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!