I say this not as purely confessional 'I'm such a bad lady - look how cool I am, how edgy' (although let's be honest, that's in there too). Really its about calling bullshit on all of us who say we don't judge other mothers, because we do. Now, we might not scream in their faces or kick them out of the book club, but we do make sly and subtle comments. We do roll our eyes. We do run home to our partners or call up a girlfriend and say, 'Can you believe she did that? I would never do that!'
Most of the time, we don't actually think the other woman is a bad mother; we just want to feel superior about our own choices; be that organic milk or a strict 7:30 bedtime. And that's the part we should own.
We are so scared to fuck up this most important job, that we live in fear of 'doing the wrong thing'*. So we are vigilant in trying to pick out other mothers 'doing the wrong thing' so we can feel better. We feel better because we see someone else scream at their 4 year old or wear sweatpants to the grocery store. We also feel better because we know we aren't alone in our errors, our clumsy love, our eternal fear. Our judgment is actually just a sigh of relief that in this moment we aren't the ones screwing up. In that moment we are in control, totally making all the right choices.
Maybe you don't agree with me. Maybe you never think about how other mothers mother. Maybe you are more zen than I can ever dream of being. If so, don't judge me for my small, petty ways. These moments of superiority are fleeting and often have a bite of 'you are so small and hypocritical' at the end.
I guess we can find some comfort in the fact that we are never so cruel and unforgiving as we are with ourselves. You know, if being self-hating, unforgiving, and a horrible person is comforting. If so, I feel sorry for your kids. But I'm not judging...
* Let's not let the real bad guys off the hook here - the motherhood fear-mongers. Those in society and in the media who live to make us scared, to tell us the millions of ways our kids can be harmed. They like to point out all the ways we can make big, never-to-be-corrected mistakes. They like to point out that if we aren't forever vigilant our kids could be obese or unpopular or kidnapped or living in our basements for the rest of their lives. These meanies are actually just trying to distract us from focusing our energies on the big problems and holding the right people accountable for how unfriendly this country is for families and mothers. But I'm not going to get on that soapbox today. It's Mothers Day after all and I'm in need of a rest.