As a both a therapist and a mother, I must admit I hear mothers criticizing other parents’ decisions all the time. So what’s all this mom fighting really about?
Like most things in life, when people are critical or judgmental of another, it is usually based in their own lack of confidence. Much like a bully teases other kids so he can feel better about himself, so, too, do mothers attempt to find validation in questioning your choices. I believe that if one were confident with her own choices and parenting style, she would not feel the need to care that much about yours.
Our culture allows for so many freedoms, so many choices. Sleep training or co-sleeping? Organic homemade baby food or jarred? Time-outs or punishments? With technology and social media spreading information faster than ever, we are constantly bombarded with (new, more, better) information. It is simply impossible to know what is “the right way” to parent or do anything for that matter. But really, it’s because there is no right way to do things, only what’s right for you. And what’s right for you might not be even close to what’s right for me. It’s time we all realize that, and lend support to our friends, rather than criticism.
It is vital to get support from your friends. If you’re not, maybe it’s time to make some new friends. Having a support system can help get you through times of stress and anxiety, and even stave off depression. If you don’t know how to find friends or meet new people, start by looking online. There are mom groups everywhere, so find a local one. Nursery schools and other children’s classes, the park, and even the bookstore (are there any left these days?) and library are good places to find other mothers.
At the end of the day, all parents (okay, most parents) try to do their best. We need to come together and support each other as parents. Parenting is rewarding, but a tough and often thankless job. Personally, I go to great lengths to avoid the other parents that pass judgment. Rather I seek out those most similar and respectful of me. I recommend all moms surround themselves with a supportive, caring group of other mothers to weather the ups and downs of parenting.
Here are 5 signs of toxic mommy friends:
- Constant bragging about their child
- Minimizing accomplishments of YOUR Child
- Always trying to one-up you
- Not supportive of you when you need someone to lean on
- Always criticizing your decisions
If you find that you are surrounded with toxic mommy friends, it is time to find some new friends. A true friend listens, supports you (even when they don’t agree with you), celebrates with you, and treats you both respectfully, and as an equal.