The real reason moms judge each other

I started this blog six years ago.

I was 25, unmarried, making $10 an hour and spending most of my paycheck on a combination of beer, coffee and clothes from Target (ironically, in just over half a decade, only about 1/3 of that equation has changed). My life looked markedly different, as it should have, and I wrote about things like why Julian Asange was a creep long before Wikileaks and what it must be like to be the kind of girl who feels the need to get Botox in her 20’s.

I wrote about different things, because my life was made up of different things.

But as I look back at all of the tangible changes that have taken place over these last six years: marriage, babies, graduate school, adoption, career changes, etc., I’m struck by fact that although much has changed, much more has stayed the same.

Like, the exact same.

For example…

1. I still wholeheartedly believe that jean shorts are a perfectly appropriate and acceptable wardrobe staple. And no, I don’t mean like the distressed denim shorts you overpay for at Urban Outfitters (where, I’d like to point out, I should definitely not be shopping anymore.) I’m talking about straight up, blue jean shorts with intact seams and butt flaps with snaps to cover the rear pockets. As a card-carrying 32-year-old mother, I should not be flitting around the aisles of Trader Joe’s like this, but I just can’t help myself.

2. To-this-day, I still do not have the mental capacity to retain exactly how a bill becomes a law. I’m sure that if someone simply began to whisper how it all goes down, a light switch would off and the information would come flooding out of my hippocampus, but until then, I will just have to vacantly nod along with chatter about the broken system of lobbyists and filibusters. For whatever reason, my adult brain refuses to catalog this information as pertinent and therefore exiles it somewhere in the great beyond, along with multiplying fractions and state capitals. Even if I start playing the School House Rock song in my head.

3. I am such a judgey-judger when it comes to other women. It’s terrible, because if you asked me if that was something I do, I would reply with an emphatic “Who? What? Me? NEVER!” But we went on a family trip to the aquarium yesterday and I judged the crap out of some other moms and grandmas (I judged GRANDMAS, you guys!) To check myself, I decided to go back and make a list of my judgements:

  • I judged like 60 different moms/grandmas for letting their children play on electronics, while walking through the aquarium. Meanwhile, back in our car – I totally let my 6-year-old play on our iPad while we drove the TWO HOURS home.
  • I judged a mom and dad for excessive hand-holding with their two kiddos. I held my kids’ hands whenever they slowed down enough to let me.
  • I judged a mom for letting her kids run all over an exhibit. My kids were running all over the exhibit.
  • I judged moms in heels, moms in flip-flops, moms with strollers, moms there with field trips, moms by themselves, moms with one kid, moms with multiple kids…

And then it hit me: You’re spending a lot of time looking at all these other moms and missing all of the fish. I was so busy comparing myself to these other moms, trying to make sure I was on my phone less, enjoying my children more – that I was missing everything!

Missing the fact that we are all made up of different things and different circumstances that allow us to parent the way that we do. Missing the fact that I am far from perfect and we’re all doing the best that we can. Missing the fact that every single one of these women had taken a day off from life, to spend time with their children, to look at some fish.

So, while somethings may never change about me: like the jean shorts thing or understanding what the hell is going on in Washington D.C., I am no longer that naive girl who didn’t understand how a critical eye cast by another woman can feel. I’m drawing a line in the sand to say the judgement stops here. And it stops now.

_______________________

Um. That’s the line.