Today's Family Summer 2014

Page 41


Seek support. As a mom, you need layers of support, including an inner circle of other moms who make you feel valued. “Find truly supportive friends—moms you can confide in who you know won’t take what you tell them any further,” says Sue Hubbard, M.D., a Dallas pediatrician and host of the The Kid’s Doctor. It may take some play date experimenting to find your inner circle. The pay-off? “Moms who receive support are confident, happier, and more fulfilled,” Dr. Hubbard says. Your inner circle can change over time as you and your kids change. But there’s no better relationship than with other trusted moms in the trenches. That said, the mommysphere on the Internet shouldn’t be your inner circle. Not all discussions need to involve everyone. “There are many decisions you can make on your own or with that inner group of friends,” Dr. Hubbard says.

was on an airplane. A woman with a preschool-age boy sat in the row behind her. “The child, who was sitting above the wing, kept telling his mom he couldn’t see. When the mom said, ‘Will you just shut up! Everyone is looking at you,’ I started to judge her,” Smith says. “Then I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute. You have no idea what her day has been like. You don’t know if her child has pushed every single button. You’ve told your children to shut up before.’” Instead of turning around and saying something not so nice, Smith stayed facing forward, which seemed to be the most helpful thing to do at the moment since the mom was concerned about attracting attention. Dr. Hubbard agrees with Smith’s “stop and think” approach. When you feel the urge to judge others, “Ask yourself, ‘I wonder what happened in that mom’s life to make her feel or act that way?’” Dr. Hubbard says. If you decide to

“Surveys show that 95 percent of moms feel judged by just about everything these days, from working or not working and their choice of infant feeding to their discipline approaches and the sleep methods they use with their kids.” If you decide to share something online, however, whether it be a tweet, text, Facebook post, or blog post, use the front door rule: “If you don’t want to put it on the front door for your own mother to see, don’t push send,” Dr. Hubbard says.

Trust your “momtuition.” Sometimes, you just know you’re right about a parenting decision, such as deciding not to send your child to summer camp. In those stances, go with it. “Don’t secondguess yourself or go online to get others’ opinions,” Dr. Hubbard says. Similarly, if you have a tough parenting decision to make, such as whether to put your child on ADHD medication, get an expert’s advice.

Don’t bully. As a mom yourself, it’s impossible not to question other moms’ parenting tactics. Still, resist the urge to inflict your opinion. Instead, stop, think, and consider the potential big picture. Recently, for example, Danielle Smith, founder of,

intervene, share your ideas in a positive manner, such as “Would you like to switch seats so your son can see out the window?”

Consider criticism just information. Likewise, if you feel judged, consider the judger’s perspective. U.S. Olympic gold medalist Keri Walsh Jennings was walking through the infant formula section at Target recently with her third child, 1-month-old daughter Scout, when she got the stink eye from another mom. “I took a deep breath and said to myself, ‘She has no idea I’m a low-producing woman; that my kids starve when I only feed them breast milk because my milk is too low in fat.’ So I gave the lady a smile and grabbed two boxes for formula,” Walsh Jennings says. “Knowing why I’m doing what I’m doing empowers me.” Walsh Jennings also thinks critics serve a purpose. “They make you think, ‘You’re right. I could adjust this,’ or ‘You know what? I’m kicking butt and I’m not changing a thing.”


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