After nearly two decades of motherhood, Mary McCarthy shares how she’s learned to ignore criticism and embrace her own parenting style.
The only thing worse than feeling like you’re doing something wrong as a mother is having it implied you’re doing everything wrong. Whether it’s a well-intending mother-in-law, a “helpful” neighbor or the gaggle of moms at the after-school pick-up, feeling criticized can make even the most confident moms completely fall apart.
What is it that makes certain women think they’re the judge and jury of all things motherhood? Probably their own insecurities, or possibly jealousy over how completely adorable your child is compared to their brattier version. But remember: people who criticize your parenting are not a judge in real life, so you shouldn’t let them play one in your life. The key is to handle awkward situations with humor and grace, even though on the inside you’d like to handle them with profanity and/or tears.
Judgey McJudgerton Mom: “So has Bailey taken her first steps yet? Harry started walking a month ago!”
What You Think: “It’s not my fault she crawls faster than a crab on a hot tin roof. Why should she slow down and start walking? Not that it’s any of your business. Also, Harry is over there eating dirt out of the planter.”
What You Say: “It seems like she’s going to venture out on her own any day now!” <grin; focus on making it look real>
Let’s try it one more time, with a tween/teen.
Judgey McJudgerton Mom: “I notice Jeffrey isn’t signed up for honors algebra this year at the middle school. Are you still hoping he’ll get into honors math in high school for college prep?”
What You Think: “He won’t be needing algebra for the career he’s planning in waste disposal management. Also, you noticing what class my kid is taking is creepy and means you have no life.”
What You Say: “Oh, he’s not as good at math, so he decided to take a regular level class with hopes of a better grade.” <grin; focus on making it look real>
I’ve been a mom for nearly two decades, and I can tell you, the sooner you embrace your inner mommy-ocrity, the better. What’s mommy-ocrity? It’s the realization that as mothers, we can’t be perfect, so if we can accept just being good enough, we’ll be less likely to feel like failures.
Let the other moms go all “classroom mom” with handmade gifts for teachers, or tackle that snack coordinator position on the soccer team. Somebody’s got to be the booster club president, but it doesn’t have to be you. Honestly, your kid would probably rather have you home watching a movie with him or her and maybe show up in the classroom for a holiday party once or twice a year.
For me, celebrating mediocrity in motherhood helps me feel less guilty about not being the perfect mom. Because the “perfect moms” are just annoying.