(Quote by Mother Teresa)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been judged as a mother. Before parenthood, I can recall times when I was judged for being a woman, judged for my weight, judged for my intellect, and judged for physical features and personality traits. These previous judgments pale in comparison to the number of judgments I have faced as a mother.
Whew. Even as I sit here writing this blog post, I’m overwhelmed with feelings of judgment, guilt, incompetency, inadequacy, that I’m not giving my girls all of me, and that there are so many better ways to be a mother.
FEELINGS OF GUILT
I’m overwhelmed by the guilt that others (and myself) have put on me as a mother. I have been asked so many times how I work full-time and have three young kids. Some people have asked this question judging the fact that I would leave the girls in childcare all day. They have judged me for not spending more time with my girls on weekdays. Other people have asked this question genuinely, wanting to know what magic I possess that allows me to work both a full-time job and a part-time job.
My magic? I live in the real-world and want to have an identity that isn’t solely wrapped up in my kids.
My magic? I have a husband who is my partner and takes care of his children. (And, may I add, a husband who has NEVER been asked how he works a full-time job, freelances on the side, and owns a company he founded).
My magic? We have babysitters. We have a nanny. MW and SW attend a great preschool. BW has great options for before and after care.
My magic? I can’t and don’t want to be the girls’ sole caregiver.
FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY AND INCOMPETENCY
I’m overwhelmed by the comments and questions of inadequacy that others have made to me as a mother. Again, some people have asked genuine questions about how Chris and I could go from 0 to 3 kids overnight. Others have judged how unprepared we were. They have told me that I couldn’t possibly have been ready to become a mother in such a short amount of time. They have raised questions about how I could know everything I needed to know before 3 young girls became our daughters. Then there are the judgments I’ve received for being a white mother to three black girls.
You know what? I don’t know it all. But I don’t have to know it all. I have the support of family, friends, co-workers, church, and community. I have connected with other transracial families. And I am intentional about my girls not living solely in a white world.
As mothers, we should all be supporting one another. We should all be sharing our tips and tricks with each other. We don’t have to be in this alone. And we certainly shouldn’t be judging others’ parenting skills.
JUDGED AS A MOTHER
As I write all of this, I realize I have a confession to make. I have judged other mothers. I have judged them for keeping their kids up late. I have judged them for not reprimanding their kids when they are misbehaving in public. I have judged them for getting to spend the day with their kids at the pool and then complaining about how stressful their day was.
Then I became a mother. Now I am the one keeping the kids up late (when we’re on vacation). I am the one not reprimanding my kids when we’re out in public (because I had already reprimanded them for much more serious offenses that day). I am the one spending time at the pool with my kids and complaining how stressful taking the kids to the pool is (because 2-year-olds and 4-year-olds whine, complain, scream, fight and misbehave, even at the pool).
There are many lessons I want to teach our girls. I want them to learn to be confident and independent women. I want them to understand that love is love is love. My hope is that Chris and I teach them that love is the why.
And I want them to learn that empathy is key to loving others, understanding another person’s perspective, and not judging others. I pray that I exemplify empathy to them every day. In the end, I hope they learn that we do not judge other people, particularly other mothers.