Isn't it so easy to judge other mums? Doesn't it sometimes seem so natural to look at how they do it, and compare. To make some sort of estimation of their parenting in a moment of observation. But don't we all hate being on the receiving end of this?
I observed a scene recently; a mum seemed rather annoyed that her child had been hurt by another child. She then fairly loudly stated her disapproval. I looked over to see the mum of the apparent offender, sat breastfeeding a baby, another child no more than 1 in a high chair and her daughter running around.
I'm sure she heard the comment made and I wondered how she felt. She'd managed to get out with three young children in tow, an achievement in itself. Managed to keep them all calm and was apparently about to be informed of the incident. Was this helpful?
Even if she did see it, and it was all the fault of her daughter, she couldn't have got to them at that moment with a baby attached to her and another one needing her assistance in eating. I wondered, where's the grace?
Again I overheard mums saying they had seen a child be slightly rough with one of theirs, they then commented that the mum was "just sat at the table and not paying any attention to her child". Was this the case, or perhaps she had just sat down for a 5 minute breather before returning to playing with her child. Don't we all do this occasionally? Again I wondered, where's the grace?
I'll be honest, I'm as guilty as the next person at this. My son has a dummy. We try and keep it for sleep time or if he's ill. But there have been times, when for some extenuating circumstance only known to me, he might have it in his buggy. Perhaps he hurt himself, perhaps he hasn't had his nap because I kept him out all day.
Yet there are times when I have seen a three-year old in a buggy, or walking around with a dummy in their mouth and my instant thought, I'm ashamed to say, is they don't need that. It wouldn't take much effort on behalf of their parents to get rid of it, surely they're too old.
Being a mum is hard. We are juggling countless things, making snap decisions, and trying to maintain balance amongst chaos. Sometimes we get it right, and isn't that great. Sometimes, we get it wrong. Some days, we look back and think we could have done things so differently. But one thing we could really do without, is judgement. One thing we really need, is grace.
When I look at you, and make an almost unconscious judgement, I don't know what your day has been like. I don't know how your child has behaved, I have absolutely no right, or no knowledge on which to make an assumption on your parenting. So I won't.
Today I'm making a decision, a decision to think the best. A decision to not judge. We might do things differently. We may not even agree on the best techniques, or ideals in parenting. But one thing we all need is grace. One thing we all want, is acceptance. One thing we never need, is judgement.
And on those occasions that I find myself judging almost without thinking, I'll remind myself, to think the best, because I just don't know what your day has been like. I don't know what you're going through.
So I won't judge you, and please don't judge me.
What things have you made snap judgements on before?
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