The No Judgment Zone of Motherhood is pretty simple. You do you. I’ll do me. We both know we’re doing our best and so we don’t judge each other.
A nod of solidarity over re-warmed coffee seals the deal.
Except, here’s the thing, I don’t think some of us are playing by the rules. I’m not perfect, I include myself in this group, hence why I am writing this. We like the utopian idea of the No Judgment Zone, but some of us are judging and some of us are getting hurt when our way isn’t validated.
Motherhood isn’t some kind of game where we pit one team against another. Its lonely and frightening and we could all use a non-judgmental friend. We’re all doing our absolute best to hold it together whether we choose whole, organic fruit for an afternoon snack or the stale goldfish crackers in the car cup holder while we run to another activity. We face judgment around every corner. Our families, our childless friends, and every crazy person on the internet has an opinion on how we should be raising our babies. The No Judgment Zone is supposed to be our safe place. We can’t have a safe place if some people don’t play by the rules.
So I’m calling a time-out so we can review the 5 simple rules of the zone.
Rule #1: No judgment means any judgment
This seems simple but is hard in practice. I get it. We’ve all made our own decisions based on our own research or experiences. We really believe in the way we are doing our thing.
I think the old golden rule is the way to go here. Treat that other mom the way you want to be treated. I have my reasons for what I am doing and you have yours. It’s working for me, or maybe it’s not, but either way, no judgment.
Rule #2: No gossip
“My second cousin’s sister-in-law just had a baby and…” Unless you’re about to share an amazing mom-hack with your friends, then these kinds of stories are a foul in the mom zone.
Gossip only serves to reinforce our own ways of doing things. But this is judgment in itself. We’re judging ourselves by judging others. A vicious judgment loop that’s just ugly for all. So, no gossip, okay?
Rule #3: Your way does not have to be validated by other moms
No judgment doesn’t mean radical acceptance. To reiterate what I’ve said a few times before, we’re all doing our best and that means we will do things differently. I might never do things the way you do things. I have my reasons and you have yours. While I firmly believe in your right to do things your way; I don’t have to think it is the right way for me.
Rule #4: It’s okay to disagree and share your opinion
Sometimes people think no judgment means that you just have to keep your mouth shut and nod your head in acceptance. That actually runs afoul to rule #3, but I think the right to disagree and share opinions is so important that it gets a rule for itself.
A healthy and respectful exchange of opinions and ideas should always be welcome in the No Judgment Zone. What does healthy and respectful look like? It means no judgment from either side. There is no name calling. No rolling eyes. No hurt feelings. Just a calm conversation, hopefully over a yummy beverage, about the way you do things and why. With no expectation that you are going to change anyone’s mind.
We can all learn from each other, but we can’t do that if we all keep our mouths shut all the time. Maybe you’ve developed an ultimate mom hack that I need to know about. I want to know about it. Even if I never use it myself, I am better for knowing why you do what you do.
Rule #5: Safety trumps all rules
Obviously, the safety of all parties is most important. If there is a true safety concern, then all of the above rules are thrown out the window. (Except for gossip. We should all agree to just stop gossiping. It’s not productive.)
Let’s keep the No Judgment Zone a safe place for moms. It should be a place where we can vent, share ideas, ask for opinions and get support without fear. There is no Best Mom Award to be won at the end of the day, so it does no good to pit one side against the other. We’re all doing our best and we are better together.