Since becoming a mom three years ago, there is one day that sticks out in my mind and I am pretty sure it will stick with me forever. My now three year old, was a few months old at the time and as a baby she hated sleep. I was carrying her around in the Ergo while she took one of her 15 minute naps. Any noise or sudden movement would wake her up and I could not lay her down even once she fell asleep. I was completely drained. I had no one to help me or give me a break. I hadn’t slept more than a few hours at a time in months and nothing I read online or in the baby books worked for us.
I had a friend with 5 kids so I reached out to her and begged for her advice, for anything that could help with our sleep issues. She didn’t give me some magic cure or trick in getting my child to sleep, but she did give me the best advice ever. And that was to do what works for me. Screw the books, the doctors, the advice from other moms who I thought had their shit together. No one has it all together and I certainly did not and probably never will. But I had to let that thought go from my mind that I was doing something wrong and not living up to these expectations that I had set for myself.
Fast forward a few years and being a little less sleep deprived. It took 2.5 years but my child finally sleeps through the night most nights and takes a few naps a week that last more than 15 minutes. I was feeding her all organic and being as natural as possible, while looking down on other moms who did not make the same choices. I could never let my child cry it out or train them to fall asleep. I didn’t understand why all moms weren’t watching their child’s every move at the park or how they could ever feed their toddler’s fast food. I was obsessed with the well being of my child and constantly judging other moms who were much more lax than I was.
I did not know it at the time, but I was a total sanctimommy. One of those moms who feel superior than other moms and needs to share their opinions when someone else was doing something wrong. I didn’t really say my feelings out loud to other moms often, but I was thinking them. I was thinking them a lot. Judge me all you want for doing that, but I think as moms we have all been this way at one point or another. We have all judged someone for not parenting the way you see fit. And this is a huge issue. For crying out loud, my child has pink hair and is usually covered in temporary tattoos and I felt the need to judge someone else.
I have never met a single mom who does things exactly the way I do. Never. You know why? Because people need to do things the way that work the best for their family. And I knew that since my child was a few months old and often think about that moment when I was crying from exhaustion and reached out to an amazing friend for advice, but for some reason I didn’t think about that advice. Or how sanctimonious I had become. Until now.
We have an Ikea dresser that has been recalled and I have been planning on throwing it out for weeks now. It is supposed to be anchored to a wall but we just moved a week ago and I haven’t even thought about it. My child never climbs on furniture so I thought it was okay to wait. Until last night, when she had pulled all of the drawers out to look in them and the dresser is so front heavy that it fell over just from having those drawers open. She ran into my room screaming that it fell over and hurt her finger. It scared the crap out of me and after posting about the recall on Facebook I have had a few friends message me. Asking me why I did not anchor all of my furniture to the walls. Asking how I could let that happen. Seriously. None of them asked me how Mila was. Just scolded me like a child.
I never ever ever want to make another mom feel the way I feel right now. I want to lift them up and help them out, not bring them down for making honest mistakes. Or for just doing things in a way different from myself, because we are all doing the best we can and hanging in there one day at a time. Next time you start to judge someone else, stop yourself. Take a step back and think of a time when maybe you weren’t at your best, or made an honest mistake, or just did things different from someone else. Don’t be a sanctimommy. Be a friend.