“Two times today I was metaphorically slapped on my face and told ‘What a terrible mom you are,’ once by a total stranger, and once by someone close. Seeing tears in my eyes, my 5 year old hugged me, and we cried together.”
That’s what a friend told me today. It left me thinking. This is not just one instance when I’ve heard this from a mom, it is probably the n-th time.
She also told me how sentimentally stupid she felt to not control her tears before her baby, and how unhealthy it was to have broken down in front of the kid. She explained to the kid that sometimes moms are sad, and that was one moment when his mom was sad.
What kept me thinking was that, often, we are judged instantly, and a judgement is passed that makes the person feel how incompetent she is as a mother. She may not even fight back, considering that she is tired doing it over the years and has finally found it futile to give it back, or probably, she is really hurt about it. Especially when the judgement comes from someone close. For a lot of moms I’ve met, it eats into their confidence and drags them further into a slump. For a lot of them, they may silently cry when the kid goes to sleep. For a lot of them, it moves them one step closer to getting depressed. For a lot of them, they may go into a rage right in front of the kid. Whatever their reaction is, the end result is bad.
Being a mom myself, I feel these hard situations are rampant, and every mom has been made to feel terrible at least once for being the ‘kind of mom’ she is. Getting to hear one positive remark of being a ‘good’ mom is in itself almost rare. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not asking everyone around to shower great words for a mom because of what she does for a kid. A mom very well knows her duties, and all she does for her kid is unconditional. It is purely out of her love for the kid that she keeps up all night when the baby is unwell. It is purely unconditional love when she can hold up her own calls to nature when the baby is crying, and it is purely her motherly love when she can hug and console a crying kid the way nobody can do it. Sometimes, not even the father. Yes, I said that.
Since we moms don’t expect to be tagged ‘good’ by someone, we also don’t expect to be tagged ‘bad’ by anyone. Making a judgement is easy, raising a kid is not. There are ups and downs that all moms go through, but we are still trying to give our best shot to the kid.
What we need to tell our judgement gurus is to hold the judgement before they let it slip across their lips, and look for a better moment to explain things to a mom if situations are really not happy. It is easy to say ‘hey, you are incompetent as a mom,’ but it is difficult to step into the same mom’s shoes for a mere 24 hours.
It is not just another mommy rant. It is a genuine feeling.
(Note that Im not writing this for extreme cases when a child is being hit or abused. Im speaking for balanced women who had been/are in a decent career, and who know what comes out of their mouths when they speak. Im also considering single dads in the same boat.)