I've come to notice a change and I'm proud to say I think it's coming from my generation.
Today I was out with my lovely 18 month old all over town running errands. I dropped in a resale store that I go to often to see if I could consign a few of Vi's old clothes that will be the wrong season for Lila (I'm crafty, but even I don't know how to salvage long sleeve christmas onesies and make them work for July). While at the store my child started having a meltdown. You know, a "scream at the top of my lungs and cry and want up and then kick to get down, and then beg to be picked back up" type of meltdown. If you have never experienced this, well, you must not have ever had an 18 month old. It's completely normal. I was not panicked. I was not embarrassed. I could tell the sales lady was a little uncomfortable, so I told her that at this age my child has no less than 20 "the world is ending" episodes a day, and that it's not a cause for concern. I basically ignore them unless I know there is a legitimate reason/need not being met causing the behavior. At that point I noticed a few other moms in the store who had taken notice, and when I explained to the sales lady, I saw smiles. They knew. I didn't have to talk to those other moms to know they weren't judging me. A simple smile let me know that they understood exactly what I was going through and the futility of fighting or even apologizing for my child's behavior.
I have a piece of paper from our pediatrician describing in great detail my child's exact behavior (even though it is a handout given to ALL moms at the 18 month check up). It also states I should not take my child anywhere I would not feel comfortable with having her throw a tantrum. As it turns out, I don't care if her world ends while I'm at the grocery store, a clothing store, or even church. Do you know why? Because I have been given the freedom to parent according to my own convictions. I am careful about what I say in public and keep my more debatable parenting convictions to myself or share them person to person rather than throwing it out to the wolves. For the most part, I don't see judgement.
That's what makes me excited. Women my age have embraced reality. In spite of the pressure of super mom on Pinterest and perfect pictures on Instagram, we've managed to get over it all and accept that life at home is hard. Children do not act or look the way we want them to all the time. Our homes are messy. We don't shower nearly as often as we wish we could. We are too tired to compete. There is always dirty laundry and dirty dishes. We try to feed our families healthy foods, but sometimes we feed our kids cereal for dinner. I am so thankful for the other mommies out there with blogs that reflect real life. I'm thankful to women I almost never interact with in real life, but, through facebook, feel like kindred spirits because they aren't afraid to post photos with laundry baskets in the background and toys all over the floor while their children wear mismatched clothes or run around in underwear. That's real life.
I still see women who pass judgement on other moms, but the point is I'm seeing it less and less. What I'm seeing more is the great response of honest mommies who rise up in defense when they see another mom being criticized. It gives me hope that some day when my girls are older and become moms, they will have a community of support instead of a community of criticism. I pray that women in the church would rise up with honesty and transparency because that's what women need. We need someone genuine who feels what we feel. We need someone to smile in such a way that let's us know they get it. We need to know that our feelings are valid. They are.
We understand. We really do. If we don't, it's only because we haven't been there yet, but trust me, our day is coming.