The tendency to judge is something we are hardwired to do, but it seems these days judging other people has become a popular past time sport of sorts. And parents seem to be an easy target for everyone, especially for other parents. I will admit to judging other parents more than a few times. I will go even farther to admit that sometimes judging another parent helped me feel a little bit better about my own parenting mess. It’s easy to walk by a mom with a kid throwing an epic tantrum in the middle of a store, turn my nose up, and pretend my parenting skills are superior, because my kids happen to be sitting peacefully in the shopping cart for the moment. But really, who am I to judge?
I am the mom who stays up way too late every night, presses snooze at least three times in the morning and then runs around the house rushing and yelling at everyone to get ready so we can get to school on time… and we barely beat the late bell just about every day.
I am the mom who has loads upon loads of laundry sitting in my kid’s crib that have been there for weeks at a time. Frankly, it sometimes gets to the point where I have forgotten that half of the clothes in there even exist and I have been known to buy new socks and underwear because I haven’t done laundry in the last two weeks.
I am the mom who will use television as a babysitter, so I can get work done, clean the house or just manage to drink my coffee while it is still hot. And my toddler is now addicted to watching videos before she goes to sleep, because I sit her in front of an iPad while I get my boys to bed every night and I don’t have the energy to break her from this habit.
I am that mom whose toddler pretty much always waits until I have to get through only one more aisle of grocery shopping to have a complete meltdown. It’s then too late to turn back and I have to go through checkout with a screeching kid and a store full of judging eyes looking at me while trying my best to keep my cool.
I am the mom whose boys always manage to get into some ridiculous predicament the minute I am not looking that makes me look like the most irresponsible mom to ever exist. These incidents have included things such as hanging from a ceiling fan, sticking pennies in electrical outlets, scaling 20 feet fences and drawing on their faces with permanent marker.
I am the mom whose oldest kid got calls home from school on almost a weekly basis for various incidents throughout the school year. My 6-year-old has thrown tantrums so bad that I needed to restrain him until he can be calmed down. Just when I think I have finally figured out a solution and gotten either of these things under control it happens again and it feels like a punch in the gut.
I am the mom who tried to make 3-day-old, leftover pizza for lunch and then ended up burning it and instead tossing bowls of cereal on the table. I have literally caught dinner on fire on more than one occasion and I keep a stash of boxed mac and cheese on hand at all times.
“Instead of turning my nose up to judge, I am going to make a conscious effort to empathize with my fellow parent and shoot them a knowing smile instead of side-eye.”
I am the mom who will give my kids lollipops at 6 pm for the car ride home because it will shut them up long enough for me to get about 15 minutes of silence so I can actually think straight and not have my thoughts interrupted with whining and complaining. Dinner might be ruined but I manage to maintain my sanity till bedtime.
I am the mom who loses my patience almost every night at 8:45 pm because my kids are still not in bed and I can’t take one more cartwheel, request for water or one kid telling on another kid. And I know I my kids should be in bed far before that, but I can’t manage to get homework, dinner and baths done in time for that to happen. Then someone ends up in tears and my ideal image of kissing my kids good night and tucking them in goes down the tubes in the blink of an eye and is replaced with the onset of mom guilt.
I could go on and on but my point is, I am no better at this parenting gig than most other parents, and judging others for their mishaps or bad days in no way covers up my own downfalls. It may feel good in the moment, but it won’t help me fix my faults, lapses in judgment or any parenting challenges my kids throw my way. Besides, I always find that the moment I judge another parent, life has a funny way of serving up a nice big piece of humble pie. So instead of turning my nose up to judge, I am going to make a conscious effort to empathize with my fellow parent and shoot them a knowing smile instead of side-eye or even go so far as to offer my help. That may be the thing they need to get them through yet another pointless tantrum or tough parenting moment without feeling judged.
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