My five-year-old went through a phase where getting him into his winter jacket was a full on metalhead thrasher meltdown.
Our mornings would start peachy-keen. Breakfast, teeth brushing, a few minutes of cartoons. In the warm weather we would all march out the door with smiles.
Ha! Kidding. Our mornings were a sh*t show like everyone else but cold weather took it to a whole new level by adding in jacket tantrums.
For the life of me I don’t understand why wearing a winter jacket was such a deal breaker but after weeks of yelling, and tears – from both of us – I had had enough.
It was time to bring out the Holy Grail of parenting: Natural consequences.
Instead of fighting with him I told him he didn’t have to wear it, even though it was minus 10 degrees and snowing. The smile on his face told me he thought he had won the war.
Off we went, me bundled up in layers, him attempting to keep maintain body heat with his cloak of stubbornness.
Out of the two of us I was sure I was warmest.
Turns out I didn’t need a jacket to stay warm that day because the laser beam judgement stares directed at me by two moms walking their own well-bundled Michelin Men to school had enough heat to singe lava.
The “that poor boy must be freezing” comment was said loud enough for me to hear. Thankfully, I had eight years of parenting under my belt by this moment in time and was confident enough in my abilities as a mom to not let her judgement get to me.
But that’s not always the case, is it? And those careless words or harsh stares of criticism can make or break another mom’s day.
We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another. But the next time you feel a moment of judgement coming on, why not do one of these things instead.
If you see a mom struggling with a wild, flailing, tantrumming toddler, instead of judging, offer help, especially if she also has other kids in tow. Even if she doesn’t accept, the offer itself will be appreciated.
Sometimes all we need to hear is, “Yep, been through this too” to help make it through the day.
If you have enough time to judge other mothers you have enough time to volunteer and help others.
Take a Deep Look Inside Yourself
Yes, in my earlier parenting years I had been known to judge a time or two. Thankfully, time and getting my butt kicked with life lessons took care of that. But whenever I did move into Judgey McJudgerson mode, it often meant I needed to take a good look at myself because that judgement was coming from some insecurity on my part, and for a moment in time allowed me to feel superior to another parent.
Basically, putting down someone else’s choices validated mine.
The rest of the time it just meant I was being an a**hole.
Last But Not Least Remember There Are Many Ways to Raise a Child
You probably have more in common with this mom than you realize. We all want what’s best for our kids but the road to raising children is filled with many different forks and just because it’s a fork that wouldn’t work for you and your family doesn’t mean that makes it so for everyone.
P.S. My son walked the entire way to school without his jacket that day but from that point forward we never fought about wearing it again.
Getting him to brush his teeth is a whole other story.