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Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to Eliminate Judge/Be Judged Mentality

Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to Eliminate Judge/Be Judged Mentality

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions with Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.



Breastfeed or formula feed? Epidural or au-naturel? Organic or conventional? Vaccines or no vaccines? Re-usable or disposable diapers? Time-outs or Time-ins? Crib or Co-sleeping? School, homeschool or unschool? The questions seem so simple on the surface but most parents know, the choices, the possibilities are endless and these questions have started wars in the parenting world.

In my experience, pretty much the day the pregnancy test has two lines on it, parenting advice will be dished out as rapidly as those little cells that are replicating and transforming inside the womb. Decisions about pre-natal care, delivery options, how to feed, where to put baby to sleep, what “method” works and so on… the information comes overflowing, the advice abundant and no sooner will you be sure of your decisions, someone will disagree with you.

Watching others parent in ways that are so contrary to one’s own can be difficult, even infuriating at times and lead to passing judgement. Not following advice from a loved one or a trusted friend might feel wrong or disloyal or perhaps make one feel judged.

In my first year of motherhood, insecure and “green” I put my foot in my mouth more often than a five month old discovering his feet, and I’ll admit it – I sometimes judged other mama’s all too quickly.

Judging and feeling judged however I have learned often comes from a place of insecurity or perhaps a sense of being out of control. On the other hand, when we are feeling secure, open hearted and at ease, it is much more difficult for that judge/judgment mentality to enter our thoughts much less weaken our hearts.

Over the past five years, I have worked on finding my “mama-groove”; my way of coping with questions, listening to recommendations, dropping judgement and dealing with potentially bad advice. To maintain inner peace and not lose sight of what is important to me and my family I try to practice these five things:

Being Centered: Regardless if being on the receiving end of the judgment or feeling the need to judge others, taking time to re-center and focus my thoughts on love and compassion and act from a place of peace helps me regain inner balance.

“Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand.” -unknown

Being Empathetic: Parents go through so many of the same situations, trying to step into another parents shoes and trying to understand what they are going through is a sure fire way to erase judgement and replace it with empathy, understanding and care. It is easy to get caught up on “I will nevers” just to find ourselves in that very situation contemplating the very thing we would never do. As such, I have replaced the “I would never” thinking with empathy and try to keep an open mind.

Being Authentic:  Modifying my parenting style just to please a family member or “public” pressure is a trap I have learned to avoid . For the most part I like to follow my instincts and the needs of my family, so although we are adventurous and flexible, being authentic and true to my parenting style is important too.

Being Neutral: In my first year of motherhood I quickly realized that certain parenting topics, are like religion and politics, and best not discussed in certain circles or circumstances. I will not discuss my views on intactivism, CIO, or breastfeeding or non-punitive discipline certain places as I know it will just create upheaval. This is not to mean that I cannot be passionate about these topics, just that I choose where to discuss them.

Being Confident: Sometimes listening to other points of view, agreeing to disagree and moving on is a good way to avoid conflict or feeling judged. Being confident in your own parenting/life choices and trusting your instincts and research can help you know that even if you are hearing information that is incorrect or not grooving with what you believe in, the judge/be judge mentality will not seep in.

Although I have found my mama-groove, I’ll admit it, discussions on spanking can still get me a bit riled up.  What parenting topic has the potential to throw you off your groove?

Image: photostock /



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it’s from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural – Just Don’t Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother’s groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the “Mommy-space” online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God’s Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles… — Jenny at I’m a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents’ worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting – Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she’s learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.