Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I am guilty of judging another mom
It happened not too long ago. I was invited to a local Mom's group to facilitate a mini workshop for a Mom's night out. As the guests were arriving, the room was filled with chatting, snacking and welcome hugs. In walked one of the most comfortable looking moms I may have ever seen. She was wearing her baby in a wrap, dressed casually and kind of "crunchy". She was pretty without trying. I watched her slink around the room smiling and talking to the other moms. She was so confident in her skin. She was very in tuned with her baby, and seemed to know how to soothe the smallest of whimpers.
She was the type of mom I often refer to as "Earth Mama". The kind of mom that makes the rest of us feel bad, because they do it so much better. She was the exact type of mom I wished I could have been to my babies. She was the exact kind of mom who made me feel intimidated and unsure of myself as a new mother. She had it all together and this vision took me right back to my hot mess as a new mom. My eyes stung with jealousy.
I remember thinking to myself in a very judgey sort of way...what is she doing coming to a night of coaching for moms? She is going to make all the other moms clam up. Who is going to want to confess their imperfections when there was one of her in the room. She looks like she could be the one running the group, I could surely learn a thing or two from her...
Judge Judge Judge
After the mingling, we gathered and sat in the circle of chairs. The women went around one by one talking about what had inspired them to come to the workshop. Some said the wine, others were excited to get away from the kids...but this mom who had it all completely shocked me.
With tears in her eyes this "Earth Mom" began to tell the story of her complicated and painful situation. The room was stunned and silent as we listened to her peel back the layers of what had become years of a stress filled and lonely life since having children.
I was embarrassed of my previous thoughts.
I thought I knew better then to judge another mom.
I am always the one who writes and talks about how we are all struggling in some way. I over emphasis the importance of being kind to each other, and I encourage women to get the conversations going- to be the first one to get real about the challenges of motherhood. Here I had judged this mom unfairly and incorrectly. If she were not a part of this workshop, I would have never started a heart -to- heart conversation with her because I thought I knew her type.
I felt so overridden with guilt that I couldn't go on with the workshop without coming clean to the group about what was going on with me. I confessed my judgey thoughts to the circle. A few other women in the group had the same perception of this mom and apologized for not offering her help and/or their friendship. They thought she had it all together and didn't need anything.
We all came away from this experience with a meaningful lesson. This was a powerful reminder that what we see on the outside isn't necessarily what is going on in the inside. It is not only important for us to speak our truths so others may hear and acknowledge us, but it is equally important for us to ask the tough questions of our friends and fellow moms, so we can support them.
Don't assume a mom is OK just because she looks like she is.
Don't smile and say your are doing great if you are not.
Don't compare yourself to your perception of another mom.
Take off the masks and get real.
It is only through honesty that healing and happiness will come.