Recently there has been a lot of hubbub about working vs. non-working moms. Already my mind is short circuiting.
I don’t know any moms who don’t work.
I don’t care if they have their own business, work a full time job outside the home, stay at home with children or travel with the local circus (oh wait a minute, that’s the stay at home with children option) - mom’s are working.
I have had the privilege (and it is a privilege) to choose what I do in terms of work. I have worked jobs that required a 50 hour week away from home. I have stayed at home with no income-producing work and I have worked part time from home, so I’ve looked at this from many perspectives.
Thankfully, I have rarely been on the receiving end of another woman’s judgment about my choices, but I have seen it happen and I have witnessed the hurt that comes with it. Rather than blame them for being hostile and judgmental (vicious circles and all) I began to think about where this all begins.
Where is the judgment coming from in the first place?
Let’s face it, we all have judged another person at some point. Our minds seem to move in that direction, especially when we are feeling a lack of self confidence, a bit of “mom guilt” or we haven’t been focusing on getting the self care we need.
When we judge another person, aren’t we really just questioning our own choices or looking for validation?
When we make someone else wrong for their choice, maybe it is an attempt to feel better about ourselves or a bit less free-floating “mom-guilt?” And here’s the really bad news; when we judge someone else, that negativity just turns right around and gets us in the end .. so it’s not helping anyone!
Let’s face it, when your boss is upset with you because you didn’t get the report in on time, it is pretty easy to wonder if the grass is greener for your next door neighbor who is home with the kids.
I know that when I found myself with 3 days of spit up in my hair, holding my infant who wouldn’t eat or sleep, I was dreaming with envy about conference calls and board rooms.
It is easy to slip into a habit of making ourselves feel better (or less guilty) by making something or someone else a little bit wrong. Of course we don’t want to be this person – but sometimes we may slip into it because we are human.
Yes moms – even YOU are allowed to be human!
Maybe it’s time for a little Rodney King: “Sisters: can we all just get along?”
Some of us want/need to work and others want/need to stay home. And there are a whole bunch of us who do something in the middle of these two choices. Go moms, go!
So what is the answer?
As always, more self awareness, acceptance and acknowledgment. Phew! I feel better already.
Coach Me Quick Tips for Letting Go of Judgment:
1. Notice your thoughts about other moms. If you have a negative thought, ask yourself where that is coming from in you. If I think that another mom “should” be more sensitive with her children, I have to be introspective and look at where I need to be more sensitive to myself and others.
2. Listen to your thoughts about yourself. If you hear yourself saying things like “I’m a bad mom,” or “my thighs are too fat,” see if you can replace those thoughts with something loving and self acknowledging.
3. Listen to other moms talk about themselves and help them to focus on what they do well. In other words, help your mom community focus on what is working and expand that.
4. Use feelings of guilt and judgment as a way to love and improve yourself. You will be amazed at your results.