How have I judged thee? Let me count the ways.
I have judged your parenting choices, the good ones, the bad ones and everything in between.
I have judged you for your schooling choices, where you go to church, how often your kid naps.
I have judged you for breastfeeding, or not.
I have judged you for being too conservative or too liberal.
I have judged how you discipline and what you feed your kid.
I have judged you for being a working mom, stay at home mom and everything in between.
I have judged your for whether or not you vaccinate.
I have judged you for baby-wearing and then turned around and judged you for raising your kid to speak his mind.
I have judged you for losing your patience with your kids in public.
I have judged you for having the nerve to judge me.
This isn't something I am remotely proud of and I hope you will forgive me. Just as I hope you can forgive those who do it to you. You see, I figure we can't have a mommy war if we just stop. Stop giving side-glances to our girlfriends at the park when we see a kid throw sand in precious Junior's face. Stop thinking our parenting choices are superior to everyone else's and stop beating each other down in the process.
Do you make parenting choices I don't understand? Yes, you do. I'm not naive enough to think that my parenting choices don't baffle you sometimes. Maybe even all the time. Sometimes my parenting choices baffle me. I, like you, have one goal as a parent: raise kids who love Jesus and each other the way Jesus loved the world. Maybe you aren't a believer in Jesus, but I'd venture to guess that your goal looks pretty similar: love and treat others the way you want to be treated. We all want our kids to be kind, generous people who do good for the world. See? We want the same things. We can probably help each other out a little bit, can't we?
Those of us who are believers can rest in the knowledge that we have been redeemed and saved from judgement so that we can be with Jesus in eternal life. We have been tasked with sharing the Gospel through our words and our actions. Judging each other does not fit into that plan. Pride does not fit into that plan.
When you see the mom who is clearly struggling with her kids in Wal-Mart, don't judge, (remember, you're shopping in Wal-Mart, too) ask her if she needs a hand. Go introduce yourself and your girlfriends to the mom of the delightful child throwing sand at the park. We can be friends and supporters to each other. In doing so we might open each other's eyes and hearts as to why we make some of the choices we do. There isn't room for judgement and pride in supportive friendships.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm perfect or that the next time I'm with my girlfriends I won't inwardly roll my eyes at something they do, or they to me. I will say I have been consciously trying to be supportive and not judgmental with my friends, family and random strangers at the park by not judging their choices. Sometimes it's harder than others. Ultimately there has been freedom in letting go of the judgement. I have been free to seek advice from other moms without caring what they thought of me for asking. I have been free to offer support to other moms without the burden of my pride getting in the way. I have, hopefully been a better friend and mom for it.
And, the next time you see me yelling at my kids in Wal-Mart, just put your hand on my shoulder, assure me that you know the feeling and help usher my kids to the checkout line, m'kay? Thanks. ;)
Photo Credit: foilman.
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