The Truth About Judgement: Why The "Organized Mom" Isn't Your Enemy"
I often talk about how motherhood has changed over the years and the advantages and disadvantages moms today are facing. One thing that's definitely shifted is the way we perceive the role of motherhood and our expectations on moms.
Although in many ways, the expectations of a mother today have skyrocketed, in other ways for moms today, the opposite has happened. What I mean is, we have become more forgiving of ourselves and each other. We're putting things that used to be very important like super clean houses and perfect dinners aside. There is now a strong culture of moms who are proud of the fact that they have their priorities in order and are not ashamed of the incomplete to do list that fell towards the end of those priorities.
Social media is plastered in posts from moms who joke about their messy house, their kids watching hours of TV, their junk food dinners, etc. I think we all know these things have been realities all along for many people but they were concealed from the outside world. They were things women worked very hard to hide for fear of judgement.
Now I can't make this point enough: I think it's a positive thing that we're learning to relax a bit. I think it's so much better for mental health and for our overall enjoyment of parenthood and just life in general that we've started to be okay with not being "perfect." We're learning no one is perfect and balancing everything is tough.
But the part that I just don't understand is why we had to make the shift from being so hard on moms who weren't "perfect" to being hard on moms who are seemingly keeping it together.
The "hot mess mom" is the new normal and while I don't think that's wrong, I just think it's unfair that we can't accept all types of moms. I can't get on board with the way we seem to judge moms who prioritize things like a clean house, healthy meals, and an overall organized daily life.
I think it's important that I say, I'm not one of those together moms. My house isn't always clean and we don't always have perfect meals. But I still feel for moms who don't follow the "norm" of being open about the challenges.
I regularly hear comments about "together" moms that imply they're hiding something or that they're lacking somewhere more important. It's so common to hear people say, "my house is a mess because my children are making memories." And that is a beautiful sentiment. The problem comes from flipping that on moms with clean houses to imply their children aren't having a good childhood. Implications that moms with organized homes aren't spending enough time with their children are also incredibly common.
We often talk about how hard it is to be a mom and it is SO hard. I love that we can do this. I love that we can talk about the struggles without feeling like everyone is judging. I love that when you say "this is hard" you'll find an entire group of other moms saying "yes, it really is" and validating that you're not alone in this. But in doing so, we sometimes look at moms who seem to be thriving and make assumptions. We say things about how their lives must be easier, their kids must be just naturally easier to care for, or they must have access to something we don't. Sometimes these things are true but often they're not. Often that mom is sacrificing and working her butt off to make things the way she wants them to be.
Quite simply, the differences come down to priorities. Where you may prioritize getting in an episode of your favourite show once your kids are in bed, another mom may prioritize getting some dishes done or cleaning out a closet. Neither person is wrong but the choices they make will reflect.
It's important to realize also that a mom with a clean house or serving gourmet meals isn't going to automatically be miserable either. Some people genuinely enjoy the process of cleaning and cooking. So for them, it's a restorative part of their day just like relaxing with a glass of wine is enjoyable for you.
Ultimately, we need to find a way to celebrate and appreciate ALL parents. No one is better than the other. We need to be able to encourage each other to be the best we can be, even if that isn't perfect. We need to work to make each other comfortable with opening up about our challenges and accepting support. But we also need to stop patronizing people who do things differently than us.
As today's mothers, we get to write the narrative surrounding motherhood culture. In my opinion, it should be one of 'love'. It should be one of 'acceptance and appreciation'. We should decide that there 'isn't room for judgement' here. We all have different stories and different journeys to walk but at the end of the day, we share so many of the same goals. We all want to raise happy, healthy, well rounded children. We all want our kids to know they're loved and we all want to play our part in shaping these kids to be amazing people.