“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It sounds so easy, but it often feels like the further along I find myself in motherhood, I feel less encouraged and more judged by other moms. I am not talking about my friends, of course. My friends and I are great at lifting each other up, encouraging one another, and realizing that not everyone makes the same choices in parenting…or in life. I am talking about other moms at the park, or the grocery store, sometimes in our own families, and of course, on social media.
It seems that “mom-shaming” is a thing. But why? Where does this come from? Why do people feel the need to judge others and prove that there was is the only “right way”? I believe it is rooted in insecurity. When someone feels they are inadequate, or not meeting a “standard” they try to take the focus off their insecurities by bringing others down with them. They feel the need to prove that their way is the “right” way and that others are “wrong”. This simply isn’t the case. There is no one way or right way to parent. If your principles are rooted in Christ and you ask Him for guidance as you make decisions for your family, you can’t be wrong.
Celebrate Differences, Encourage One Another
“Instead of feeling supported and encouraged by other mothers, we often feel judged, criticized, and looked down upon for our choices. Instead of realizing that variety is the spice of life and differences make the world go round, we often think others should do exactly what we do. Giving advice, sharing experiences, and comparing results is actually a joy and privilege we mothers have! However, when it turns to negative criticism and judgment we often alienate – or feel alienated – and that makes motherhood so much harder.”
-Rachel Norman, “A Mother Far From Home” Blog
You Are The Expert On Your Life
Rachel hits the nail on the head. What a waste it is to focus on what other people are doing differently than you are, or what appears to be “wrong” to you. Doing something differently certainly doesn’t mean it is negative, for differences is what adds variety to our lives. Instead let’s focus on the fact that we are all different moms, with different spouses, different kids, and different upbringings trying to make the BEST choices for OUR families. And that is the best thing we can do. We can all bring our own experiences together to help another mom through their own hardships, journey, joys, low points, and triumphs.
The truth of the matter is that nobody knows your unique situation. Only you are the expert mom on your family. And you and only you were chosen by God to mother your kids. Nobody else. So, drown out the noise, the haters, and the critics. Instead of judging others and acting like a victim of others’ judgment change the tide. Lift others up, encourage one another, let your joy be a contagious blessing to others. You will feel lighter, more confident, and more peaceful.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”