Judgers love to judge. How judgmental are you as a parent of other parents? Or as a mother to non-mothers? Or just as a mere person to other people? I will confess that I’m judgmental at times. I can leap to conclusions about other people and then decide that’s totally accurate and correct on a dime. I judge other parents, mothers, sisters, daughters & everyone else. BUT I’m working on not being judgmental. Rather, I’d like to exercise my sense of judgment without being judgmental. Tricky thing. Am I splitting hairs? I don’t think so. These are pretty different concepts, right?
1) Judgmental people have few friends.
Webster says this:
1: of, relating to, or involving judgment
2: characterized by a tendency to judge harshly
I’m going with the second definition here, people. Being judgmental means that you are always on the lookout for something to pounce on, to criticize. It means that as the person is sharing about their life choices, or their circumstances, you’re already evaluating, categorizing, and psychoanalyzing them. It means that your tolerance for people who process life differently than you is low. It means you are not a fun friend to have!
Many of my mama friends work outside the home. Many had pain meds at the birth of their children. Many aren’t Catholic. Some are single parents. Some didn’t go to college; others are PhDs. They’re not my friends because we have the same path in life. They’re my friends because we are driven by the same desire for our children to be good, wholesome, Godly, happy people. They’re my friends because we’re supporting one another along the way. And we need each other. (Oh boy do we ever!)
So I’m working on being slow to react with finality in my mind when something comes up that’s different than how I do things, or what I choose to do as a mom. And you know what? So far it means I’ve saved myself from jumping the gun on a few potentially embarrassing moments, and I’m less stressed in conversations with other moms because I truly have no agenda that I’m waiting to foist upon them! Not that I had some huge agenda before this very basic realization, but I felt the need to ensure they knew how I felt/thought about topics. Now I can listen and either pipe up or just absorb it. My very special wonderful amazing opinion is not needed constantly. That’s what my blog is for!
2) Exercising your judgment is a good thing.
Good ole Webster:
1 a : a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion; b : an opinion so pronounced
2 a : a formal decision given by a court; b (1) : an obligation (as a debt) created by the decree of a court (2) : a certificate evidencing such a decree
3 a : the final judging of humankind by God; b : a divine sentence or decision; specifically : a calamity held to be sent by God
4 a : the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing; b : an opinion or estimate so formed
5 a : the capacity for judging : discernment; b : the exercise of this capacity
6: a proposition stating something believed or asserted
I’d like to think of forming a judgment as more a discernment. As mothers we make discernments each and every day, many times per day. Should I take him to the toilet now or wait until SuperBoy grabs at his pants and looks at me in panic saying “Mama I NEED TO GO POTTY!!!!” Combined with Should I bring SweetPea with or should I plop her in her Go-Pod and hope she doesn’t hit her head against the wall . . . . Is it responsible to ask the dog to watch her??
Some of the more major discernments we have to make are things like should my child play with this other child (what are the influences here), should we pay for that series of art classes when it appears to be more work than its worth, will my kids’ wardrobes make it until the next round of consignment sales in March, should I continue to do the Super Baby Foods diet with SweetPea, when can SuperBoy have refined sugar, what do I say to my friend whose children have lots of screentime when my children have none and we get together at their house, etc etc etc.
Evaluating how choices have played out in other peoples’ lives (or how they appear to have played out) and then reflecting on whether that would work for you & your family is a very valid way of making a judgment call. We’re social creatures, and I think that encompasses learning through observation of others’ failures and triumphs.
So let’s all go easy on each other. That kid throwing a massive tantrum in public? Yeah, that could be your kid someday and the odds are it was my kid last week. (Sigh.) But, in good news, he’s really loving playing chess. That involves lots of discernment as to which of mama’s piees you want to “knock away forever.” His words.