Friday, April 29, 2016

Mommy Judging (For Grandmothers Too)!

Several weeks ago, the JAM team invited me to speak on the topic of “Mommy Judging.”  Needless to say, I discovered from my research, personal experience (yes, I am a mom and a grandmother), and the response of the ladies present, this is a “hot topic.”

When I say “hot” I mean, powerful.  A topic that moves women to tears and a topic that has the power to create community and acceptance.   For example, right now stop and ask yourself these two questions:  

First, when has your actions, as a mother or grandmother, been judged by another mom, or grandmother, bringing you to tears?   

I remember right after my first grandchild was born, being judged for how much involvement I had in my grandchild’s life.  As a matter of fact, I was told by another mom, “Obviously, I wanted to replace my daughter as his mother.”   Now that’s crazy talk!  Been there done that and no desire to do it again.  I walked away from this interaction between two grown, grandmotherly women, feeling very hurt, emotional, and misunderstood.  How about you?  When have you left a conversation, or situation, feeling judged?  

Second question, how powerful was it, when someone put their arm around you and accepted you just as you were – a mom, or grandmother, doing their best?

I also remember deciding to “homeschool” my children (when homeschooling was a fairly new concept) and feeling a community and acceptance from a group of women who were also struggling with the judgment of teaching their children from home.  A powerful community was birthed and support was offered to a large number of moms and kids.  No judgment, just acceptance and community!  How about you?  Where do you find acceptance and community without fear of being judged?

The Urban Dictionary describes judgment as the “act of looking down upon, to regard with contempt or disdain; to regard as inferior.”   That’s exactly what my research uncovered.  Statistically, 90 percent of moms, and grandmothers, have judged another mom, or grandmother. 

We cast judgment when we see a kid being a “brat.”  We cast judgment when we see a child “throwing a fit in the store.”  We cast judgment when we see a woman breastfeeding in public.  We cast judgment when we see a child watching (our definition of) too much TV or playing too many video games.  Working moms cast judgment on stay at home moms and stay at home moms cast judgment on working moms.  We cast judgment on “attachment parenting” where children sleep in their parents’ beds.   If a child is overweight, we cast judgment on how the mother or grandmother feeds the child.   On and on it goes …

So, this brings me to another question:  How should we respond to others who judge us?
In the Bible, the Book of Luke, Chapter 6 and Verses 31 through 36, we are told to “do to others as we would have them do to us, love those who are our enemies (which is what it feels like when we are judged by another mom), do good to those who harm us, be merciful, as our Father is merciful to us.”  Quite honestly, these are not my first responses to being judged but nonetheless they should be my second.  How about you?

Here's where we have to look into the mirror!  Let’s keep in mind, there are times in which we are the ones judging another mom or grandmother.  Don’t deny it!  Be brave and be real!  It’s part of our fallen nature.  It can also be an automatic response when we see something happen we would never let happen! 

My first child threw one fit and I immediately did what I had been taught.  I picked her up, swatted her little bottom and told her this was not appropriate behavior!  She never threw another fit.  Yes, I wore it like a badge of honor and yes, I judged other moms when their children threw themselves down, time after time after time. 

Then I had my second child.  Trying the same form of discipline and failing miserably, I was humbled; this form of discipline just ignited a fire storm.   I immediately had compassion for other moms with children having a temper tantrum.  I immediately longed for other moms to understand and not shake their heads in disappointment when my child threw themselves down on the grocery store isle because I said no to candy.

Judgment is a two-way street.  In the Bible, the Book of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verses 1 through 5, we are told to “not judge one another, lest we too are judged, we will receive the same degree of judgment as we give out to others, and why do we judge someone else for something when we have our own areas of weakness and areas found lacking.”

This leads me to ask one last question:  How do we get off the “judging treadmill?”   Seven basic thoughts, or points, to remember and practice.

       1.  Be wise – IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP - Recognize your own doubt and seek a friendship   with an older mom where you can solicit wise counsel- Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Ps. 127:3
a.      Not a mistake that you have the children that you do
b.    Ps. 139 God knows them and saw them being formed – ask him for guidance

2.      Be confident – YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST you know what’s best for your child and –
3.     Be rooted in the belief that you know what’s best for your child and your family.  YOU ARE THE EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR FAMILY
a.     You will choose what is best for them at any given moment or any given situation.
b.     You know your family dynamic best and will do what’s best for your family.
4.      Be guarded – NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SHARED - be careful what you post on social media, someone will judge you and if you can’t handle it, it will send you spiraling down and your confidence level will plummet. 
5.     Be ready to cut the cord – IT’S NOT ABOUT ME IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM - judgment has nothing to do with you, there’s something lacking in the other mom, or grandmother.
6.     Be a community –  I NEED YOU AND YOU NEED ME
a.     May not be what you would do, but that’s ok!
b.     Nobody is perfect
c.     Real dialogue leads to real friendships
d.     All kids throw fits in public at some time in their lives
e.     Every mom needs support because they are doing their best.
f.      Allow moms to share their failures but remind them “they showed up”
                                               i.     Kids are going to survive
                                             ii.     They need to be seen, safe, secure, and celebrated
g.      Find rest in knowing LOVE WINS
7.      Be assured your kids will be fine – LOVE WINS

JAM (Just Among Moms) is a place where you can find community, support, mentorship, love, acceptance, and other women doing their best.  I encourage you to try it out.  Get more info at
Find a women’s group to belong to and start building a community that allows you to be real, while sharing your struggles, and growing a real faith; that’s what you will find at Calvary. 
Feel free to share your thoughts with us by posting your comments!
Let’s stop judging one another moms, and grandmothers, and let’s start supporting and encouraging one another!

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