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Challenge: Stop Mom Judging

Three Reasons to Stop Mom Judging

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A highlight of the TODAY Show Parenting Team breakfast this fall was meeting Hilary Duff. (Yeah A Cinderella Story!) But a definite takeaway was the helpful advice on ending mom judgment. So in the wake of the breakfast, here are my top three reasons why I want to think before I speak (or eye roll):

1. We can learn from each other's stories, so we shouldn't shame our voices.

I was recently talking with a young mom of two children - one girl and one boy. It was her boy who had an injury. She told how he had been playing and something happened to his arm. He mentioned that it bothered him and she noticed that he was favoring it, but he wasn't crying and didn't appear to be in major pain. She decided to monitor it.

After two days of the same, she went to the pediatrician. She was shocked when the doctor ordered an X-ray and said that her son's arm was broken. He had never screamed nor shed a tear. When the mother questioned the doctor in disbelief, feeling guilty, the pediatrician reassured her: "You waited two days - usually it's two weeks." I had no idea that was possible.

She buried her face in her hands. "My two-year-old now has a bright blue cast, which he picked. It is a glaring reminder that I made a mistake."

It was at that point that I stepped in. I shared my own mishaps while raising my boys. I marveled at her intuition in taking her son to the doctor - I too would have thought a broken arm would have been more dramatic. But more than anything else, I realized I was the recipient of valuable knowledge. Her experience would allow me to better protect my own children. Sharing - not shaming - our stories makes us stronger, which underlines the Parenting Team's mantra, "We're all in this together."

2. We must model the grace we need ourselves.

Going to bed with a messy house and unwashed dinner dishes used to haunt me. Somehow, it felt like I was failing as a mother. I would see my mother, whose house was always so clean, rolling her eyes in my mind’s eye - whether she really was or not.

Now that my children are older, it’s easier to keep up with housework. So to the mom covered in spit up and tripping over toddler toys, IT GETS EASIER.

Here’s what I wish now that I could tell myself then: “You’re doing a great job. When you have a mere one hour to yourself all day and you’re fall-over-yourself tired, it’s okay to relax. Or go to sleep. Or do something that feeds your soul. You don’t have to feel embarrassed when the repair man walks through your kitchen after a rough night. You don’t have to have a perfectly picked up house to prove that you’re a good mother. In fact, if you do, it will only take five minutes before the toys are out again and new dishes are in the sink! Enjoy this time and the sheer beautiful mess of it all.”

It’s easy to parent these days thirsty for grace. That’s why I loved Rebecca Dube’s comment at the TODAY Show breakfast. She said, “My harshest mommy judge is me…If I can be kinder to myself, that gives me the strength to be kinder to others.”

3. Everyone's a work in progress!

Clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary hit the nail on the head at the TODAY Show breakfast as well. She said judging others is an indicator of our own self lack. She advised everyone against operating from a place of "inner scarcity" and to cultivate our own self-worth. She said, "Don't use your children to fill your inner lack. This is not their war. Don't use them to finish your unfinished inner business. I think this mommy judgment comes from a place of inner scarcity, inner lack."

The beauty of her insight is that it's true - and actionable. That's why I think it resonated with so many that morning. It shifts the focus away from others and back on ourselves, which is really what we have control over anyway. I like to think that every day I'm raising my children, I'm also growing. It's a perk of parenting. That being said, I also love how my children invite me to be a kid again too.

Which reason appeals to you to end mom judging and why? I'd love to hear from you!

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.