I recently told my good friend how much I admire her parenting. She is an amazing mom and she works incredibly hard. I truly look up to her and even find myself envying her sometimes.
Take it or Leave it Podcast – Episode 6 – Things to Not Say to a Pregnant Woman, Different Needs Parent or Your Spouse
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I could not believe the response she gave to my compliment, she told me, “I wish I had your patience.” She explained that she was struggling in this area and feeling like a bad mom, she said she admired that I didn’t LOSE MY COOL when my kids were driving me crazy. While I was struggling with consistency and wishing I was more like her, she was struggling and comparing herself to me.
I was shocked.
Mothers Never Believe They Are Good Enough
My amazing friend didn’t notice the things in herself that she was doing right, but she did see them in me, and vise versa.
We, as mothers, will never believe we are good enough. We tend to focus on our mistakes, without recognizing our strengths. The judgement that comes from friends, family and perfect strangers does not help, but what if it did?
I believe it can.
No two mothers are exactly alike.
We all make different choices and have different things that are important to us in our parenting. It is the LOVE FOR OUR CHILDREN that drives us to make decisions. We are all doing what we believe is best.
For all our differences and disagreements, we mothers all have one thing in common. On some level, we envy each other, whether we will admit it or not.
Think about what could happen if we acknowledged this out loud.
Mothers need to compliment each other more
What if we started looking for ways to compliment and encourage other mothers, instead of judging their choices or criticizing their mistakes? What if we not only stop the war against each other, but we take it a step further and recognize something awesome in those around us?
What if we tell them what we see?
As mothers, we already know what our weaknesses are, and we likely judge ourselves far worse than anyone else ever could. We don’t need people to point out to us what we already know, we need to hear the things we are doing right.
We need people to judge us in a way that we won’t judge ourselves, in a way that points out more good than bad. We need to hear that we are not complete failures to our children. Instead of causing hurt and guilt, this kind of judgement can motivate and energize us.
If we know we are good at some things, we are more likely to believe we can do better in the areas where we struggle.
We don’t truly believe that putting down other moms makes us feel good, do we? Won’t building each other up be much more rewarding for everyone involved?
I haven’t forgotten the compliment my friend gave me that day and I doubt I ever will. It was a simple thing for her to say, but it made a huge impact in my life. Ever since then, I have felt a strong desire to let other mothers know the good things I see them doing.
Shutting my critical eyes that look for anything wrong in others, and instead looking through a lens made of grace and encouragement, has transformed the way I think and act.
This simple change has helped me learn from other mothers, and I have become a better mom as a result.
What if we turned Mom judging into something we do to actually help and encourage each other?
Could we be better parents if we not only spent our time encouraging others, but also felt encouraged back?
Would positivity and encouragement do more for us than guilt and shame ever could?
Think of the kind of example we would be setting for our children. How can we expect them to treat their peers with kindness and respect when their own mothers are taking shots at one another?
What if instead of trolling moms on the internet and rubbing their noses in any mistake they make, we let them know that they are NOT ALONE in their shortcomings?
What if we tell the exhausted, stressed mother whose toddler is throwing a fit in the grocery store that we have been there, and we admire her strength? What if we tell our friend who is working so hard to teach her son not to hit, that we admire the way she never gives up?
What if we offered mothers JUST encouragement and support?
No unsolicited advice, no condemning looks or words, no implying how great you or your child are in comparison, just encouragement and support.
Full stop. That’s it.
I am tired, aren’t you? Wouldn’t supporting each other with grace, encouragement and kindness help make our lives a little less exhausting? Wouldn’t it be so much better for mothers and our children?
Let’s change the mommy culture. Let’s turn ugly, degrading mom judging into something uplifting and beautiful.