What I Wish I’d Known: Judging Mommies

What I wish I’d Known is a series of posts about motherhood written by moms I know and admire in support of the launch of my book, Secrets of The Mommyhood: Everything I wish someone had told me about pregnancy, childbirth and having a baby.

Judging Mommies

By Lindsay Vidrine

After four years of motherhood, I by no means think of myself as an expert on the subject, but have managed to pick up a lesson or two along the way. I love bonding with friends and even complete strangers over mom stories, especially the ones that end in us rolling with tear-filled eyes of laughter.

When I think back to many of these moments, I realize that it doesn’t matter if we’re sharing tricks of the trade or anecdotes of public humiliation, what bonds us together is knowing we are not alone in this crazy mom world.

It’s no secret that motherhood is a challenge. Sometimes it’s difficult for reasons beyond our control, but more often I find it’s challenging because of something we either brought on ourselves or have the power to change.

While fellow moms can be a source of refuge, sadly we too often turn on one another in the very moments when we need each other the most. Why does our singular bond also become our weapon of choice? From discipline styles to developmental milestones to when your kid starts competitive soccer, judgment ranges from blatant to veiled, but remains ever-present in today’s mommy circles.

Over the past four years, I’ve had numerous run-ins with members of what I lovingly call the judgmental mom brigade. Once on a plane, the mom of a 10 year-old sitting in front of us turned around and glaringly asked if I needed help calming my 18 month-old son. Yes, I admit we were that family, but it really only lasted about 10 minutes of a three-hour flight and he (plus his parents) were all overly exhausted. It was the first time we’d flown so I was hyper-stressed enough without Miss Judgemental’s sarcastic offer to “help.”

Meanwhile in the row behind us, a heartwarming grandmother volunteered for a game of between-the-seats peek-a-boo that kept our tired boy entertained until we touched down. I’m sure the game lasted much longer than she signed up for, but you wouldn’t have known it since her grace and enthusiasm never wavered.

[On a side note, now that I hear how loudly my four-year-old can wail, I’d give anything for the lower decibel level of an 18 month-old’s cry.]

I share this story for several reasons. One is to make us all think twice before judging a fellow mom. Whether intentionally or subconsciously, we’ve all done it at times and can be better at extending one another the patience and understanding that we’d appreciate ourselves.

The other thing I wish I’d figured out earlier is how to channel my inner unapologetic mother. I parent the way I parent because it’s what works for my family. Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all event and I wish I had learned earlier to listen to my inner mommy voice and tune out the rest. As a notorious people-pleaser I should disclose that I can still use a dose of my own advice from time-to-time, so I know what I’m asking isn’t easy.

I challenge every mom at every phase of mommyhood to let down the shields of judgement and find your own self confidence. Your conscience will thank you and I have a feeling your kid(s) may be the better for it too.And if I meet you and your screaming kiddo in the skies, I promise to pay it forward with a game of between-the-seats peek-a-boo.

Check out Roxy’s Reign Ends to read more about Lindsay Vidrine’s life and parenting adventures with her husband, four-year-old son and a jealous Yorkie. Lindsay Vidrine and I used to work together in PR when she was at Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis and I was at UPS in Atlanta. We always had fun when we were working together, and I am so glad we have kept in touch. And now we are both moms and both bloggers. Glad to know you, Lindsay, and thanks for sharing your wisdom with The Mommyhood!

8 Responses to What I Wish I’d Known: Judging Mommies

  1. Jennifer September 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Love it. Very true and it is so refreshing to hear it from another “mom in the trenches”. We’re all doing the best we can with no owner’s manuals and on days where nothing seems to go as planned. Nice to know there are others feeling the same!

    • Heather September 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      No owner’s manuals – that’s exactly it. Judgement implies “I can do it better.” Well, says who? There are no owner’s manuals, and we are all just doing the best we can. Day by day. Some days are not so great.

  2. Angela F. September 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Oh so true & wise! We are mommies, why must we point fingers and judge? (Or ridicule instead of support?) We are all going to parent differently so unless it is jeopardizing the child’s well-being we really need to stand by one another. Wonderful post, Lindsay! Thank you!!

    • Heather September 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      It’s every day, though. Sometimes I care, sometimes I’m so far gone that I don’t. But for the times that I care, it cuts. Deep.

  3. Lindsay Vidrine September 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Thank you ladies for the kind words and support! We moms are all in this together, even if we’re complete strangers.

    • Heather September 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm #


  4. Rick Vidrine September 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    We, as parents, judge other parents because we have all had “those” moments, we want to reassure ourselves that we handled our children better than the other parent. I think this is due to the “lack of an owner’s manual” that was mentioned by Heather. The only thing we have to go on as a new parent is our childhood experiences from a time we don’t remember. Sometimes seeing that parent struggling to not lose it can be an enjoyment, because you’ve already been there before.

    • Heather September 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Excellent point, Rick about having our childhood experiences to go on. My earliest memories are from around 5, I guess and they aren’t sharp. There were also other examples of parenting that have guided me. I not only think of my parents as I was growing up, but my friends’ parents, too. My friends had some really cool parents that I admire and learned from, too. Like Lindsay said, it’ takes a village.

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