To All the Moms I've Judged Before
We've ALL been that sanctimommy.
Let’s start off by admitting the truth: We’re all judgy at one time or another. An even truthier truth: we’ve all been that sanctimommy silently judging other moms whether we care to admit it or not. Some of us are better at keeping our opinions private and some of us are not so discreet.
I’ve even aimed these questions at myself:
What kind of mom lets her kids have seven straight hours of screentime?
What kind of mom leaves her kids home alone while she goes grocery shopping?
What kind of mom looks forward to her kids’ bedtime?
I judge myself even when I know I’m doing my best. We’re all guilty of this whether it’s directed at ourselves or others. Yet, we proclaim we’d never judge as we sit atop our high horses slamming our imaginary gavels and rolling our eyes skyward channeling our inner-Judge Judys.
Years ago, I stood with my two little girls in a Target dressing room as I eavesdropped on a mom at the end of her rope in full-on momzilla mode. Why wasn’t she doing the mom-hiss through clenched teeth style of whisper yelling that I’ve resorted to before in public? Because she had zero fucks left to give.
I looked at my sweet angels and judged away, smugly patting myself on the back for being so calm and collected. Fast forward a few years and my daughters are older and unapologetically strong-willed, so I completely understand what this mom was dealing with. She was on a one-way journey down — I’ve-Had-Enough-Of-This-Bullshit-Avenue — a road I’m familiar with these days.
Maybe after the hellish nightmare that is taking kids back to school shopping ended, this mom collected herself, apologized to her kids, and bought them ice cream on the ride home? Who knows? Maybe she didn’t because she was just so completely and utterly done. We’ve all been there and chances are we’ll be there again someday because motherhood is a long bumpy road.
Understanding that this mom could have had a several things happen that day or leading up to that moment was where my compassion should have come in. She wasn’t a bad mom for having a bad moment because each day as a parent comes with a new set of challenges. But at that moment I thought she sounded awful and I judged her unfairly.
It’s human to judge but it’s what we do with that judgment that makes all the difference. Do we use it as conversational fodder to shit talk about moms who parent differently than us or do we use it to hold ourselves accountable? Do we take that judgment to the comments section to inflict shame because what kind of mom lets her kids watch YouTube at the dinner table? Newsflash: there’s no right way to parent. You do things differently and it works for your family. Here’s a thumbs-up, in fact, here’s two. But the moment you try to shame another parent for their choices then I have another hand gesture for you.
So I’m sorry to all the moms I’ve judged before. You deserve grace and consideration (two things moms rarely get) for the endless obstacles that surprise all of us daily. Next time that negative inner voice tries to speak up, I’ll use selective hearing and remind myself to come from a place of understanding because some days the struggles we face are more manageable than other days. Since becoming a mom I’ve learned that we’re all just winging it, trying to be the best versions of ourselves, and instead of trying to bring each other down, we should realize that we’ll fly higher and farther together.
Jewel Nunez is the humorist behind One Funny Mummy where she writes about the good, the bad, and the insanity of mom life. She lives on The Central Coast in California with her husband and two young daughters. Jewel released her first book, What It Means To Be a Mom, in 2021 and is currently working on a collection of essays about the lessons learned in the first year of motherhood. Find her at onefunnymummy.com and on social media @onefunnymummy