screaming child
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Can moms have it all? Turns out the answer is yes, if by “all” we’re referring to “all the judgments on their parenting skills.”

According to a new study that surveyed more than 2,000 parents, a whopping 48% of mothers feel judged by strangers within their own community, while only 24% of dads felt the same way. While strangers might be the most egregious example, mothers also felt significantly more judgment on their parenting skills from their in-laws and family members than fathers did.

Why is this? It almost certainly comes down to the different standards we apply to different genders of parents. While we tend to applaud dads for being involved parents on any level, we expect so much more from moms — and judge them accordingly when they fall short of those expectations.

For example, maybe we see a dad taking his kid to the playground. We might think, “Awww, what a great, engaged dad!” Meanwhile, there are 20 moms taking their kids to the same playground that get no recognition because we expect them to be there. “Of course they’re taking their kids to the playground,” we think, perhaps subconsciously. “That’s what moms do. I sure hope they’re using non-toxic sunscreen. And is that mom on her cellphone over there instead of paying attention to her daughter? Ugh. She should be more engaged.”

Another interesting finding from this study was that moms seem to have internalized these judgments, and have a harder time living up to their own standards compared to dads. Eighty-four percent of fathers categorized themselves as “a really good parent,” while only 79% of moms would say the same about themselves as parents.

The takeaway here? We need to even out the expectations we place on parents of both genders and replace judgment with compassion. Parenting is ridiculously hard no matter your gender or your circumstances.

Moms, be kind to yourselves and each other! You’re doing a great job.