A TODAY Moms/Parenting.com survey of 26,000 moms found what we here on the blog know to be very true: Moms judge each other constantly and about almost any minute aspect of parenting!
The survey found that nearly 90 percent of moms in fact admitted to judging other moms.
Her kid is a brat — 66.4 percent
She breastfeeds a 3-year old -42.6 percent
She has an overweight child – 36.9 percent
She gives junk food – 34 percent
She lets kids have too much screen time 31.8 percent
She co-sleeps with child 23 percent
She works too much 19.7 percent
She didn’t try to breastfeed 18.1 percent
I don’t judge other moms – it’s not my business 12.6 percent
So why do we do it? TODAY Moms explains:
“Parenting expert Wendy Mogel, author of “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee,” says part of what’s fueling the mom judge-a-thon is what psychologists call “displacement.” The world is a scary place, and we can’t control things like the economy free-falling. But we can control our choices as a parent – so we attach way too much significance to them…”
“Mothers are judging themselves and judging others to make themselves feel a little better,” Mogel said. “We’re all trying to look good, and we want our kids to look good and impress others…”
“Brigette Dineen, a mom of two from the Cleveland, Ohio, area, bemoans the “Eye of Judgment” that seems to follow moms everywhere. She chalks up the pressure on moms today in part to information overload: We have so many resources, from prenatal yoga classes to umpteen child-rearing books to educational videos and BPA warnings, that we expect perfection from ourselves and our families.”
I have another theory on why women judge each other so harshly and here it is: I believe that no one (unless they are a truly God awful people) think they are purposefully making wrong decisions for their kids. No one sets out to make the wrong choices. So if you think you have made the right decision then clearly everyone else has made the wrong decisions. I think everyone thinks their choice for their kids is the best choice so any other choice must be inferior.
Since starting this blog six years ago I think I have actually become less judgmental. I am judged so harshly on the blog that I don’t want to do that to others. We don’t know why people have made their choices and haven’t walked in their shoes and I try to think about that as I talk to other mothers.
I do think information overload is part of the problem. Sometimes I walk into a grocery store and am paralyzed about making choices – I know the organic meat is better but it’s so much more expensive. Are the cage-free eggs OK or do they have to be free-range to actually mean it’s a better environment for the chicken. I took almost two hours yesterday buying a week’s worth of groceries because I was reading labels and reconsidering each item on nutrition, cost and environmental impact. (I just want to buy some chicken and oatmeal and be done with it!)
So what categories are you most judgmental about? Do you believe the 12 percent of moms that said they didn’t judge? Is this a woman thing? Do you think woman are just as competitive on every level or do you think it’s just about kids? What do you think of the theories offered as to why women are so judgmental about mothering?