Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm No Better Than You Are


Recently in a meeting, I happened to glance at the notes a lady in front of me was taking. Several of the notes she had written down were goals to be a better mother to her children. I suddenly became squirmish in my seat. It wasn’t the goals themselves that caused my discomfort, and it wasn’t even the fact that I was peeking into somebody’s private thoughts… 
My personal discomfort stemmed from my own weakness. You see, she is a mother that in the past I (ashamedly admit), have privately criticized her mothering .

For days after peeking at that mother’s paper I felt guilty, guilty for seeing her thoughts, and guilty for being so quick to frequently judge her. I forced myself to think of some of her mothering strengths. And guess what!? She has several. She even has some mothering strengths that I have yet to cultivate. Really, as a frequently sung religious song, says, “Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly?”

Too frequently, we as mothers compare ourselves to others and feel less than we are. We feel that we will never be as good as Martha down the street, or we will never master a particular quality that Sally over the road has perfectly mastered. But, do we not as mothers also do the opposite? Surely I am not the only mother that has compared myself to another mother and been quick to pat myself on the back for what I perceive to be better mothering practices.

She is trying. I am trying. You are trying. And maybe some days, your efforts and my efforts aren’t truly our best. But on those days, do we really need or want to judge or be judged? Ultimately, aren’t we as mothers much more similar than different?

As mothers, we are each other’s worst critics.
What a tragedy.
Let’s do better.

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