Nearly 90 percent moms judge other moms: But why?

A TODAY Moms/ 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.

Other findings from the survey — Which parenting behavior might lead you to judge:

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?

56 comments Add your comment


August 22nd, 2011
2:11 am

It’s a strange dichotomy. I’ve found that many women profess to support women in general but are the first ones to tear each other down.

Sally Thibault

August 22nd, 2011
2:50 am

Great blog! It is the one thing I have seen over the years that gives rise to such stress in so many. (My children are now 26, 23 & 17). All our children need is for us as parents to be ‘whole’ . And to raise our children with love, compassion, wisdom and boundaries! When a child is 10 and playing in the school yard with 30 other children the same age – you can’t tell who was born naturally vs C-section, who was breastfed vs formula, who co-slept, who was fed organic food – but you will be able to see the child whose mother (and father) are not whole, authentic, loving, patient and understanding! Mothers need to give each other a break and realise that parenting is a tough gig – women are so competitive, we need to give each other a break and support each other in the process.


August 22nd, 2011
3:17 am

Guilty as charged.

The brat would also be on the top of my list. I think I judge because ( as an educator) I see lots of different children who are both good and ( imho) troublesome. I have a so called barometer of lots of children. I see parents who are making different choices than I would but their kids are pleasant and well rounded. This is insightful. Then, I see parents who ( also imho) are really on the wrong track, as their kids have problems they seemingly caused. These,I tend to judge.

Someone I know and like, has a son who is 22 and fooling around in college . He has been kind of a good off for years ( since HS) and everyone knows it.” Awww…it’s just ______!” A nice kid but not very serious about anything. He will not finish college this year as his grades have been iffy or worse. He does like college alot :). As I mentioned previously, the mom told me that he cannot seem to get his finances straight and she has often had to cover his bank account. He also “does not want to get a job”. The short story is that I would not want my daughter to get involved with someone like that. Maybe it is just me. The parents are great folks. It is hard for me to look at that and say, ” Oh, it will all work out for sure!” Maybe it will!

I recently visited a farmer’s market that is right in front of quite a bit of acreage with crops that are being harvested and brought right inside. The produce looked delicious and fresh. I stopped because I judged this to be a successful business as there were plenty of customers purchasing the remarkable produce. The farmer apparently knew what he/she was doing. Success. Perhaps I judge successful parents by their product…admirable children. Children can be admirable in many ways:grades, manners, attitude, responsibility, kindness, diligence and empathy are just a few.

"Judged harshly on this blog"?

August 22nd, 2011
5:44 am

…say it ain’t so!


August 22nd, 2011
6:54 am

That would be called human nature, we are naturally competetive (some more than others) and it is part of the assessment process, only a very select few do not participate


August 22nd, 2011
6:56 am

Part of human nature. Men judge each other based on job, car, hair (how much?), money, house, wife (is her tummy flat? Do her breast jut out just so?). Kids judge each other (toys, physical skills, physique, skill at Nintendo, grades). That women, and particularly mothers, would not do so would be remarkable.


August 22nd, 2011
7:21 am

Most of us are gifted with a certian amount of self esteem. The measure can be likend to a beach bucket half full of sand and we all have our little shovel. We would like our busket to be full. Instead of getting new sand from the beach, we take our little shovel and remove sand from anothers bucket. This fills our bucked, and reduces theirs. Look at the examples listed above and you will see the shovel action going on.


August 22nd, 2011
7:25 am

Silly idea for a column. We all judge all the time. Next.


August 22nd, 2011
7:27 am

I have to agree with Dan and catlady. Human nature.

I judge others all the time. And I think anyone who says they don’t is in denial. I work hard to keep an open mind about many things as I don’t know all the circumstances but bratty kids and being overweight are at the top of my “judgement” list.


August 22nd, 2011
7:51 am

Guilty as charged. As a teacher I often find myself thinking about and judging how that parent parents their child.

But I had a rude awakening when my oldest started to show signs of ADHD and no amount of enviornmental/behavioral solutions seem to curtail his seemingly out-of-control behavior. I had one of “those” kids. I could effectively manage a class of 25 but couldn’t control my own child. We had a full psychological and found out our child had an IQ of 140 but severe ADHD.

This has taught me you never know the whole story. I still find myself judging, but I try to remember that most of us as parents are doing the best we can.


August 22nd, 2011
8:08 am

Human nature.

“I don’t judge other moms – it’s not my business 12.6 percent”
… sorry but I don’t believe that for a second!

I think moms judge because more often than not we see a direct correlation between the parenting skills (or lack there of) and the kids’ behavior. The environment these kids live in determine their behavoir. The entire family is often deemed toxic to the point other families don’t want to have to deal with them.

The worst are the parents that think there kids can do NO wrong, are the next Einstein, or are major league material (heck the kid has even hit High School).


August 22nd, 2011
8:24 am

Because 100% of moms are women, and the 10% that claim they aren’t judging are lying.


August 22nd, 2011
8:31 am

Well, of COURSE moms judge. So do dads. So do kids. So do grandparents. So do employers. So do policemen. So do doctors. So do other drivers. EVERYONE evaluates others behaviors by some kind of yardstick. That’s one of the things you, as a parent, do with children — give them standards of behaviors that are considered acceptable and appropriate – a yardstick, if you will — and teach them to use good judgement. We are constantly back-checking our own behaviors (appropriate? applicable?) and in the process, we notice when others are doing something differently from us.

A judgement is an opinion — and we ALL have opinions on how things should be done.


August 22nd, 2011
8:33 am

Who has time for that?! We went to see “The Help” last night, and I was so disgusted by the way the women treated each other. Sad thing it, it happens every day! They are just Mean Girls, all grown up. Now, the silent judging and comparing, that’s just human nature. But unfortunately there’s sometimes a point where it’s not just an internal insecurity and it’s used as a weapon. Sickening.

And you’ve got to be kidding me about the free-range eggs thing. Buy the freaking eggs, lord knows they are better for you than half of the boxed, processed crap out there, whether they live in the ritz-carlton of chicken cages or not.


August 22nd, 2011
8:34 am

I read this recently and am trying to apply it to my life…all levels certainly apply to me:

Above average people discuss ideas
Average people discuss current events
Below average people discuss other people

Anyone else?


August 22nd, 2011
8:37 am

Women in general women are catty, therefore it’s not surprising to learn that they judge so harshly. Frankly, unless you’re abusing your kid, I really don’t have too much to say. I’m more prone to judge those that judge.

@mom2three, your kid sounds very much like mine. And while his ADHD isn’t severe, it’s always caused a lot of problems. I’m sure many a teacher has judged me. Most have no real clue as to what ADHD really is and how it affects the brain. It’s always been, “well, he’s really smart, so I just don’t think that he doesn’t know how to control himself.” Hmmm…is that their “professional” opinion. Honestly, until someone has walked a day in your shoes, they have no clue what your life is like. They have no idea why a kid may be acting a certain way. They only have an opinion based on what they see.

I really don’t judge a lot, even as a teacher. I learned early on that some kids have real problems. I’ve dealt with drug addtion, alcohol addiction, physical abuse, molestation and rape. Some kids are acting out. I refuse to judge because sometimes parents are doing the best that they can.


August 22nd, 2011
8:41 am

@NikNak, I saw it on Friday and loved it Afterwards, I mentioned to my sister that I do not care what color a person is nor what level of education or affluence they have aspired to. I enjoy all sorts of people. I do respect anyone who has or is working hard to get to where they are and continuing to make a contribution to society. To me, that is a sign of character.


August 22nd, 2011
8:57 am


The difference is (and this shows exactly what kind of person you are)…whether or not you treat people differently based on your judgments. I’m not talking about the obvious “robber-rapist-murderer-crackhead”…but do you treat someone differently because they’re overweight? Balding? Skinny? Rich? Poor? English speaking?

And yes, your/our kids pick up on how you treat people and tend to model that behavior.

When I was teaching, I was NEVER surprised when the mean kids’ parent(s) were also disrespectful and rude.


August 22nd, 2011
9:25 am

@ TallMom…that last line made me laugh….can we say, “The apple does not fall far from the tree!”
I see my own kids pick up on my traits and habits…sometimes I am delighted and sometimes I cringe.
Just the facts and it makes me think of what message I am sending.


August 22nd, 2011
9:27 am

@mom2three–I can relate and am actually going through the same thing with one of mine right now.

I don’t take criticism very well myself and have always tried not to judge others on their parenting skills–I think being a parent can be hard enough without the pressure of feeling like everyone else is watching for your mistakes.

People who are close enough to me and my family to have witnessed a pattern of behavior over time are the only ones that should give their “opinion” or “suggestions” about how I’m doing things with my kids-and they’re the ones with opinions I accept as advice at times. The parents you occasionally see at the park or in the classroom don’t know the whole situation and that sometimes we have to pick our battles with certain strong-willed kids–those are the people who irritate me with their judging.

Don't Understand

August 22nd, 2011
9:28 am

If the problem were contained to the private world it would just be an annoyance, but look at our society and we can see that the consequences of judging others has taken a far worse turn. We now criminalize wearing pants too low. We criminalize others’ choice to drink raw milk. We criminalize the choice others make in medicine and recreational activities (despite hurting no one). We criminalize lawns being too long, selling lemonade without paying off the government, and even smoking.

Being petty and judging others is an horrible trait, but in america it has become a tool of oppression whereby busybodies and meddlers have chosen to impose their version of what is right on society through the mechanism of the government and its oppressive police state. So why should anyone be surprised that so many moms are so judgemental – after all, its for the children!


August 22nd, 2011
9:51 am

“The survey found that nearly 90 percent of moms in fact admitted to judging other moms.”

And the other 10% lie!

(Now, that is a judgement!)


August 22nd, 2011
9:53 am

I agree it’s human nature. Not right but we all do it even when we realize we shouldn’t. I try to be open minded. I have a smart, sweet, gentle, cautious, and sensitive child. Then I have a smart, sweet, rough, somewhat cautious, and agressive child. Both are girly girls. They are pretty mild mannered but both are spoiled…daddy’s girls.

I’ve judged single moms because I was and I made tough choices, at least I think so. But my husband and I worked things out and I try to be sensitive to my friends that are still single. I try not to judge the mom because kids are different no matter the parenting style. An unruly child is just that unruly. I just rather my children not be around that child. And if the mom and I are friends, we just won’t visit with them often but.

I have a friend I adore but his wife cannot control their daughter like him. I’ve asked my other friends to not invite me when we do play dates because it’s too annoying for me. Certain children need to be spanked. Others should be pinched. And there are a few that can simply be scolded and all is well. But blowing hot air at a child that knows better irks my last nerve.


August 22nd, 2011
10:04 am

I judge for several reasons. How your child acts is mostly a reflection of how they are raised (yes, I know some people are just born “that way”, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up and let them always be “that way”). And how your child acts directly affects how they treat others and I do not want your child treating my child badly or leading them down the wrong road. Right now, we are very involved with another family (same school, same neighborhood), and I am constantly having to talk to my 6 yo about the other 6 yo’s behavior. I normally wouldn’t care, but the other 6 yo has deliberately tried to get my child to do the wrong thing to the point where my child cried because she didn’t want to do it and the other 6 yo kept pressuring her. Also, the other child lies, says mean things, is very bossy, and does things to make her look good and others look bad. So I have to talk to my child about doing the right thing even when others pressure them not to, why she shouldn’t believe some people when she notices that they have a history of lying and how to be friendly with someone without being friends with them. I have seen how this family treats their kids and blame their kids’ behavior on how they were raised. So, I am resentful that my child can’t have an innocent friendship at age 5 (it started last year), and while I like the mom okay, I do judge their family based on how their kids treat others.

Which leads me to my next reason for judging… I hate the direction that this country is going. This is not a political statement, so don’t misinterpret it as such. I think that most of our problem lies with the fact that everyone is only concerned about themselves and have become so incredibly lazy that I fear for our future. This country was based on hard work and kindness toward others (among other traits), and these are quickly and alarmingly going away. I think that most of what was listed (except for working too much and breastfeeding until age 3) goes hand in hand with being lazy. It takes a lot of work to raise children right, and it seems to me that a lot of people don’t want to put the work in, yet wonder why they have terrible kids. I’m sad that the country that I’m so proud of and love is becoming a country of people who only want everything for themselves but are too lazy to work for it. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but it should be the rule rather than the exception.

Ugh, obviously this is a sore topic for me. Must go get a cup of calming camomile tea… :-)


August 22nd, 2011
10:08 am

I also agree that it’s human nature. However, how far you carry your judgment is a reflection on you, in my opinion. I have friends who are raising their child as a vegan, breastfed until almost 4, don’t allow any toy guns (even made up with sticks or fingers), no sugar, co-sleep -all sorts of things I roll my eyes at. I’m sure they think it’s awful that my kids eat Fruit Loops, hamburgers and play wuth an entire arsenal of toy guns and weapons. However, I severely limit screen time and my kids play outside a lot. We recently ran into them at a local playground and the child (at age 4) was so engrossed with his portable gaming system, he just sat by a tree playing it and would have nothing to do with running around playing (mine were racing around like banshees most likely on a fruit loop and meat high). So yeah, we all judge, but I think for most part it should be something we keep to ourselves and snicker about with like-minded friends.

It crosses the line when some of these moms get passive-aggressive and ridiculous with their rules and judgment. A friend of mine had a mom RSVP to her daughter’s birthday party and sen the message to all saying that they wouldn’t attend because the every weekend birthday thing was just too much and they didn’t want their daughter thinking she got cupcakes every weekend or to become obese from sugar every weekend! It was incredibly rude and basically seemed to say, “How dare you celebrate your child’s birthday with cake?!?!” A simple “no thanks” would have sufficed. That’s the type of thing I seem to see more and more -if you don’t breastfeed or breastfeed fir long, you’re AWFUL; if you pop your kid’s butt -you’re the devil; if you homeschool you’re a religious freak; if McDonald’s ever passes your child’s lips, you should be reported! So many people need to just chill out and realize that raising children is actually a very personal thing!


August 22nd, 2011
10:13 am

Lol. I have to do better because I’m quick to not allow my children to be around children who don’t speak correctly. I don’t allow my girls to use slang and I’ve always corrected them. Is, was, were, ain’t, double-negatives…I correct it all. And I don’t pull them aside to do so. I noticed it more when a 10 year old told me my then 3 year old ‘talked white’. I couldn’t function after that. Lol. I had to leave the party.


August 22nd, 2011
10:13 am

Judge not lest ye be judged.

I don’t judge others, I don’t know their situation.

I don’t care if you judge me or not. I’m happy and comfortable with who I am. I really don’t care what others think about me or my family……I really don’t. I live my life for ME and my family. If you don’t like it. that’s your problem, not mine.

You wouldn’t be so worried about what people thought about you, if you knew how seldom they did.


August 22nd, 2011
10:20 am

TWG -my post is missing and it’s a real pain to do these on an iPhone! No reason it should be held back.


August 22nd, 2011
10:26 am

For the most part, people judge others because they are insecure. Many people find that judging and making fun of others distracts from their own weaknesses and insecurities, and it makes them feel better about themselves.

Also, disciplining a child should never involve spanking or pinching (DeltaWorker). Instead, try reading “The Well Behaved Child: Discipline That Really Works.”


August 22nd, 2011
10:26 am

@ Delta…you will be judged here, for using “lol”… I use it and someone here mentioned that adults should not use this term….it is for middle schoolers….hahaha!
@Ally…good points in your second paragraph.


August 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

A corollary describes the rationale by which women typically lie as a normal course of behavior: they won’t tell anyone the things for which they’ll be so harshly judged. They’d prefer that other women not tell them things that are likely true, in order to spare hurt feelings, and they follow that line of reasoning themselves. It turns into never telling the truth ot people outside the family about their kids, husband’s job and income, their own personal lives, you name it.


August 22nd, 2011
10:37 am

I agree, Sylvania. A lot of people look hard for what others are doing wrong in order to make themselves feel like they are doing things right.


August 22nd, 2011
10:40 am

Jatl I will grab it as soon as I can. I’m not at the house but will be in about 15 mins

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 22nd, 2011
10:48 am

@MJG’s 8:34 comment…so what you’re basically saying is that this blog is full of below average people – including yourself, right?


August 22nd, 2011
10:58 am

“I don’t care if you judge me or not. I’m happy and comfortable with who I am. I really don’t care what others think about me or my family……I really don’t. I live my life for ME and my family. If you don’t like it. that’s your problem, not mine.”

So if you don’t care what others think ….do you dress like a prostitute, you and your husband are swingers or have an open marriage, your house is a dump, and your kids have absolutely no rules?

Please – we all care what others think. Most every decision we make is based on right or wrong (or it should be).

The term “I don’t care what others think” is total BS! ;)


August 22nd, 2011
11:00 am

@Delta Worker, I agree about the spankings. It’s not the only form of discipline, it won’t work on every child, but it will work on most!


August 22nd, 2011
11:09 am

“So if you don’t care what others think ….do you dress like a prostitute, you and your husband are swingers or have an open marriage, your house is a dump, and your kids have absolutely no rules?”

So you think the only reason someone would choose not to do these things is because they worry about what other people would think if they did?


August 22nd, 2011
11:15 am

Woman, particularly white woman, judge…well, everybody, because they are insecure. they are insecure because they carry a certain amount of guilt. they carry guilt because they suspect on some level what we all know to be true. They have taken from society far more than they have even offered to it. To accomplish the same jobs as mothers as compared to generations past, they have demanded; expensive weddings, mini-mansions, SUV’s, gadgets, cleaning services, landscapers, etc. They struggle to look in the mirror so it’s natural to lash out at the daily reminder of what they have become in the form of their mommy friends. The truth hurts.


August 22nd, 2011
11:22 am


It has been a while, since I read so much racist drivel in one post. I don’t know or care about your race, you are still a loser.
There’s some TRUTH for you.


August 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

Oh yes, karma,

You can bet the farm that I was being judgmental.


August 22nd, 2011
11:32 am

@ tiger…I am saying that ALL of those categories apply to me.
I have discussed ideas, events and people with others ( randomly) on this blog. I have also discussed ideas, events and people with people ( on this blog) in person too!


August 22nd, 2011
11:34 am

Guilty as charged! I often wonder in amazement how parents can allow their children to run around restaurants, yell in movie theaters and have tantrums in grocery stores. As a mom of a 7-yr old, I am constantly wondering if parents are so selfish to only think of themselves and not about those individuals who they are disrupting? If my daughter were to ever do such a thing, I would remove her and myself from the area.


August 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

@ karma…I am a white woman ( not that it matters) and I have not demanded any of those things you are talking about. I also try to give back, whenever I can and enjoy doing so.

@ delta…a Facebook friend with an MBA, who is my age, just put LOL on a comment I sent her. Guess we are not the only ones….hahaha!


August 22nd, 2011
11:47 am

Was that you I saw at Walmart yesterday? Dressed in 5 inch high heels, dress jacked up to your super sized rear end, getting out of your Escalade that you parked in the HANDICAPPED spot? You made no eye contact with anyone because you were too busy talking smack to your bestie on your wireless headset about this tramp that is shacking with your baby’s daddy. Let’s not forget the difficult time you had reaching into your fake Prada handbag so you wouldn’t mess up that manicure or brak one of your 3 inch nails? I do believe your purchases were all WIC, by the way.

PS: This white woman says Thank You for all the contrinutions you have made to a greater society.


August 22nd, 2011
12:03 pm

Why do these things always end up with racist banter?


August 22nd, 2011
12:32 pm

Lori, there’s always one idiot in the bunch.


August 22nd, 2011
2:37 pm

Per ~ Judge: to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premise.

If only people would actually carefully weigh EVIDENCE then judging may not be so bad. Most people form an opinion by what they see in a 5 or 10 minute interaction between parent and child. My kid could just be having a bad day, the same as I do every once in a while. It doesn’t mean that my child is a “brat” or that I lack in the parenting department. It also does not mean that I don’t try or don’t care about what kind of adult my child evolves into. My kid could be Autistic, or have ADHD or Aspergers. But you wouldn’t know that.

I do not judge other people (and please don’t tell me what that is BS) because I do NOT know what they are going through.

For example, my friend’s son is a little overweight for his age (per the doctor not me). My friend is a single mom who lives in an apartment complex. She isn’t that great of a cook, so they do eat alot of processed frozen foods. But the main issue was that the kid had no place to ride his bike or play outside. Once she moved into a house with her sister, her son has had the ability to be more active and is loosing a little bit of weight. Should I have judged her?? She was and is doing the best she can as a parent. She LOVES her son, works and goes to school, and wants the best for him.

For those of you who are tired of this “selfish” society and the fact that people want everything but don’t want to work for it… why don’t you try HELPING out that mom instead of automatically ASSuming she has some sense of entitlement. You are contributing to the selfish society by judging.


August 22nd, 2011
3:23 pm

@karma: I judge you to be full of it. Insecurity knows no racial barriers.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 22nd, 2011
4:15 pm

Does the judging really matter, or is it really that bad to judge. I would say we all judge. The question is, what actions result in the judgement? when you see a person living in a way you find incongruous to your ethics, morals and values, do you quietly seethe with rage (or worse) at the way they live there life or do you appreciate that you’re not in that boat.

Seems to me that how one reacts to their own judgements is the good vs evil part of this “do you judge” topic.


August 22nd, 2011
5:40 pm

Helping…yes we do that! I have been involved in various volunteer and charitable causes, as has my husband and children too. Thanks for the reminder though.