Manners & Misdemeanors
Mom-on-Mom: When To Stop Being A Mother Judger
The signs of judgement: the raised eyebrow, the pursed lip, the dead stare.
IMAGE COLLAGE BY SANDY ARANAS
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You know the look: the raised eyebrow, the pursed lip, the dead stare. It’s the unmistakable passing of judgment deployed to highlight whatever slight you have done to a stranger, and most of the time, the participants of this activity are moms—a mom-on-mom crime, Truly Rich Moms included.

I know the look well, not because I have been the subject of mommy criticism (I am only a mother of a cat!), but because I have given my fair share of ice-cold stares. Crying baby in chi-chi restaurant? Frown. Dough-faced toddler invading my personal space? Eew. Truly Rich Mom arriving with a battalion of nannies for her brood plus her own yaya. Glare.

You are only seeing a snapshot of her life, after all and perhaps it just so happens that it was not an ideal moment, so maybe unroll your eyes?

These are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many divisive topics in Mommydom. According to Truly Rich Mom sources, the list also includes staying at home versus working; breastfeeding versus the bottle; breastfeeding in public, relying on the nanny, organic food versus regular food, bringing babies everywhere, iPads as toddler silencers, and so on.

My personal pet peeve is bringing kids to the movies when clearly they 1.) don’t have the capacity to understand film culture yet and 2.) only have the capacity to cry during very important scenes. So shoo!

But judgment goes both ways. About a week ago, I was with my nephews in the courtyard of the neighborhood mall when suddenly one of them decided it would be a great idea to take off his clothes and run around au naturel. He is the eldest of two, and so naturally, the younger brother followed suit.

Foolish me sent away the nannies to gather snacks, and so was left to deal with the nakedness that was now running at double speed, because when you say, “No” or “Stop,” it is somehow translated by the brains of children as “Go” and “Catch me.” 

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A good way to circumvent the passing of judgment is to train yourself on how to react. The knee-jerk whisper of annoyance is hard to stop, but what you do after that evil thought has landed is totally up to you.

It was the thick of Sunday brunch, when families were making their way to pancakes and fried chicken with waffles, so it was very crowded. And crazy. And I could not catch one of them in time. Just before my naked nephew ran ka-splat into an Old Crone I saw very clearly her dagger eyes boring into my soul. She gave me a public tut-tut-tutting, saying in the plainest words, how I was a bad mom and that my kids were heathens. I wanted to say that I am only a mother of a cat! But I bit my tongue and endured the icy stares (there were other moms there) raining down upon me.

I have to be honest and say that this did not feel nice. In fact, it made me feel low. Much like breathing or eating (or shopping), judgment is part of being human. It’s something that we receive and dole out every day. We like things our way and when others don’t measure up to our standards then we take note of them and, if we are snippy, we snap.

Sometimes there is also that nice fuzzy feeling you get when you do it, thinking that, yes, you are so much better than the Truly Rich Mom, whose five-year-old daughter is dying to get her attention. Why, if you were her, you would certainly mind the darling little thing instead of spending all your energy choosing table clutter, wouldn't you?

But what do you know? Perhaps the little darling had been a little monster just minutes ago, and the mommy has been trying to find a bit of peace in her favorite hobby, home decorating? Or perhaps she has to finish this task right now because she has a gazillion other things to do before her guests arrive for dinner? You are only seeing a snapshot of her life, after all and perhaps it just so happens that it was not an ideal moment, so maybe unroll your eyes?

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A good way to circumvent the passing of judgment is to train yourself on how to react. The knee-jerk whisper of annoyance is hard to stop, but what you do after that evil thought has landed is totally up to you. You can be more understanding. You can smile at the mom who’s clearly having a bad day. Or, in the manner of the Truly Rich, you can stop yourself from revealing what you think and just talk about it with other people when you get home.

And, if you are on the receiving end of unmasked mommy disgust, don’t feel too low. Take a breath, rub your dragon amulet, and say a silent little prayer, a personal hymn to ward off the dark juju from these mothers: “Only God can judge me...,” or “I will be in the safety of home soon,” or “Cake, cake, cake, cake… or “I am certainly much more beautiful and thinner than she is!”

Also, please accept the fact that becoming the Most Perfect Mom—a perfect anything for that matter—is impossible. Trying to please everyone by doing all the right things according to their tastes is a losing battle. At the end of the day, consider it a victory when you and your child are safe and sound and happy at home. When your adorable boy is gently snoring in your arms, that's really all that matters, doesn't it? 

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C.C. Coo
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