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Challenge: Stop Mom Judging

Don't hate. Appreciate.

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It seems like in the world of mommyhood, no one is immune from judgment. If we're not bringing in nut-free, gluten-free, sugar-free home baked goods for post-holiday concert party and our kids aren't reading 'Beowulf' by the 4th grade, we're clearly not working hard enough. But if we actually make it to the bounce house party on time, with waiver form in hand, clean socks, a wrapped gift and a fresh blowout, then we're *that* mom. We can't win.

So instead of giving the side eye, let's try the appreciative eye. Moms do so much to take care of their families. They sacrifice their own time and well-being to make sure their children are safe and happy, often out of the public eye and with little thanks. Each family has unique needs and dynamics and there's no one 'formula' to make parenting any easier. Plus, you never know what's going on behind the scenes. I'll never forget what one of my kid's kindergarten teachers told the parents on back to school night: Please don't draw any conclusions on any child based on your school visits. Shouldn't that important reminder apply to parents too? Instead of judging, we should be praising each other for our efforts, supporting each other in our endeavors and helping each other through our challenges. Don't hate. Appreciate.

I appreciate moms who leave work early and rush to the store to pick up a box of cookies for the fall harvest festival. I appreciate moms who send a hundred reminders to sign up for fall soccer. (I need each and every one of them.) I appreciate moms who carry babies, and groceries and diaper bags and push open doors with their toe. What strength! I appreciate moms who eat cake for lunch and heat leftovers for dinner. Who has time? I appreciate super organized moms who have their kids' schedules and their outfits color coordinated. Just wow. And I appreciate moms who are backlogged on email, have yet to send in a family picture for class, and forgot the snack for carpool. (Raises hand.)

I especially appreciate the many moms in my life who have supported me over the years. They have swooped in to help with childcare, shown up at the right time with a croissant, have sent me funny texts to brighten my day. And they have shown me by example how to be a better parent and that I am not alone in this journey. Thank you for not judging me. I appreciate you more than you know.

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