Moms need Friends .. Not Critics

There’s tonnes of talk going around Facebook and Twitter right now about Mom’s not supporting each other and making judgements on choices that they’ve made. I think it’s all been addressed pretty well by many people, with the general consensus being “just mind your own business”.  I would like to take it a bit further …

What I would like to talk about is Mommy judgement in general, and the total lack of support that we give each other. Why is it that when we look at Moms in different situations that we have an instant judgement of what they’re doing or not doing? Why can’t we look at each other with eyes of understanding and grace? Why can’t we just give a reassuring word, a smile or a helping hand? Why can’t we just honor each other as Moms doing the best that we know how?

I’ve been glared at, laughed at, ignored and ridiculed on many ocassions based on the way I parent and the way that I handle certain situations. People always have an opinion and don’t seem to ever be too scared to share it with me. I used to feel like I had to explain my choices or decisions, but have given up. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW OR WHY I’M MAKING THESE CHOICES, SO EITHER HELP ME OR SHUT-UP.

I’m a foster parent AND the parent of a special needs child. Because of that, I’ve had to work through ALOT of crazy stuff. I’ve taken care of lots of different kids, with lots of different histories … some good and some horrifying. I have to make weird choices and decisions all the time based on what they’re going through or where they came from. Please respect and support me when I parent my kids as I’m quite often saying them to protect you, them and your children.

If I say, please don’t let my kid hold your cat, don’t comment and say “it’s okay, my cat likes being held”. Trust me, it’s not okay. When I say, boys on one couch, girls on the other, there’s a reason. When I say, no movies or TV shoes over PG, even though they’re teenagers, theres a reason. When I say, please don’t jump on my little boy, don’t tell me that all boys need to wrestle. What you don’t know is that one of those kids may have a history of killing pets, and CANNOT help himself. You also don’t know that one of those kids may have been sexually abused since the time she was born, and seeks out inappropriate touch to fulfill a need for affection. And that cute little innocent boy sitting in front of the TV may like to role play and is obsessed with weapons and gang activity, and watches TV to get “ideas”.  And finally, the little boy that can’t wrestle just may punch your child in the face because he doesn’t like to be touched. Things are almost never how they appear on the surface, please keep that in mind before you overstep.

I will never forget the day I was shopping in Superstore with my 2 little ones. My son was about 18 months old and my daughter was about 5. I was super tired and my Hubby was on shift work, so I HAD to shop for groceries alone, there were no other options. At this point, I also had no idea that there was something “wrong” with my son so I really didn’t know how to deal with the situation that was about to occur. I entered the canned goods aisles and started putting stuff in my cart. My son immediately started throwing it out on the ground, everything I put in, he threw out. I just assumed he was misbehaving, so I picked it up and put it back. My son was throwing, my daughter was giggling, and I was coping. Suddenly my son started smashing his face on the buggy and screaming. Repeatedly smashing his face while throwing things. I stood there in shock for a second and then I saw blood. I immediately shoved my hand between his head and the cart and tried to figure out what to do next. He’s now screaming and bleeding, my daughter is crying in fear and I’m standing there not knowing what to do.

Now imagine, you come around the corner and spot this scene. A half loaded shopping cart, with groceries strewn all over the floor, a freaked out and sobbing toddler, a baby with blood streaming down his face as he continually smashes his head into his mothers hand, and a Mom standing there dazed and confused. What would you do? If you were like EVERY person that walked by me, you would’ve glared at me, and kept going. Or you would’ve commented, “take your brats home”, like a lovely woman did. Or you would’ve just stared and shuffled by kicking my groceries out of your path. I would’ve killed for someone to stop and say, “Can I help you”? But not one person did. I ended up just taking him out of the cart, taking my daughter by the hand and walking out while he bled everywhere. One wonderful person did yell these thoughtful words to me as I left though, “that’s really nice lady, leaving a mess like that”. I kept walking and crying.

I later learned that my son has a sensory processing disorder and he was way over-stimulated and was reacting the only way that he could. Once I knew that, I was prepared for the grocery store, and that never happened again. But when I took him shopping wearing a weighted superman cape, a pair of sunglasses and a toque with earflaps, people still stared and/or laughed. I can’t even tell you how many times people asked me why I didn’t put anything in the top of my shopping cart when the bottom section was overflowing. I don’t want to explain it anymore, so please stop asking me questions. Just smile and nod and move on….I’m doing the best that I can for my little boy.

Moms that have just recently lost their husbands still have to be Moms and just don’t have the strength to “parent” right now. Some Moms would love to breastfeed but can’t because their cancer treatment drugs can be passed through breastmilk. What about the Mom struggling with depression that’s too embarassed to ask for help? Do you think these Moms need judgement or advice? No, they need compassion and understanding.

I think it’s time we go back and do the things that we’re trying to teach our children. Be patient. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Lend a helping hand. Love one Another. Be kind. BE A GOOD FRIEND.

Common sense has been pushed to the wayside for political correctness and for fear of doing the right thing. Do not judge when you don’t have all the information. Your judgement just may push someone over the edge when they were already barely hanging on.

20 thoughts on “Moms need Friends .. Not Critics

  1. Felicia (@FeliciaDewar) October 10, 2011 at 5:57 am Reply

    Well said. Very well said. Anything I add would only detract from this post so I will do the only thing I can – share it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Natural Urban Mama October 10, 2011 at 6:26 am Reply

    Thank you April. I would have stopped.

  3. Megan October 10, 2011 at 6:56 am Reply

    This is a wonderful & moving post. As a preschool teacher & nanny I have no mommy experience , but get to see it up close &personal yet still at an outside view… It’s always been very hard to watch moms and women hurt eachother instead of help, or just listen. This is something so simple if we would just realize it. Even for me as a teacher … Always have to remember not to judge . Thank you so much

  4. Addie October 10, 2011 at 7:11 am Reply

    That was very well written, and I want to say, I am so sorry that no one stoped to offer help. I assure you I would have done what I could. And thank you for fostering children ❤

  5. Carly October 10, 2011 at 10:07 am Reply

    Thanks for the post! I’m not a mommy yet but I work with adults with mental disabilities and have gone through the exact same thing with a client throwing their head against a cement pavement (and I had another deaf/blind/loud client with me, too, that I had to deal with) and not one single person offered to help me out! People just feel awkward and keep walking.

  6. Dawn October 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm Reply

    So well said! Absolutely perfect! I want to frame and wear this!!!! Thank you so much for sharing, it’s not easy sharing our personal lives to state a point; but thank you for doing just that. I too would have stopped and helped, and given you a hug,…. If you wanted one 🙂 thanks again!

  7. tehamy October 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm Reply

    So well said! I have been working very hard lately to support and not judge. It’s hard sometimes, but we need to remember that you never know everything about someone else’s situation.

  8. Farren October 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am moved by your experience and will take it to heart. All my life I have strived to never judge another. Over the last year, since becoming a mama, this practice of moms judging other moms has really brought me down. We embark on one of the hardest journeys in life and at the same moment people decide it is open season for rude comments and rolled eyes. Something is seriously wrong with this, and it needs to stop. It does so much damage behind closed doors, it traps moms in their houses and in their minds.

    Again, thanks for sharing your story. I want every parent to read this.

  9. Sarah October 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm Reply

    Great post! I have a friend with a son who has asperger’s. She told me a similar story of her son having a meltdown in a grocery store and people only judged and didn’t offer help. Since she told me that story I have asked people for help when I see them struggling. Thank you for the reminder that we don’t know what other people are going through and it’s best to offer a helping hand rather than a judging glare.

  10. Lynn October 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm Reply

    Hmmm….that’s a tough one. People are weird, and most don’t really get what’s happening. They’re too busy texting, etc.

    I would like to think someone ran to get a first aid kit….

  11. vicky October 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm Reply

    Also though you dont know the full story behind the person giving the advice or suggestion. Maybe that mother wasnt ever informed about an issue until afterwards and feels its important to let new moms know.

    Maybe that mom knows something else.

    I dont think we should judge each other, but I do think there is something to be said about not jumping to conclusions on both sides of the argument. I have had people freak out that I am judging them when all I am doing is informing them of something I read. I dont care if people do things the same as me, I just wish everyone could make informed choices.

    Honestly most people dont say things out of spite or hate, they just want you to know something, and if you dont think its important then okay but freaking out on them isnt any better than what they are doing to you.

    • this mom's got something to say ... October 11, 2011 at 1:08 am Reply

      I’m all for advice and ideas, as long as it’s presented in an appropriate way at the appropriate time and NOT in the middle of the crisis. I personally love learning new things and new ideas from other Moms, we’ve got a lot of greatness inside each one of us. Thanks for your comment!!

  12. Allyce October 10, 2011 at 11:42 pm Reply

    Wow, April, that was SO well written and it makes me sad that that happened to you. It also lets me know that people really would like my help if I see them in a similiar situation.
    You’re a very amazing and special lady!! Love ya!

  13. Jenna October 11, 2011 at 1:59 am Reply

    Thank you for writing this! I have never felt more “judged” in my life since I became a mother. I would have stopped and offered my help to you. Even if it was just helping you out of the store – if that is what you wanted. I hope this post reminds everyone that we are all doing the best we can in that moment.

  14. […] Thank you for taking the time to read MY blog and thank you for reminding me that we are all so much more than our parenting practices. And finally, a big thank you to April, for pointing out that all may not always be as it seems. […]

  15. T October 12, 2011 at 5:15 am Reply

    Oh gosh, I’m in tears. The last 2 paragraphs really hit home. Thank you for this post, it is so unbelievably true and honest. And just so you know, I would have definately stopped and asked if there was anything I could do to help.

  16. kpg October 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm Reply

    I am ashamed to say, I wouldn’t have stopped to help before, but I will try to do so after reading this. I know that sometimes I am afraid to offer any sort of help for fear of offending the mom or making the situation worse.

    I will say though, I have always tried to respect the boundaries set by my friends who are parents with respect to their children. (even before I was a parent).

  17. Erin Wallace November 5, 2011 at 3:43 am Reply

    Amen. Just amen.

  18. Nina November 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm Reply

    GOD BLESS YOU. When I read the part about your son in the carriage, I started bawling. I can assure you I would have helped you, had I been there. People today are so damn rude and selfish and don’t care about anyone else. I wish you many happy years with your kids, I know you do the best you can. HUGS!

  19. […] based on their looks alone and then justifying it with “love”. I’ve talked about Mom’s needing encouragement and not judgement, and about shutting-up without knowing all the information or owning your own […]

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