Every mum has got something in her life that she is struggling to manage. Any day of the year, that is true for the majority – if not all – of us. A lot of the time that stems from something that our kids are going through. It’s never quiet when they are acting out, so, on top of everything, we feel even more rotten. We have all been there. This is why I don’t understand why so many mums feel okay about judging other mums.
This article is kindly written by an anonymous guest writer.
Judging people for judging
This article shared on Mumlyfe Facebook really resonated with me and inspired me to write down my thoughts on this. It’s quite hard to write, as I know that just by expressing this, I’m probably judging other mums myself!! But I sill think it needs examining. I guess I hypocritically do judge people for judging. Hear me out.
I don’t know why women are so quick to put other women down, but they are. That’s my experience anyway. If your kid acts out – as so many kids do – people will instantly start eyeballing the mother. I’ve got four kids and I’ve been at the receiving end of it time and time again.
The first time I was met with really hurtful judgement – as opposed to the ongoing, everyday judgey sh*t women throw at each other – was when I enrolled my eldest son at our local public school. He has special needs and was very loud at the orientation day. It was all new to him and I knew there would be trouble. What I didn’t know was that I would have to suffer through dirty looks, pinched faces and even some actual tsking at times.
Not one single mother came and asked us if we needed help. No one gave me an encouraging smile or acknowledged my boy. Instead, they all acted as if we were being deliberately disruptive and most definitely contagious.
This is my life, it’s my boy’s life, I can’t let these things get me down. I chose to move on from that and also the fact that we were never included in anything for those first couple of years at the school. It wasn’t until my NT [neurotypical] kids started that I think anyone even acknowledged my presence at the school. Not unless they were side-eyeing me on the days my son struggled.
I could use a friend
I could really have used a friend on those days. Someone who was compassionate enough to really see my son and acknowledge that he was doing his best, just as I was. That he might not have the cookie-cutter cuteness of the rest of the class, but he had other valuable things to offer. Because he does.
Years have gone by since then and I’ve realised as my other three have started school, that judging other mums isn’t actually exclusive to the “different” kids, like I guess I first thought. It’s also reserved for any kid who ever does anything remotely wrong.
My daughter was banned from being friends with another girl in Year 5 because she did one bad thing. Instead of getting in touch with me to work through the problem, the other mother just made her girl to cut my daughter off. It was so awkward and wrong.
Judge my kids, judge me
Another daughter struggled to fit in when she started high school and all of the mums of her old primary school friends dead-set asked me, “What’s wrong with her?” One even told me that it was “embarrassing” that she still “clung” to her primary school friends. They were judging my daughter, and they were judging me too.
Just like when I felt like my eldest son and I were contagious, I feel like people worry that a sad kid, or a bad kid, or, heaven help us all, even just a kid who is a little different, will rub off on their own kid. In my opinion, that’s such a childish way to look at the world. It’s a big fat worry that these children are raising the children too. Whenever a person lacks compassion and tolerance for others, you can be sure their kids will too.
I don’t know how to fix it, except to plead my case. To all the mums out there: please, please, please stop judging other mums. We are trying our best. We’re not perfect. Our kids all f*ck up sometimes, as do we. Why can’t that just be the bottom line? Why does this mirage of perfection have to live there instead?
Compassion should be easy
It is not hard at all to:
Notice when a fellow mum is struggling and offer help – put yourself in her shoes and ask yourself what would help you in that situation.
Look for things you have in common, not the things that are different – this is especially true of mums of kids with special needs. Our kids can be “typical” kids too!
Be honest about how you are feeling – the friends I have made have been the ones who have said “I don’t understand” and asked me to explain.
Look for ways you can make a difference – my very best friend is the one who said to me, “I don’t feel able to care for [your special needs boy], but I can take the other three for a play one day so you can spend some one on one time together.”
Just be kind – as above, it’s such a simple way to live your life. A smile, a kind word, a nod to show you understand. Just. be. kind.
Do you think women judging other mums is prevalent?