Who judges people? Raise your hand! I’m raising my hand right now too. We all do it in some form or fashion. When we see someone wearing something we deem inappropriate, we judge. Might be all they had to wear-we don’t know their circumstances but we judge anyway. When we see someone with an expensive item and think “Well, they don’t make enough for that.” or “Didn’t they just apply for assistance?” and we make the assumption that they’re spending poorly and that’s why they’re in a financial rut. Not knowing someone blessed them with something that not only could they not afford, but wouldn’t personally buy for themselves. And lastly, the mom judge. When another mom sees another mom doing something or making a decision they disagree with we judge her. We judge how she dresses her kids, what she feeds her kids, how she disciplines her kids….the list is endless.
I’m guilty of it. I have encountered and have people in my life who are single parents. They’ve, at times, had to make the decision to let their child go live with the father. And I’ll be honest I did not get that!!! I’m like I just couldn’t do that. I don’t understand any mother that would allow their child to go live with their father unless they had fallen on hard times or was found unfit.
When I got divorced I can’t tell you the thousands (ok maybe hundreds-I’m being dramatic lol) of times I’ve said that my kids wouldn’t go live with their father unless they asked to. And listen-I was convinced neither of them ever would. Fast foward to March of this year and that’s just what happened. My then 13 year old walks up to me and says “Mommy, I want to go to highschool at daddy’s.” Talk about a hard blow! I can’t explain all the feelings. There were just too many in that moment.
And now she’s gone. I cried weeks before she left and weeks after she left. I still cry and struggle with it. Sometimes daily other days I’m ok and can see that she’s doing well. But whenever I’m out with my other two and people say “Oh two kids. Y’all gonna have a third?” And I respond that we actually have three and she lives with her dad. I get the eyes. You know the eyes. The judgy ones. The ones that are like oh you must be a bad mom. Or you must’ve done something wrong. Dads don’t get that. When you meet a man and he says he has kids and they live with the mom most dads get oh ok that’s great. Moms we don’t really get that type of response and it’s sad.
I have a friend that I reach out to when I’m struggling with this. Both of her kids live with their dad. We had the best conversation the other day because this is hard! And some days the guilt of it is consuming. We wonder what we’ve done wrong. We go back and forth in our minds on ensuring their happiness but also wanting them with us. It’s hard to have your child live somewhere else and you can’t play the once active role you played in their life. The day to day decisions are being made by someone else. So when we tell someone that our kids live else where the last thing we want to feel is judge. We are judging ourselves enough.
The next time we find ourselves in a situation where we’re (in our mind-hopefully not aloud) questioning another mom, questioning her thoughts, her decisions, her actions, her reasoning we should stop and turn that around on ourselves and examine how it makes us feel. We aren’t that mom. We didn’t birth that child. We don’t know half the things about that child that she does. We don’t have the intuition that she does about her children. We don’t love her child more than she does. Trust that the decisions she’s making, although imperfect, are in the best interest of her child. Understand that some of those decisions she’s doubting and praying that they’re the right ones.
Making those hard decisions doesn’t make her a bad mom but a good one because she’s putting the well being and happiness of the child over her own. Judge less and encourage more. Judge less and love more. There’s no manual for this parenting thing and really we’re all just winging it because each child is different. So let’s just celebrate people who are deciding to choose their kids emotional health over what makes them comfortable or look good. I don’t want to look like a good parent. I want to actually be one!