A family moved into a new neighborhood.
One morning while they were eating breakfast, the mom saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
“How shameful! That laundry is not very clean at all. She’s hanging dirty clothes on the line!”
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the disapproving mom made similar comments.
“She doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
A few weeks later, the mother exclaimed in surprise:
“Look, dear, someone’s clothes are finally looking clean! – I wonder how this happened!”
The husband replied, “I know exactly how it happened.”
He paused and calmly added: “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
YIKES! It’s never a good feeling to realize when we complain about others’ “shortcomings” that we may be looking through the dusty, sometimes stained window, of our own clouded experience.
Author and Philosopher David R. Hawkins once declared: “All judgment reveals itself to be self-judgment in the end.”
Judging other moms hurts you because perception is projection. What we see in others is a projection of what is inside of us, but most of the time we are unaware of what it’s inside us because, well, it’s mostly subconscious and not that obvious.
Plus, understanding what part of ourselves we are judging takes a lot of inner work that includes a level of honesty most of us are not ready for. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s almost unbelievable to admit what I’ve done to avoid facing my own demons.
Like my brother always say, “I go to Egypt” and get into denial (The Nile – get it? LOL). Because vulnerability is hard. It’s better to look out the window and not at the window itself.
When we make blanket statements about other moms in judgment, we usually are judging an aspect of ourselves that we don’t accept, admit, or acknowledge.
We all engage in mom shaming in one way or another, and I actually think it’s useful to embrace the judgment in an effort to gain an awareness that will allow us to improve ourselves. I try to do The Work every time I’m judging another mom, because it usually turns out that I’m judging her because of my own fear or insecurity.
And not only that, but this judgment will backfire, because we will end up measuring ourselves up to the same impossible and unrealistic standard of perfection, requiring that you be in alignment with that perfect ideal at all times!
Judgment is what feeds our inner bully. When we label moms as “good moms” or “bad moms” or we define the “right way to raise kids” vs. “the wrong way of raising kids,” or we set the standards of “well behaved kids” vs. “badly behaved kids,” we will end up condemning ourselves because we will fall short in one degree or another.
Judgment creates expectations, separation, and rejection. Judgment crushes your capacity to connect, learn, and create. In realizing this, I’ve been able to understand why being judgmental causes me so much misery: connection, learning, and creativity are the very things that most feed my soul.
As you think about your own judgments, what do you feel is most impacted in your life?
I feel that is the key to rid ourselves from this low vibration emotion: thinking what we are thinking, noticing what we are noticing, judging what we are judging.
We talked about how writing your judgments is the first step to releasing them. Things just make a bit more sense when they stay in our head. However, this time, I’m going to encourage you to set some time aside to write every judgment you’ve made that you can possibly think of. Again, this is not the time to be considerate, compassionate, or spiritual… it’s a time to own the real judgments that you make all the time about real moms, real people in your life.
That’s right. Make a list of all your judgments.
After you’ve compiled a list of judgments and it feels like you can’t think of any more, then take another page and start writing down judgments you’ve made about yourself, you know, names you’ve called yourself or things you’ve judged yourself for.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” ~ Matthew 7:1-2
Yes. Make a list of your self-judgments.
What I have found in my life, my experience as a mentor and coach, as well as in my research with moms worldwide, is that we judge ourselves with the same standard as we judge others, so as we judge other moms, we are inevitable judging ourselves. This discovery took that Bible verse to a different level of understanding for me.
Compare the two lists.
Judging other moms is really judging yourself as a mom. Your judgment can reveal a past or current insecurity, and it can also create an insecurity in the future.
To illustrate this concept, let’s make up a story about “Serena,” a mom of two who has a job she loves. She judges “stay-at-home-moms” because she thinks they lack ambition, they are uneducated, and lazy. “Kelly” has chosen not to work outside the home, and judges “working-moms” because she believes they don’t spend enough time with their kids, they are selfish, and they shouldn’t let a stranger raise their kid.
These are actual judgments I’ve heard from moms I know and have interacted with. And both these moms feels, in their judgment, that if the other is judging them is because they are jealous, resentful, or insecure because they could never do it.
The problem with any scenario like the one above is that, Serena’s judgment is going to subconsciously prevent her from actually enjoying her time at home with her children, because she obviously values productivity, education, and personal progress, and she’s told herself so much how “it’s lazy, uneducated, and non-ambitious.” She’s also not going to be able to connect with stay-at-home-moms, so if her best friend chooses to not work or quits her job, she’s going to feel guilt, shame, and separation. And God forbid Serena gets laid off or even too sick to work; the self-judgment is going to consume her.
The same goes for Kelly. Her story that pursuing anything outside of being home with her children is selfish is going to make her feel guilty anytime she wants to genuinely pursue something for herself. She will judge herself whenever someone else watches her kids, even if for reasons that she may rationally consider “legitimate.” And, ironically, even when she spends so much time with her kids, she’s always feeling like it’s not enough, in any sense of the matter. And God forbid she ever find herself in a situation where she needs to make the choice to get a part-time or full-time job – she will practically hate herself while doing it.
That’s why “Don’t judge other moms” is one of the Ten Commandments of Motherhood. When you are judging other moms, you are judging yourself. You are creating a “measure” by which EVERYONE will be measured – and that includes you, and your kids!!!
Judging other moms hurts you.
We may think it’s harmless, entertaining, and even “helpful” to judge other moms – because we feel superior or like we know better.
But you don’t know better. I don’t know better.
Our view is turbid because of what’s on our window: unhealed wounds, unresolved issues, unfulfilled desires.
Plus, we don’t know the whole story. We’re too quick to judge – it’s like a cup of instant judgment. And to top it off, believing our judgment prevents us from ever finding out more. We’re hard to ourselves, and we’re hard to one another as moms.
Have you ever been shamed, mocked, shunned, or gossiped about?
Has someone ever made a snarky comment that truly hurt you?
Do you feel tension and awkwardness in a particular group of moms, or try to spark up a conversation with none or very little response?
Have you gone to an event or been part of an organization where you didn’t fit in because it was too “cliquey”?
Have you ever made a parenting choice you were finally proud about, just to have it dismissed, criticized, and bashed by another mom?
Motherhood is the longest most vulnerable time of our lives. I believe motherhood is a time where we realize we need compassion, support, and understanding. I wrote about how we can cultivate empathy a while ago, because it is such a great tool for connection.
I pray I can use the “just like me” compassion mantra as often as possible, because all judgments are inaccurate, subjective, and damaging. Every mom is doing what she can on their journey, and that includes YOU.
If you are breathing, you will judge other moms, because we all do it, instead of making ourselves wrong for judging, we can become conscious on how we react and what may be causing it.
It brings me peace to question my judgments of others, because when I start to believe that my judgments about them aren’t true, and I’m not this infallible source of truth, then my judgments about myself start to lose credibility.
When I look at her through a different, much cleaner window, her laundry looks cleaner, and so does the reflection of what I may be wearing.
How do you feel judging other moms hurts you or has hurt you in the past? Share if you are willing to do the judgment and self-judgment list exercise, and what you discover. I love you!!!