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Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope

If this post makes you feel twitchy or uncomfortable or offended, it’s probably because you’re guilty of what I’m about to discuss.

That’s okay.

This post makes me twitchy and uncomfortable and offended, too. Because I’m guilty of what I’m about to discuss and I know it.

Reserving Judgment Is A Matter of Infinite Hope, Not Super Just Mom

There’s a post making the rounds on Facebook right now, written by a mother of 5 who, at the end of the school year, finds herself completely done with all of the signing and papers and homework folders and reading and costumes and projects. It’s quite funny and probably a bit hyperbolic and I’m not ashamed to admit I found myself chuckling while I read it, nodding along knowing that at some point, I’ll find myself just as frustrated because I’m self-aware enough to know that paperwork isn’t my strong suit.

The post itself and the discussions it sparked sort of gave me the push to write this, but that discussion isn’t the thing I’m talking about.

That post isn’t really the point of this post.

I’m not here to discuss end-of-year assignments and debate their value and efficacy. I’m not here to discuss whether mothers should pull it together and teach their kids to “finish the drill.” I’m not here to give moms who grow more lax as the school year ends a pass.

What you do is what you do and I like to think that, while there are certainly outliers, most of us are doing our best. Maybe we’re all skirting around average, but average is okay. I promise.

What I’m here to talk about is the larger conversation happening around that post and other posts like it. The conversations with much broader implications.

If your priorities don’t match those of someone else, your priorities are wrong.

If you don’t do it like someone else does it, you’re doing it wrong.

If you don’t value the same things, then you value the wrong things.

Wrong wrong wrong.

Ladies, can we stop that? Like, yesterday? Can we give up the self-righteous indignation that there’s only one way to skin a cat? Can we stop with the underhanded insults that are meant to make other women feel bad? To shame them into thinking the same way we think?

Can we stop the judging?

I’ve seen it time and time again, this attempt to invalidate the feelings and emotions and beliefs of other people because their feelings or emotions or beliefs are different from ours. In blogging, on Twitter, on Facebook in both public status updates and private groups, and in offices where I’ve worked. Anywhere two or three women are gathered together, this strutting around with our tailfeathers on display like proud peacocks begins.


2 + 2 = 4 and 3 + 1 = 4

The equations are different. The answer is the same. If another woman arrives at the same conclusion as us but in a different way, where “same conclusion” = “what’s best for her and her family,” why does it matter that she didn’t get there our way?

Why does it matter if what’s best for her family isn’t the same as what’s best for your family?

It doesn’t.

Bottom line.

We forget, especially on the internet, that we’re only seeing snippets of people’s lives. Snapshots. A single moment. Even in the age of oversharing across all of social media, we’re still not getting the whole picture.

So when we look at mothers who say they are just done and their kids are done and donedonedone and we judge that and label them bad mothers because of that moment, even if we only do it in our own heads, we’re being incredibly unfair and shortsighted.

It might seem silly to say we don’t know their lives, but y’all, we don’t. Unless we’re living it ourselves because it’s our life, we don’t know it.

Instead of judging the mother for having a hard time at what comes naturally to us, like being organized, or having the supernatural ability to get all of the stains out of all of her children’s clothing, why can’t we just, I don’t know, not do that.

We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. My strengths might be your weakness and your strength might be weakness. Instead of stomping all over each other, how about we reach out a hand and help instead.

How about teaching our kids to work together by doing that with each other right now. That’s our infinite hope.


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Thursday 6th of June 2013

I absolutely didn't like her post, and I am absolutely not insecure.


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

It is hard to stop being judgey. But I think we can definitely make more of an effort to keep our judginess to ourselves. Most of the time I can just shake my head and spout off to my husband or a friend if I have to get the judgmental words out.

Jenn B.

Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Well, just...yes. I read the article (and not the comments, because that's just bad for everyone) and didn't even realize there was hoopla going on about it. To be fair, I'm far from social media savvy. All I knew is that, "WHOA! That's ME!" My husband knew it was me and posted it to my Facebook wall! It feels good to read someone admit to being less than perfect and know they're like you, because you know you're not alone. On the flip side, I guess I found out that I'm judged for that. In this case, I don't care. I'm human. I make mistakes. I'm tired. I was more over my kids' school year than they were ( least for one of them). What really gets me the most is when people feel all offended when you have something good to say. I feel most judged when I have a good story or cute anecdote. People have said they don't believe things happened that I posted...uhm, what?? People have said they're jealous of my "perfect" life...uhm, HUH?? It has been assumed that I am judging people even when I'm not. Just because I post something that I believe in does not mean I am automatically condemning someone for not feeling the same way. That's just touchy. And I get why people would be touchy! But seriously, believe it or not, if I don't say I am judging someone for something, I'm not. Do I judge people? Yes. Oh, yes. I don't mean to (except for one person who I can't stand--and you probably know who--and I give myself a pass because she falls into the realm of dangerous) but I do. Do I say out loud every judgmental thought that goes through my head? Absolutely not. What does that accomplish? How do I know those fleeting opinions that creep in are correct? I try to just squash them down. I try. I slip up sometimes. And then I get back ten times as many critical eyes in my direction in no time. What goes around comes around. So what if what went around was positive instead??


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Most of the comments on the actual post were incredibly supportive of the mom and her feelings of just being done. From teachers and parents alike. There were some who condemned her, some who praised homeschooling because they didn't have to deal with that, and some who were just downright assholes. But most of them were all "OMG! ME TOO!"

I don't understand the people who judge and condemn no matter what. I mean, I get why it happens. The root of all of it is insecurity. People are always afraid they're screwing up somehow so instead of just "restricting their comments to the weather" (<3 you, Mrs. Dashwood!) they get bitchy and catty and snarky.

I'm guilty. I am. I will never say I'm not guilty. But like you, I'm working on it.

Kia Morgan Smith

Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Yeah, I hear you. Tired of people comparing themselves to others. It's funny because I was at Disney Social Media Moms and Rene Syler said that exactly what people need to stop doing. Run your own race! Sometimes I don't want to share the good in my life because I feel like others will be jealous. It's a shame. People have to work out their issues and just be happy for others or get the heck off social media. If they can't take the heat...get out the kitchen!


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Yes! Run our own races! We might be running on the same course, but we set our own time for finishing, you know? Some finish before us. Some finish after. What matters is that we finish.


Saturday 1st of June 2013

YES. Absolutely. You never know somebody else's story or what struggles they have in life. I'm not sure why women seem to gravitate towards this judgey, gossipy thing - of course I'm guilty at times - but I think we owe it to ourselves to be more understanding of other mothers, other women, other *people*. I am with you wholeheartedly here. So glad I stopped by!


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

It's insecurity, plain and simple. That's why we gravitate in the direction we do. We're always worried about whether or not we're doing enough that when we see someone 1) doing more or 2) doing less, we feel the need to make ourselves feel better about what we're doing or not doing.

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