Please reserve your judgment

MOSphotoOctIn my short and unimpressive years as a mother thus far, it’s clear I don’t know everything.

Nor would I ever claim to.

I haven’t reluctantly handed over the keys to my 16-year-old son asking for the car.

I haven’t watched my husband, watch another “man”

take HIS baby girl out for their first date.

Nor have I pulled away from the curb after dropping our youngest son at college, praying all we’ve done has been enough and will get him through this next phase of life.

We’re not there yet.

So what do I know about parenting?

I know a few things to be true.

Parenting is hard-ass work.

I don’t care who you are. I don’t care how easily it comes to you, how much of it you’ve cherished or even squandered away recklessly. How much you think you’ve sucked the marrow out of every possible second you’ve had with your growing children. How much of your OWN life you’ve put on hold to sacrifice for each and every one of them.

I do know, we’re ALL doing our best trying to navigate the treacherous, the dark and often murky depths of raising children in a world full of unknowns.

Each of us, traveling with our own heavy bags of B.S.

Working tirelessly to make sure our children turn out better than us.

Although I haven’t yet been to the foreign lands I’ve mentioned above, through the deeply emotional and dramatic years of raising teens, I’ve been there in my head. I can see it so well, can feel, hear, even taste the pain that comes with letting go.

And yes, I know that doesn’t count.

My kids are still in elementary school.

All I know are PB and Js and backpacks.

Snow pants and bedtime stories.

Barbie’s and Legos.

Although I’ve visited the future in my mind a million times,

I really have no idea if, when or how it will unfold, nor how hard it will all be.

What I DO know, is this: mothers, are all like a bunch of little snowflakes floating on the wind. No two of us are alike. Nor, are we in control. Which is beautiful.

We each handle the milestones of motherhood the best we can. Some with ease, grace and utmost class.

Others with more drama, a sharp tongue and a hard won sense of humor.

Some of us have given of ourselves so completely to our families we’ve totally lost sight of who we are or have wholly disengaged from our spouse.

Others are so overwhelmed by the expectations of motherhood they retreat inward and focus solely on themselves.

We each have our own challenges.

BUT. Despite our differences, we are all connected.

THIS I know is true.

We HAVE to learn to set aside our judgment of each other, as difficult as that can be.

So many of us have developed new insecurities since becoming moms. It’s hard not to compare ourselves to the mothers around us, bouncing our self worth off their equally fragile shells, to question whether we’re doing a good job, or in most cases, make ourselves feel better about our own choices … which lasts about two minutes.

Our judgment and critiquing of one another gets us nowhere and teaches us nothing.

I, myself, am honest and real, open to seeing all sides.

But I am equally judgmental.

In my future reaction readiness — a state I have to fight daily to stay away from to be more present in the life I have now —

I have to set aside my fearful daydreaming.

Most importantly, I must learn to let go of judgment of my fellow moms.

Living life as a mother is challenging enough without the constant and unrelenting scrutiny of the mother next to me making me feel like I’m doing it wrong because I use my words differently or am more honest and raw. Or because I make different use of my time. And vice versa.

Regardless of my devotion to my children, I work diligently each day, to enjoy a life of my own and find a life and purpose outside of my children.

I have made it my life’s intention to be present in it all. To strive  to find a balance.

We can’t be present, nor live with intent, if we’re spending our time judging each other.

So for today, I hope and pray, I’m modeling to my children, the importance of these virtues: patience, kindness, non-judgment and compassion.

That instead of making that judgment, we’ll take the opportunity to look at ourselves.

Look at YOURself.

Ask yourself what is lacking in your own life that causes you to judge how I live, breathe and speak mine.

For this week, use that energy to better your own life and the life of your family, instead of focusing on another’s.