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The Mom-Judging Olympics

Ew, her house is SO dirty! She must be a terrible mom!

Moms judging other moms is nothing new. We all do it. If you say you don’t, well, I just don’t believe you. I try not to but, inevitably, there is the mom who lets her toddler stand up in the shopping cart at the grocery store and I’m cringing as the kid comes THIS close to falling out… I walk away shaking my head in disbelief… But there it is – I’m judging this mom.

A new survey conducted by TODAY and Parenting.com finds that nearly 90 percent of us judge moms.

Check this out. According to the 26,000 moms questioned, one in 5 will judge you for not breastfeeding. But wait, there’s more! If you breastfeed for what some consider “too long” you’ll get judged by 43 percent of mothers.  Can’t win, can you?

Have a bratty kid? A whopping 66 percent of moms will be clucking their tongues. Feed your kid junk food? 34 percent of moms are judging you. Is your kid overweight? 37 percent. 32 percent of moms will be shaking their heads behind your back if you let your kid watch too much TV.

Lawna Hurl, from Canada, tells TODAY she ended up isolating herself because the judgment was just too much. “I didn’t like being around other moms ‘cause I often felt inferior,” she explained. “It saddens me that among moms there is so much judgment no matter what you do it seems someone is judging.”

It got so bad Hurl went back to work early to find people to socialize with. Still, she can’t escape judgment there. One if five moms say “working too much” is bad.

So why do we all judge each other so harshly when we know how bad it sucks to be judged?

Parenting expert Wendy Mogel, tells Rebecca Dube from TODAY that it’s a classic case of “displacement”.

The world is a scary place, and we can’t control things like the economy free-falling. But we can control our choices as a parent so we attach way too much significance to them.

“Mothers are judging themselves and judging others to make themselves feel a little better,” Mogel said. “We’re all trying to look good, and we want our kids to look good and impress others.”

Even women who are aware they’re judgmental can’t stop. Lacey Davis says she has a checklist she carries in her head when she enters another mom’s home. Dirty dishes, dirty floors, she ticks them off. “I HATE this about myself because I know if I am doing it, then so is everyone else that comes to MY house!”

I admit. I play the same game but in reverse. When visitors stop by I shove stuff in closets, under beds, make sure the toilet doesn’t have poop marks. You know the drill. In fact, I was at a friend’s house last night and asked to use the bathroom. She panicked and made me let her check the bathroom first to make sure nothing gross was in view. I mean, if I had seen poopy underwear or something would I have judged her? Or would I have been understanding? She is, after all, a mother to three boys under 7 years old. I like to think I wouldn’t judge, but I probably would’ve. And that bothers me.

I really like what Nichole over at Being Pregnant had to say:

We all judge…we’re just selective in our judgment. We can overlook another mother’s decision not to breastfeed, but not her decision to delay vaccinations. We judge another mom for having an epidural, but not for giving her older child chocolate milk with every meal. We condemn another mother for not using cloth diapers, but overlook the fact that she hasn’t taken the pacifier away from her 5 year old. Because we see ourselves in other mothers…the parts of ourselves that we like, but also the parts that we don’t.

Do you consciously judge other moms? Why? Do you think it makes yourself feel better about your own parenting skills? How can we stop from all the time judging each other?

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