Confession: sometimes I like to eavesdrop on other people’s Facebook fights. It’s a little petty and voyeuristic, like slowing down so you can get a good look at the wreck on the side of the road. I never comment because the whole world can see everything you post on the internet and I have a reputation to uphold. It’s just that it’s kind of fun to grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the sparks fly. There are a few bloggers who are almost always good for a show.
After a while you can predict what’s going to happen. Granola-crunchy mom will harp on someone’s picture of their toddler in a front facing car seat, then get offended if someone suggests that giving birth to her breech twins at home after three c-sections may not be a good idea. Mention you got a good deal on yogurt, and whole-foods mom will feel it her duty to warn you about the dangers of feeding your children all those artificial sweeteners. Homestead mom will tell you how easy it is to make yogurt in your slow cooker, and worst-case-scenario mom will have a story about how her mom’s best friend’s aunt’s poodle died after eating some fizzy yogurt that exploded in her fridge. Whether you’re breast feeding or formula feeding, working at home or building a career, carpooling, commuting, or going to clown college, someone is bound to have an opinion about what you’re doing and feel it their duty to let you know how you’re getting it all wrong.
Why are we all so hard on each other? I’m convinced it comes from fear. No matter how successful we are in other areas of life, when it comes to our kids deep down most of us are secretly convinced we’re screwing it all up somehow.
Fear makes us live as if we’re performing for a panel of judges critiquing every move we make. Give your kids frozen pizza for dinner last night? Lose a point. Minus two for buying a Halloween costume instead of whipping something up out of scrap fabric and duct tape. Take a three-tenths deduction for every page you skipped in the bedtime story. We wind up pointing out the flaws in other people’s performances hoping to distract the judges from our own. Sure, you looked at the calendar wrong and sent your child to school in pajamas on crazy-hat day. But that mom over there? She left her reusable grocery bags in the car. Deduction!
It’s time we realized that there are no scorecards and no panel of judges. We aren’t performing for others, save our audience of One. God doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn’t want us to live in fear. He’s told us what he requires: to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). He is most pleased by our faithful reliance on him. The truth is, none of us are doing it all right. We’re just all doing it the best we can, and there’s grace enough to go around.
It’s time to knock it off. Here’s the truth: there are no perfect moms. Let’s give one another grace and stop the mommy wars once and for all. Let’s learn to embrace differences instead of criticizing them, stop comparing our insides to other people’s outsides, and resist the temptation to make ourselves look better by tearing other moms down.
I’m joining with Jill Savage and Hearts at Home by signing the Knock It Off Pledge. Will you join us? We don’t need more competition—just authenticity and honest community. Let’s work together to create an atmosphere where moms aren’t criticized—simply encouraged to be the best moms they can be. Find more moms who are joining the campaign and take a minute to sign the pledge. It’s time to knock it off.
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