Yesterday I made my kids and nephew macaroni and cheese, from a box, for lunch. Don’t judge.
Over the weekend I nearly lost it when both of my children tried running away from me in public while I frantically searched for my car key that I thought I had lost. Don’t judge.
Two weeks ago my kid threw a toy at another adult at a kid’s birthday party. Don’t judge.
Since Christmas, my daughter started calling others a stupid beagle, thanks to Charles M. Schulz. Again, don’t judge.
I am not a perfect mother. It certainly does not look like I am from the outside. But inside, I try hard to be a better mother every day. Inside, I wonder why I continue to sell myself short to others when I get nervous about my children’s wild behaviors and unsatisfactory actions in public. Inside, I do feel confident most days that I am doing my best to be the mother my children need me to be. And on those tough days that make me question everything about my parenting abilities, I am able to forgive myself, I am ready to learn from my mistakes, and I am willing to continue to give motherhood my best shot. Inside, I know that I am making good choices for my children. Inside, I know that I am a good mother. But I wonder, do you see this?
I am guilty of it, too (don’t judge). I have judged other parents. And I am ashamed. I am ashamed because they are no different than me. I am ashamed of this because I know how awful it feels to be judged or to question whether you are being judged when you work so hard to take care of your family. Why do we do this to each other? Why do I fear being judged by other moms? What can we do to change this?
There are moments when I wish I could explain to others why I look so exhausted. There are moments when I wish I could put on a better act for others when I am losing my patience with my children. There are moments when I want to explain my children’s actions and my choices as a mother. But, what I really want is to feel like there is no need to explain anything at all.
When I look at you, I will tell myself that you see a mother who loves her children and is trying with all of her might to be a good mother. And when you look back at me, I want you to feel that same support. We are all different. We have our own parenting styles. But we all want the same thing. We want our children to know that they are loved. We want to make decisions and choices that will benefit our families. We want to be good parents. When we look at each other, we want to find comfort in the midst of a challenging moment. When we look at each other, we want to be reminded that we are not alone in our efforts. We are not perfect parents, but we can support each other as we do our best to navigate our way through parenthood.
Yesterday I read a post over at Twin Cities Moms Blog about Moms for Moms Day, which is today. The post inspired me to start worrying less about whether others are judging me as a parent, and to focus more on showing other parents that I understand and support them. Worrying about being judged for my choices as a mother doesn’t make my job as mom any easier. It’s silly. And you shouldn’t worry either. Instead, let’s focus on showing each other support, even when we may not share the same ideas about parenting. Let’s focus on seeing what’s inside each and every one of us. Let’s acknowledge that we are all trying to do what we believe is best for our children. Let’s show our kids that we are a strong community when we support each other.