Virtual Voices

Moms judging moms

Family

Are you a mother with a bratty kid? Do you feed him junk food? Is he overweight?

If so, according to a Today Moms survey, you already have three strikes against you in the perennial battle of mom vs. mom.

Being smack dab in the middle of an information-saturated age complete with any number of parenting apps and parenting blogs, moms are harder on themselves and on each other than ever before. With all this at our fingertips, we simply have no more excuses for messing up.

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Moms feel guilty for judging each other but can't seem to stop. Have carpet without vacuum tracks on it? You might get pigeonholed for being a slob. Have a toilet less than pristinely clean? Don't expect repeat visits from your "friends."

The irony of the "judging" issue is that it presupposes there are no correct answers, that when it comes to parenting, there are no rights and wrongs or blacks and whites. We circle around in the blogosphere ad infinitum over parenting issues because it's seen as small-minded, politically incorrect, or just plain mean to suggest there are some parenting absolutes. Of course we judge each other when it's just about what he said or she said, that I choose to co-sleep with my baby and you choose not to breastfeed yours. The idea that one method is "righter" than another is as antiquated as using brandy to soothe a baby's swollen gums. And in areas of indifference like these, for those who have nothing better to do, by all means circle away.

But something is vastly amiss in our culture when we act as though all roads lead to the same place (sweet, well-adjusted children), when our parenting decisions are hand picked from a buffet of choices according to our individual preferences and personality styles.

In all this talk of "judging" (by the way, isn't dissing each other for being "judging" in itself a judgment?!), as Christians we should acknowledge that Pharisaical judgmentalism and hedonistic relativism are not our only two options; some non-negotiable answers do exist. Adhering to such absolutes may not keep us safe in the waters of indifference (should we breastfeed in public or not, for example), but they do give us the right to unapologetically (but always respectfully) claim that some parenting decisions are in fact clear-cut and black-and-white.

And, because the standard isn't man-made, we can do so with confidence even if it makes us unpopular with the other mommies at the park or gives us nothing to kvetch about in the blogosphere.

Amy Henry
Amy Henry

Amy is a married mother of six and a WORLD correspondent from Kansas. Follow her other "scribbles" at Whole Mama or by reading her book Humpty Dumpty Just Needed a Nap: What Children’s Stories Teach Us About Life, Love, and Mothering. Follow Amy on Twitter @wholemama.

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