The best parents are those who haven't had kids yet. I was guilty of this as well, knowing for sure what my kids would and wouldn't do.
I knew they would always be dressed in clean clothes with matching socks and tied shoes. They wouldn't have sugar that first year. And maybe the second. They would never sleep in my bed. They would always speak respectfully to me, about me, to girls, and about girls. Tantrums? No need to mention those, since they wouldn't be part of our vocabulary.
I had it all figured out. And then I had two boys, and my pride ever erodes with more and more rainstorms of reality.
So there's a certain grace I have for not-yet-moms, although it's not a super wide margin in which I want to hear their criticism and idealism. They just don't know yet how freaking blessed hard this is, day in and day out, forever and ever, and it never stops even when you're asleep.
But I had a new encounter this week. Twice.
Two moms with grown children said to me, with a tone of judgment and disgust, "I can't believe your stories. My sons never, ever behaved that way. And if they had, I would have handled it better than you did just now."
Isn't that the most edifying and encouraging way to bless a young mom? You might imagine, I'm not quite over it.
I do not understand mean-spirited people. I am always shocked by their lack of sensitivity and boundaries and willingness to just keep plowing forward, leaving so much damage in their wake. I do not get it.
And right here, right now, God I ask you to put a guard over my lips, tie my hands, so that I may never speak or write such judgement.
Look for a mom to encourage today. Even if your kids never behaved quite as badly as hers. Try to bless and encourage with grace, not judge with self righteousness. She's got a long road ahead of her, and it doesn't end tonight at bedtime.