Imagine this scenario, if you will. You’re a work at home mom. You have 5- and 3-year-old boys who are 100% dirty, messy, stinky boys. Your 5-year-old, a kindergartner, is out of school for parent teacher conferences so you have extra time with him that day. And your husband is working late for an important business meeting, is unavailable by phone and won’t be home until after the kids’ normal bed time.
If you’re me, then that would be the perfect time for your children to misbehave. We had spent the afternoon finishing my kindergartner’s science project, and I told him and his brother to clean up the mess they had made with all the art supplies used for the project. Then I went downstairs. I guess I should have known they wouldn’t have cleaned up the mess, but little ol’ me trying to be optimistic for once, was hoping they would.
So when they didn’t clean up the mess which I didn’t discover until after I had gone back upstairs for bath time, I told them to clean it up. Granted, as soon as anyone in our house mentions “bath time” our boys instantly disrobe wherever they are then run upstairs naked. So there they were, upstairs, in their birthday suits pretending to clean up the mess. And I posted a funny quip on Facebook about how my boys were running around the house naked (no pictures accompanied the post). And then they ran around the downstairs of the house, naked, with their Easter baskets on their heads. I must have threatened them two or three times that if they didn’t get upstairs and clean their mess, they’d be going straight to bed without their dinner. And finally, I had to stand firm and not give away empty threats. So I sent them straight to bed, exactly as they were.
They both threw EPIC temper tantrums. And they were driving me crazy. Actually, it was kind of insane the way they were kicking and screaming behind their bedroom doors. So being silly ol’ me, and truthfully, hoping I could reach someone who would give me a word of encouragement, posted a Facebook Live video of them throwing EPIC temper tantrums behind their bedroom doors. Again, all you saw in the video was their bedroom doors and their mess – no naked images of them.
Most of my friends who watched the video were supportive. I got “Hang in there, Karen” messages and “I’ve been there, too. It’ll be okay.” But then there was that one person who saw it and then decided to judge me. Did they text me to see if I was okay? No. Did they private message me on Facebook to see if I needed help? No. Instead, they texted my friend and said they were “concerned for the health and welfare of my children.”
Are you kidding me? I had posted in my Facebook Live video, you know, the one where you hear huge tantrums being thrown, that they had been acting up all afternoon. In fact, I mentioned they were misbehaving twice in the video, and showed footage of the huge mess they had refused to clean up. And last I checked, 37lbs is perfectly healthy for a 5-year-old, and 34lbs is probably too much for a 3-year- old, so missing one meal – a meal they barely even touch, by the way — wasn’t going to hurt them any. Especially when 20% of Louisiana children go to bed hungry every night, my kids skipping a reheated frozen pizza meal wasn’t going to kill them. And for the record, they both put their PJs on themselves before they went to bed. Just like they do every other night.
But no, I was Facebook-judged and text-judged, by someone who was too cowardly to even admit who they were.
Moms, why do we do this to each other? Why do we judge, when we should really support? Why do we automatically assume the worst, when really we should be giving each other a break? Why do we think the worst of someone, when really we need to understand that they are just having a bad moment or day? And if we do have a genuine concern, why don’t we reach out in love and care, instead of talking behind each other’s backs?
I don’t know who judged me (my friend refused to tell me who had texted her) and I probably won’t ever find out. But I do know that this type of mom judging needs to end. We need to support each other, and give each other the benefit of the doubt rather than automatically think the worst of each other. At least, that’s what I wish had happened to me.