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Let Me Give You Some Advice...

March 13, 2010
21 Comments

So, having discussed the utter trickiness of delivering parenting advice and how it is rarely, if ever, appreciated by anyone, I’ll just go ahead and give you some. But I’m pretty much certain about this one. Here it is.

Try really, really hard not to judge other mothers. (I was going to say parents, but I suspect that ninety percent of you reading this are mothers, and truthfully, that mothers do seventy-six percent or so of the judging.)

Likewise, never, but never, compare yourself to other moms, favorably or otherwise. Otherwise will only depress you, and favorably will come back to bite you. That snippet of their life you see doesn’t tell their story. The mom whose child is wildly inappropriately dressed for the weather? You don’t know how long she attempted to force him into the appropriate coat/hat/swim suit/snow suit before she decided that this just wasn’t the hill she wanted to die on. The mom yelling at her kid in the grocery store and then attempting to subdue him with gummy bears – well, that was probably me. The beautifully groomed, toned and multi-nanny-ed movie star who goes on record as saying, “Wow, parenting isn’t as hard as I thought it would be! And it was so easy to get my figure back, really, you just have to eat right and exercise, and in the meantime, I’ve started up my own line of organic baby clothes!” Her, I want to judge just a little bit. But I probably shouldn’t.

The mother who works outside of the home, the mother who doesn’t work outside of the home, the mother who hasn’t spent an evening away from her children in three years, the mother who spends every second weekend in Vegas, the mother who feeds her child solely organic vegan fare, the mother whose kids subsist mostly on mac and cheese and will literally gag on and spit out anything green (oh, wait, me again). Each has a story as legitimate and compelling and fully rounded as ours, and I’m guessing their child is as likely to turn out as well-adjusted as ours, whether we see them in their finest moments or their sorriest. I’m fairly sure the judging we all – most? – at least I do, as much as I try not to, gets us nowhere at all. Certainly it doesn’t get us anywhere good.

My one other piece of seriously valuable parenting advice that I will stand behind, regardless of whom it may offend, is that the very best baby wipes come from Costco.

Peryl Manning is a freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom. She juggles her boys, her writing and her volunteer work with varying degrees of success, and is convinced of only one certainty: Parenting is really, really challenging. Her blog, Parenting ad Absurdum, is featured in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

21 Comments

Amen, Sister!! Preach it.

AMEN! Very well written and so true. I am a homeschooling mom to four kids and often I am looked at as judging moms who work and send their kids to school. I don't. In fact, one the of the best moms I know works full time. Oh wait..did I just compare one mom to many..LOL. Point being..I agree wholeheartedly and someone needed to say it...

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Peryl-

Great read! We have all been on one side or the other and reaching a point of contentment and understanding is the best advice we Moms can get. Always a pleasure reading your work - Beth

Mac & cheese are a hit in our house, as long as my 6 yr old doesn't look too closely and find some speck from the cheese sauce. If he does, then it's disgusting. Sigh...the last time my boys ate something green? probably when the grass was green and one of them were tackled face first into it.

Oh, and the comment about baby wipes at Costco...totally random. :)

Loved this post! Even thoug we all (ok, well "most" of us) do this and feel guilty, or envious, or smug, it's nice to have a reality check. While I know that I'm not the only mom that does this, I feel better knowing that I'm not alone - and that I'm doing the best that I can, and I am a good mom too.

I dont judge any mom. I might think something about the way they ae, but then I tell my self that I dont know what its like to be them or walk in their shoes. I hate being judged, so I wouldnt want to do it to someone else. My MIL judges everything I do and tells me its wrong because she didnt do it that way. I have two kids, a girl, 9 1/2 and a boy, 3. They eat healthy. I barely give them sweet snacks...

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AMEN girl!!! We all do the best we can and what we can to help them get futher than we did.

Well said... it brings relief and assurance to new mothers like me who is very anxious if they're doing a great job.

Thank you! It is tough not to judge ourselves not to mention others. Thanks for a thought-provoking well written post. (I am a happily married mom of five children.)

well i got some good information from what you have wrote. Not only parents but judging anyone is not advisable. You probably shouldn't judge anyone.

Im a mom of 7 and i think im a good mom and each day i try to be a better mom then i was yesterday

Was just turned on to this site by a friend on Facebook. I have to say, with the first article I am hooked. Love it!
And the Costco wipes....you are so right!!

True, true! Love it! You have such a way with words!

oh geez - now I feel bad for judging that woman yesterday who let her kids scream all over the waiting room and did nothing...I understand she was trying to pretend they were somebody else's!! ha!
Swati

You are so right about the importance of not comparing ourselves to other mothers. Sadly, I was one of those moms who judged after I had my son. He was the perfect angel, and I assumed that those parents whose children weren't perfect angels were doing something grossly wrong. Then my daughter came along. Let's just say she's NOT the perfect angel. And let's just say, the judging on my end ceased.

Great insight! Thanks for sharing.
Heather

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