I recently saw a picture on facebook that said, “If you haven’t left a store carrying your screaming kid surfboard style your not really parenting?” I laughed and nodded to myself reminiscing all the times I have done this in eight years of motherhood. The picture itself was shared thousands of times over again. I’m hoping you can relate to this post as much as I can.
I reminded of five years ago, I was nine months pregnant with Jay (my middle), prying my screaming (then) three year old daughter Sophia’s hands off a flag pole because it was time to leave the park. After came the walk of shame carrying her surfboard style six D.C. blocks to our car where I had to physically sit on her to get her strapped in. I sat on the curb and sobbed as people walked by staring at me. I remember just a couple months ago doing my best to remain calm at Whole Foods when my five year old threw a screaming fit as we checked out. He chose that moment (of course) to scream how horrible of a mom I was and all the bad words he had ever heard in his life. I did my best to keep my cool and hold back the tears as I carried him surfboard style to the car. Again everyone staring.
Surfboard carrying in my house happens more that I would like to admit. But besides the embarrasement and exhaustion of children that seem to misbehave at the worst moments, its the looks of disgust, judgement or better yet the words that some people have actually said to me that pierce my heart and make me feel the worst.
“He needs a spanking.” “Well if that was MY kid…” Or better yet actually addressing my child and telling them what’s wrong with them… those are fun people.
Moms – the judging Moms has to stop. Actually not just moms – to everyone – the judging HAS to stop.
There are days I’m rocking this mothering thing, and days I suck. Probably more of the latter as I feel like I’m struggling some days in this season of life…but I am doing my best.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever judged another mom? You can’t see but my hand is so high in there air! I pride myself on doing my best to be a non-judgemental person but truth is, yes I too judge. I judged the other day when I listened to two new moms at Chic-fil-a talk about transitioning their 15 month girls out of their room and into thier own cribs. “Whaaaatttt? Omgosh how can they STILL be sleeping with their kids!? They must be hover moms.” I caught the thought and immediately turned around introduced myself and decided to offer loving words of encouragement instead of judgement. Snap out of it Rachael.
I reminded myself I don’t know their story.
We all have a story. Maybe they suffer from abandonment issues, mabye its postpartum anxiety or depression like I had. Maybe its the fear of everything that your first kid instills in you that makes you constantly think they are either going to die or your going to screw them up. Maybe that mom carrying that screaming child surfboard style is doing everything she can to hold back the tears of a really tough day, month, or season.
I find that often what works best for me doesn’t always work best for others or vice versa. Thats okay! Repeat THATS OKAY. Instead of judging another mom for giving in and giving the cookie, or the thinking “Welllll if THAT was my child….!” try sending that mom all the loving energy you can. Better yet, go to her and hug her. Pat her on the back and tell her she’s doing an amazing job even if her kid is screaming how much he hates her or acting like a brat. Grab the bag of groceries, carry them to the car while she does surfboard style parenting. Go to her with out a judgmental heart.
Offer words of encouragement not judgement. I know its hard, but I also know how much I would love for someone to do this for me in my current season that seems oh so tough.
Our story is often a hidden book covered up by the highlight reel of social media. Those pretty filter cropped pictures don’t show the 20 outtakes before the popsicle, where a very exhausted mom gave in out of defeat. Take a minute to acknowledge and honor their story. Most often the judgements we throw at others are the same ones who have been thrown at us.
It takes a village and there is no handbook and if you see me going surfboard style out the store I will gladly take all the hugs…and wine.