On this blog, we encourage women to “tap into their compassion and let go of their judgments.” Our campaign for Judgment-Free Motherhood focuses on accepting each others decisions regarding parenting choices, but why not take this one step further and apply that compassion and non-judgment towards our children as well.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know all you moms out there are compassionate with your children. I feel that compassion in your comments. And I’ve seen it in action. I’ve seen you on the playground kissing that scraped knee, in the car enthusiastically singing along to whatever that song is from that most recent Disney movie and at the grocery store buying your girl her favorite color balloon. You rock and your kids know how much you love them, even when you’re at the end of your rope and not quite as compassionate as you’d like to be.
But we could probably all use to take a deep breath and a step back sometimes. I’m suggesting we do this with our children as well. How would I react if my husband or someone at my office did something like that or made me to feel that way? For me, the key to maintaining my cool and keeping a level head, which I don’t always do by the way, is to know how I’d like to handle a situation before it happens. And if I’m not able to predict a situation and then it happens and I freak out? Well, it’s a chance to admit I made a mistake and figure it out for next time. Because we all know that whatever it is, it will happen again.
Here are a few situations in my household that cause me to judge my children and their behavior. And here’s how I’d like to work on stopping to take a deep breath and a step back to consider how my three year old daughter feels and how her feelings might be causing her to act this way. Usually, I simply focus on the action, especially when it’s not the action I’d like her to take.
- Power Struggles – I’ll work to diffuse the power struggles as soon as they start happening. Make her laugh instead of feeling like I need to win or have the upper hand/control because I am the mom. Don’t let it get out of control. Don’t judge her by thinking she’s just trying to get what she wants and not do what I want her to do. This is her beginning to assert her independence and opinions. How would I feel if something was constantly barking orders at me? Try to work with her on things instead of just telling her to do something and not helping her follow through.
- Dinner – Relax about dinner. Sometimes people don’t feel like eating. Sometimes people just don’t eat very much. Consult a doctor for reassurance that she doesn’t have scurvy if I start to worry. Stop saying what a “good eater” her sister is because she eats more and is 2.5 years younger. Be proud that she’s able to stop eating when she feels full and leave food on the plate.
- Bedtime – Try to enjoy the bedtime. Allow her a little extra time to get that last little bit of energy out after dinner and before bath time. Allow her some playtime in the tub with her sister. Take more time with pajama snuggles and talk of the day. This is the time of night when I have the absolute least compassion. I am just so tired and just so ready to be alone. Enjoy those last few minutes with the girls at night so they’ll have sweet dreams instead of anxious dreams where they feel hurried.
- Night Waking – Instead of being frustrated and annoyed that I’m being called out of bed in the middle of the night to tuck her covers in or hand her a sippy cup of water, consider the reason why she might be feeling lonely or needing a little extra attention.
As you might have noticed, all of these things also require me to stop judging myself and show myself a little more compassion too. I’m certainly not saying any of these things are right or wrong, they’re just the situations in my life where I’d like add a little more compassion and love and a little less judgment (for the whole family’s sake).
Want to help us spread the message? We hope you’ll consider snapping a photo or blogging about judgment-free motherhood to help celebrate Moms for Moms Day on Tuesday, March 4th with CTWMs and The Bump. We’ve got templates, print your own signs and FREE bumper stickers!
Let’s Love More and Judge (ourselves, other parents and our kids) Less.