If you are like most of us, you have questioned your parenting. Why does he make such irresponsible choices? Am I too lenient? Do I spend enough quality time with them? And if you are like me, oftentimes the answers are a little skewed from reality because we are judging ourselves harshly. Don’t get me wrong, of course there are decisions that in hindsight, probably needed more thought or direction but I am here to remind you and myself, that we are all doing the very best we can in every moment.
In thinking about this, I have thought about how judgment has played a role in my life. I come from a place of harsh judgment, never smart enough, never pretty enough, bottom line… never enough. As difficult as it has been to deal with issues of self-worth, judgment has a familiar and comfortable feeling, whether I am being judged or doing the judging. I replay past judgments as if they apply to me today. I sometimes seek out opinions from others and tend to lean into the condemnations rather than praise. If we want to move away from judgment all together, a start is to recognize how it serves you and to reject all of it. Treat accolades and criticisms the same, as unnecessary baggage. Judgments are opinions about a past action. They keep us there rather than focused on what is, here and now. If we focus on the present we can take better action now!
Another culprit, who is often to blame for much of the mischief in my life, is ego. After having many past judgments on repeat, I have really worked on being the best version of myself. I have reflected, read books, been in counseling, taken seminars, etc.. I am in fact, a parent coach and should be the very best at this parenting thing. Except when I am not. When something doesn’t go as planned with my children, I am often left confused, ashamed and doubting my abilities as a mother. My kid; how could that have happened to my kid? Why did I react that way? What does it say about me as a mother? And the truth is, despite all the effort we put into being our best parent selves, we make mistakes, our children make mistakes, and it makes us no less stellar parents. I am working on giving myself some grace and telling my ego to pipe down. The current moment reflects the best that I can give and do.
Like many sources of struggle, judgment is a creation constructed internally. Part of releasing judgment is to release rigid, unrealistic expectations. We should all set expectations for our children as well as how we parent them but they should also be attainable without straining our relationships. Our little friend, the ego, always wants perfection and most importantly, MORE. One more point on a test grade, one more award, one more thing to brag about your child doing. The problem lies when we do not get the more. The questions resurface about your child and your own worth. Neither which is changed by the more. Instead of the judgment about you and/or your child, use whatever the situation is as a way to connect (free from the should-of/ could-ofs or next time). Be present to what IS your relationship with your child and the awareness that you both are doing your very best here and now.
Did I mention that you are doing your very best, here and now? Celebrate it!