Saturday, January 23, 2010

Judge Not

I recently read an article about Jennifer Garner in Parade magazine. Now I typically do not follow celebrities, but what she said in the article is something that I have been thinking about for some time now. Here is what she said:

"I will tell you what I can't abide -- and I think the Internet has really created a space for it -- women criticizing other women and mothers criticizing other mothers. It just makes me crazy, whether it's between staying at home, going to work, how long you breast-feed, if you use formula. I feel like we should just assume everyone is doing the best they can. Women should take care of each other, not tear each other down. I would just like to see a mother who really believes that she has done it all so right, you know what I mean?"
Makes sense doesn't it? I don't think it's any secret that I am passionate about car seat safety, extended breast feeding, anti/delay vaccinating, being a stay at home mom, cloth diapering, etc. However just because those are my passions, it doesn't mean that someone the opposite of me isn't just as passionate about her choice to formula feed, vaccinate, work out of the home, use disposables, etc. I get so saddened when someone says to me: "Well, I quit breastfeeding because it just isn't for me, I know you love it, but I don't (and then they sheepishly smile at me)." There is no judgement in formula feeding, at least not from me. Same if you use disposables. Heck even I use disposables out in public because for me, it's easier. The funny thing is, sometimes I feel embarrassed that I put my children in disposables out in public for fear that someone who knows how passionate I am about cloth, will judge me. That is not right! Yes cloth diapers are safer and have less chemicals, but perhaps disposables make more sense for a family who is busy and the extra work just seems like too much. Yes, there are harmful components in vaccines, but perhaps someone else feels strongly that the risks outweigh the cost of getting a life threatening disease.  Heaven forbid I ever admit that at times, I am jealous of the other moms who get out into the real world and have a job. Gasp! Nevermind the fact that many of them are probably thinking the same thing about staying at home. You won't find me ever judging those things. About the only thing I will  judge is car seat safety. Even that isn't really judging, rather just sadness when those presented with the info, continue to not extend rear face or extend 5-point harness. That is a matter of life and death to me. Of course, I suppose one could say that cloth diapering, not vaccinating, eating organic, etc. are also a matter of life and death. In a way, I suppose it all is.

The point is this: When have we as mothers decided it was ok to criticize, gossip, judge each other? I'm not sure when it started, although I think Jennifer is right when she says the Internet (message boards in particular I think) have fostered judging each other for our choices. I've been guilty in the past, and my goal from here on forward is to not judge other moms. Instead I want to be supportive no matter what their choices or, no matter how different we may be from each other. After all, I am not a perfect mom and neither are you.

Your turn: Have you been guilty of judging other moms? Do you feel that as moms we criticize each other unfairly?


  1. Hey, it's 'macmama' from the PR. :) Ooooh, I love this post. This is something I feel really, really strongly about as well. I actually wrote about it last year - there's a permalink in the left sidebar of my blog under my favorite posts. It's the one called "Keeping it all together."

    So since I have already written a book-post about it, I won't clog up your comment field. ;)

  2. Hi Lauren! :) I am off to check out your post now. But, I too feel super strong about it, even more so since writing this. Just something that God keeps laying on my heart!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I agree that there's no place in the blogosphere (or in real life) for negativity, gossip, and rudeness. We should all strive to be kind, loving, and encouraging.

    That said, I think it is really important for moms to boldly speak their opinions and experiences...with gentleness and humility. I love it when I read blog posts from moms about why they choose to breastfeed or cloth diaper or spank or whatever. It's enlightening and interesting and very real. I DO like that.

  4. I agree whole-heartedly Stephanie! I love to read or talk to other women that have different beliefs than I do. It makes me think. It challenges me. Which I believe are both really good things. If it wasn't for those women who spoke into my life about the importance of breastfeeding, cloth diapering, extended rear-facing, etc. I would not be doing all of that with my girls today. I love it because it makes me research and learn more about a subject then I ever would have thought!

  5. Oh course I have judged, I think it's normal. When I see a mother/father smoking with their children I want to inflict physical pain upon the parent, that one REALLY throws me over the edge.
    My motto has always been, "YOU do what works best for YOUR family."
    We fully vac. our first born and felt good with that, our second born, NO WAY! They are different kids but that's what works for OUR family, kwim?

  6. Totally know what you mean Salena! I've always loved your motto and I hope to have the same for our family! :)


Feel free to share any jewels or treasures in your comments to me. :)