My Mom recently sent me a link for a photo project that was done by a group called Connecticut Working Moms. The intent is to encourage women to stop judging one another and end the ‘Mommy Wars’.
They describe the Mommy Wars as the negative comparisons and judgements on things such as post-baby bodies, feeding methods, choice of diapering, maternity leave, the list could go on and on really.
This article was sent to me about a month ago and I have been sitting on it, stewing. Probably overthinking, but at least it got me thinking.
I applaud the effort. A great step in calling the woman population out, saying “ lets all just love one another.”. The Utopian world in my head looks a lot like that. Everyone having true compassion and empathy for one another, being fully accepting of all no matter how different it is from themselves.
But here’s the thing that I think gets missed. Understand this is all just from my own experience.
I feel like in order to truly have the change, people need to be honest that they do it. That even the moms who held up the amazing signs in this photo project have at some point, and likely still do (even if its silently) judge other mom’s choices.
See I look at it like an AA group. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Before I became a mom I had a lot of judgments towards parents around me. I judged the choices my sisters made, the lady down the street, the lady in the mall. Because obviously when I was a mom it would be different. Well, then I became a mom, and I did do a lot of things different in comparison from the moms I had judged.
Luckily along with becoming a mother, a new pathway of empathy opened up for other moms that wasn’t really ever there before. But it unfortunately didn’t shut down the judgment pathway that was created many years before. Since reading this article and other blogs, board forums, I started wondering why.
When I started this blog, while going through PPD after having Elise, I was blown away at how many messages I received from women that had gone through the same thing. These are women I had known, or thought I did. And I think that is where things start to go a little haywire.
See we rarely know someone’s whole truth. What makes them tick, what breaks them down, what lifts them, we are not an open species with each other. We hide. It’s like the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. Whoever hides the best, looks the best. And we all know we wanna look good.
Since exposing myself to the world wide web and stating I indeed was very flawed it helped dissolve some of the judgment of other people. Sadly not all of it. The thing is though I am more aware. I can catch myself in the moment, then I start a little mental conversation “Kelly, do you know where this person is coming from? Do you know that that Mom might have spent her entire night up with a teething baby and now has about 5% of her patience in working gear? Do you know that she is a single Mom doing what works best for her family?”
The more I have dived into questioning what others lives are really like, I realized I don’t know much. And even though I have more understanding of others now than ever before, I still get caught in the mudslide of judgment. Because I still have flaws, I still have insecurities that loom looking for others who might be weaker at something than I am to boost my self-esteem.
Maybe a photo-project that would be more impactful would be one with signs saying “I judged her because she fed her child sugar cereal” and the other holding a sign saying “I accept her even though she judges me because she has an insecurity that other people think she doesn’t feed her children well”.
I can join the chorus of Kumbaya singing “Love one another”, but I don’t think we can all truly drop judgment until we can admit we do it, even while we try not to. I think it's about taking the opportunity to stop and self reflect when we find ourselves in judgement, and work towards self growth. All the while trusting that with growth true compassion and empathy for others will organically grow with you.