Life on the playground is tough. It is full of judgement, cliques, and put-downs. There are back handed compliments and straight up insults. And yes — I am talking about life on the SIDELINES of the playground.
Can I tell you — some of the loneliest moments of my life were when I was standing all alone, as my pregnant belly grew, while my first grade son played, (or rather tried to play,) after school. I was trying to make it through my pregnancy without my anxiety and depression medication and that was not easy as the mom of a son with behavioral challenges and special needs.
I had the leprosy of motherhood — the child whom other mothers wanted to avoid. I was the mother they judged, the one they talked about in their thirty-something huddles.
But, sometimes that online mom community can be just as cruel as those offline mothers judging one another on the playground. Sadly, comment sections can become stoning sessions.
Personally, I can never understand those cruel and judgmental responses. Of course we all “judge” in that we make our own personal opinions and use our own discernment about issues and situations. But it is when we imply, or even believe, that we are “better” than someone, or attack or hurt someone because we do not agree with them, when the problems come.
No one wins when mothers get judgmental. Whether we agree, or even understand, we can still support each others as fellow flawed human beings. As I said recently in a comment section, “…an honest, flawed human is a heck of a lot more healing for her friends than someone who is afraid to admit her own weaknesses.”
I am all about GRACE. It is my life word and I will do all I can to offer grace to other people, cause MAN I need it myself!
The world has enough negativity and crap. I am trying to not add any more.
What is Mommies Coexist?
The basic premise is encouraging Mommies to Coexist – to not judge each other for not doing parenting the way they “think” it should be done.
“We need to remember that the path of motherhood is a fingerprint – no two are ever going to look the same. Every groove making up each print has it’s own unique twists and turns – children’s personalities, financial situation, living situation, needs of everyone in the family, the past…it’s completely erroneous to assume that what works for me will automatically and with certainty work for you.”
Rachel made herself this pledge, to try to do the following things whenever talking to another mother:
1. Listen – Really listen. Hear what they’re saying and what they’re not saying. I won’t interrupt to talk over them. I will just listen.
2. Encourage – I will share with other mothers where I see them excelling, compliment their amazing strengths, and encourage them in their paths.
3. Discern – I will only offer advice if someone directly asks for it. Otherwise, I will go back to steps one and two.
4. Accept – I will appreciate the fact that other people’s lives and choices won’t – and shouldn’t – look just like mine. Choices are out there for a reason – we need them.
All of our decisions and choices will vary, just as our life experiences vary.
I am thoroughly impressed with Rachel’s personal Mommies Coexist Pledge and the positive steps she is taking to bring more understanding and grace to the world around her.
And if anyone is keeping score, I am thoroughly flawed. Just ask, and I will tell you far more than you want to know. 😉
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Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.