It's sad to say that judgment and motherhood seem to go hand-in-hand. I didn't realize how bad the endless criticism would be until I had a son of my own. Even good friends I've had since always starting commenting on my pregnancy or how I chose to give birth or how "protective" I was being. I mean, what a bummer. Maybe I made it kind of easy, because I'm a mess and don't hide my faults or mistakes, but there are so many reasons why you shouldn't judge a hot mess mom; reasons that reminds us all (myself included) feeling shamed isn't OK, no matter how wonderfully I have managed to screw up my schedule or spill all over myself (and my kid) or just, you know, fail.
For the most part, I've learned how to let the unnecessary and unsolicited commentary regarding my parenting or parenting "style" go, because there's nothing I can do about someone else's point of view. However, I'm also a human being and I like feeling like I'm part of a community and, you know, I wouldn't mind people liking me or at least telling me they don't think my entire life and/or my role as parent is a complete disaster. In the end, we all want to feel like we're understood and validated and cared for. As a new mom who's a self-proclaimed hot mess, trying desperately to figure this mom-thing out and "screwing up" rather regularly, I would argue that feeling some sense of solidarity from and with my fellow moms is more important than ever before.
Sometimes that solidarity is easy to come by. Other times? Well, not so much. Either way, being a hot mess mom is hard enough without people judging you for it. So, with that in mind, here are a few reasons why you shouldn't be judging that mom with wearing the stained shirt, week-old yoga pants and picking peanut butter out of her hair. After all, and in the end, we're all just doing our best.
She's Doing Her Best, Just Like You Are
She might wear her faults on her sleeve or lack the ability (or time or energy) to hide her struggles, but she's doing her best just like everyone else. There isn't a parent in the world who just effortlessly gets through every day without feeling anxious or frustrated or tired or all of the above. Nope. Parenting is work and it's difficult and it's taxing and we're all just doing what we can to provide what we can.
If you see a hot mess mom having a very obvious "bad day," remember that it's not indicitive of her abilities; it's indicitive of how hard motherhood can be and usually is.
Chances Are, She's Probably Not Judging You
I'm not in a position to speak for anyone else, but I feel pretty comfortable assuming that most hot mess moms aren't judging other mothers. I mean, I'm a hot mess of a mom and I just don't have the time or energy to judge other mothers. Honestly, I'm too busy trying to make it through my own disaster of a day and too focused keeping my own head above water.
So if we're all about this "do unto others as you'd like others to do unto you" thing, I'd say it's probably best not to judge someone who isn't judging you. You know, the golden rule and all that fun stuff.
Instead Of Your Judgment, She Might Need Your Help...
I'll never forget the time another mother showed me kindness instead of judgment. I was hustling to an appointment, late and a completely and total disaster of a human being. I had spilled coffee all over myself, my hair wasn't washed, half my makeup was on and I was trying to carry my son and his bag and my bag all while opening my car door and trying to put my son in his carseat. Once I had him seated, I was rushing to get him strapped and — it turns out — I was doing it wrong.
A mother was watching me and kindly came over to me, asked if she could help and simultaneously (and sweetly) told me I was buckling my son incorrectly. Not only did she teach me something, she showed me empathy and solidarity when I needed it most.
...And If You Needed Help, She Would Give It. No Questions Asked.
I've made it a point to return the favor to every mother I see (or person, honestly). I know what it's like to be shown a level of kindness when you're at the figurative end of your rope, and I know that showing that kindness to someone else can be just as impactful. As a hot mess mom who has been bailed out by friends and strangers alike, I'm more than happy and willing to help someone else.
Why Judge When You Can Just Share A Laugh, Because #Solidarity
The same mother who helped me and taught me something new (and very important) also laughed with me. She told me about a day she had that looked very, very similar to mine. She was chuckling so I started chuckling and before I knew it, I was less stressed than I was before that mom laughed at my predicament and told me she's been there before.
Why judge when you can just say, "Hey, I've been there too and it's the worst but at least it'll make for a hilarious story one day!" right? That mom changed my entire perspective by letting me know I wasn't alone and that it was OK (if not completely necessary) to laugh at the little things.
Whatever She's Doing Is Something You're Probably Done, Too
I mean, let's not act like we haven't been there before, right? We all have our good days and our bad days, some of us just hide it better than others. So when you see that mom dropping her kid's toys and spilling coffee all over herself, over an hour late to some PTA meeting and accidentally cussing in front of her child, remember that you've probably done the same or something very similar.
You Can Actually Learn A Lot From Her
Just like I can learn something from a seemingly Pinterest "perfect" mother who is so crafty and organized and never late to an engagement and schedules every moment of her day, someone can learn something from my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-yoga-pants approach to motherhood.
Honestly, we can all learn from one another and that shouldn't be a secret or some kind of parenting revelation. While it's become somewhat normal to categorize mothers (hot mess moms, included) we're all just a mix of different parenting styles and personalities. I think it's best to observe one another, try out what we think will work and ditch what we know won't, and support one another, regardless.
No One Is Perfect...
I mean, duh.
...And You Really Shouldn't Be Judging Anyone
Just because it might be "easier" to judge the hot mess mom who is obviously struggling, doesn't mean it's the thing you should be doing. Honestly, there's no reason we should be judging any kind of mother (or anyone at all). We're all doing our best and we all have the same goal in mind and we're all — while living separate lives and caring for very different children — in this thing called parenthood, together. Who knows when we will need one another and when we'll end up leaning on one another.
After all, it was a kind mom who helped me through a ridiculous hot mess of a day, and it could be a Type A, I-have-my-sh*t-together mom that I end up helping one day, as a result.
She's Under The Same Amount Of Pressure As You Are
Society isn't particular kind to mothers. From failing to offer mandatory paid family leave to holding moms to unrealistic standards to defining women by motherhood and motherhood alone to establishing an endless list of double standards that are nothing short of hurtful and confusing; being a mom isn't "easy" in any capacity.
That hot mess of a mom is under the same amount of pressure as you are. She's being inundated with the same "you're a good mom if you sacrifice everything" messaging as you are. She's being made to feel like anything less than perfection is a failure, just like you are. I'd say try walking a mile in a hot mess mom's shoes but, in reality, you're already wearing them.