Over the course of the last couple of weeks I have noticed a trend. Women, judging other women, especially mothers. I know that’s nothing new, but once I became a mom and realized how tough it really can be, it opened my eyes and gave me a whole other respect for women and what we go through every day. The toddler years with Johanna taught me that everything isn’t always what it seems.
One day when Johanna was in daycare she developed a cold. She was really developing a fever so they called me to come and get her. She looked a mess. She loved to play hard and when she played hard her hair would come out of whatever style I had it in and wind up looking truly unruly like she wasn’t loved at home. I thank God for one of the teachers at the daycare, Miss Kristina. She would put Johanna’s hair back together again at the end of the day before I picked her up. However this particular day Miss Kristina was not there. I walked in and Johanna had dried snot on her face, crazy toddler hair, and droopy sick eyes. My poor baby! I cleaned her up as best I could, but there really was nothing I could do to her hair until we made it home. So I grabbed her some juice and left. What happened next was my aha moment.
Johanna’s nose would not stop running! It seemed like the moment I had her blow and wiped it, it started right back up again. As I hopped on the train and looked for a seat that had enough room for me to park her stroller, I looked over to a nasty stare by a woman sitting in the seat across from us. She looked from Johanna to me and then shook her head. I looked at JoJo and there she was again with her waterfall snot and hair looking shoddy. I wanted to tell that woman wait! You have no idea. I’ve wiped her nose a million times and I promise you she didn’t look homeless before we left the house. She was well put together, but you know, she’s almost 2 and she loves to play hard, so her hair just doesn’t survive some days. For a moment I felt like a horrible mother. I felt so bad that Johanna was being judged because I couldn’t keep her looking put together and I was being judged too. Then I realized that yeah, no, that lady would not make me doubt myself as a mother. I actually do a pretty kick arse job and stuff happens. I’m a good mother, but I can’t control everything!
Later that night as I was laying with Johanna trying to get her to sleep, I thought about all of the times that I had made that exact same judgement on moms prior to having kids. Gosh I was harsh! I judged them on so much. My kids would never have snotty noses. What kind of mother lets that happen? I would never answer one of their why questions with “because I said so!” My daughter’s hair would always be super neat even without putting her hair in braids, and she would always be dressed to the nines. Wellll…as I type this Johanna is wearing play clothes and the pants have holes in the knees, and her braids look mighty nice today I must say. So much for that.
I say all of that because I want moms to know that I’m sorry that I ever judged any of them. I’m sorry if I ever shot any of them a dirty look because of my perception of what was going on with their kid. I write this to tell other women, moms or not, stop it. Stop judging other women when you know how hard it is to be a woman and a mother. Motherhood is tiring. It’s beautiful, but it definitely comes with its challenges. Trust me, we already put enough pressure on ourselves to be the perfect mother, we don’t need anyone else’s pressure added to it. We learn that we have to pick our battles and sometimes that means that our kids’ hair is going to look really crazy leaving from daycare. Sometimes when the day is really stressful it means that we are going to let our child’s kindle babysit them for an hour or two because we need the break. We are human, we do the best that we can, and if you see us slipping, perhaps you should offer a hug and some help instead of judging. And if we refuse your help, that’s ok too. The offer, if it comes sincerely from the heart, is much appreciated, but we’ve got this. Just don’t judge us without knowing the full story.
Mothers, I love you. I support you. If you are a mother that truly loves your children and give your family 100%, I adore you. It’s hard. It’s very rewarding, but it can be tough. We second guess ourselves and beat ourselves up. We are afraid of ruining our kids’ lives, not giving them enough opportunities, not noticing their talents early enough, or catching any learning issues before it’s too late. We want to make sure they have the perfect birthday party, the right influences, look well put together, and can compete in this world. We have so many balls in the air that I have no idea how they don’t all come crashing down on us. We’re pretty amazing human beings! Remember that the next time someone turns their nose up at you because your kid is screaming their head off in the middle of the mall. Let them judge as you handle your child the best way you see fit. They’ll get over it and you should too.