried everything in every book that was ever written about picky eaters and is still struggling. We never know what is going on in a home or in the hour before or in the week before.
My children have helped me grow immensely in being gracious to others with misbehaving children (insert many smiling and laughing faces). A couple of years into parenthood, I realized how much I was judging instead of being compassionate! I am sad to say that it took me a couple of years–that is way too long! I also realized that many times, the judgement I was giving to someone else was the very thing I was the most insecure about.
What Is Our Goal When We Judge?
I think most of the time subconsciously our goal is to make ourselves feel better. When we judge someone’s appearance, we feel better about our own appearance. When we judge someone’s parenting, it makes us feel better about our own parenting. The opposite of trying to make ourselves feel better is wishing we were like the other mom.
The truth is that we are all trying to do our best in ALL of these areas. Conversely, many times I am not super ecstatic about how I am doing with some of these areas. I am not artsy at all, and I realize that my house will probably never look like the photos on Pinterest or in magazines, but I am pretty good at staying organized. My gifts are different than many of my friends. Trying to be like someone else in a certain area or putting them down thinking that I do a better job in another area is simply not helpful to anyone! Embracing, encouraging, and empathizing with other moms can feed our souls so much more!
Let’s All Vow to Encourage Instead!
So how can we change our judging ways?
- Recognize our thoughts and our words when we are quick to judge.
- Change that thought or word quickly into something positive about the person.
- Say it out loud if possible.
- Be friendly and always look for opportunities to make new friends.
- Don’t wait for others to say hello, you be the first to do so!
Influencing our Children
Our children are watching us. Always. When we are quick in judging others or talking about others, they are listening. They are always listening. Working on our own habits and working to become encouragers will likely make them encouragers also. Wouldn’t you be so pleased to see your children being kind to EVERYONE? No more bullies, no more put downs, no more mean girls. What if all of our children where encouraging and kind to everyone they meet? I would absolutely LOVE to see my own children doing this!