Three Reasons Why I am a “Judgy Mom” and Three Ways to Stop

Written by Erin Kerry
Published on June 12, 2020

This is embarrassing, but I’m just going to say it.

I judge people. 

I know it isn’t culturally acceptable. I know it isn’t trending on Twitter. And I know what Jesus says…but hear me out.

Lately, my social media exposure has gone way up. As I write this, I am on week eleven of social distancing and sheltering in place. Because so many things have been cancelled, and I am not as distracted by events, appointments, and meetings, I have more downtime. 

Like many of us, I use that downtime scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I read articles, opinions, heated comments, and look at all of the pretty quarantine pictures.

I develop my own commentary and reactions based on what I see others post. I hate to admit it, but it isn’t always nice. 

I catch myself getting angry because someone views a situation differently than me. I become frustrated when another person interprets regulations in a different way than I do. And I struggle with understanding how some of my peers can just post funny memes, not taking anything seriously at all.

I judge them. 

Sneaky character flaws

That judgment also takes the form of comparison. I compare myself to the mom whose kids are on a perfect schedule, the friend who is crushing her workout goals, and the person who is baking beautiful creations while also taking on impressive crafting tasks. 

I do strive to be self-aware. 

I read my Bible frequently and seek to stay grounded in truth. I seek forgiveness for my envy and comparison all of the time. Still, I am a classic Romans seven girl—the things I want to do are the things I don’t do, and the things I don’t want to do are the things I do. 

And it shows up in my judgy internal dialogue while I browse through social media.

During some recent contemplation, it hit me. The increasing frequency of my judgment of others stems from my own response to stress. 

It stems from a few sneaky character flaws, flaws that I am not always consciously aware of. I believe that acknowledging my flaws, and examining the truths that counter them, is key to having a better attitude (and maybe a little more grace).

Three Reasons I Judge

First: Pride

I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with pride. Pride is likely the biggest contributor to my judgment and criticism. 

Deep down, I want to be seen as better and more efficient than other people. I compare myself often because I am prideful and hold myself to a higher standard than I could ever live up to. 

When I perceive others are living up to that standard, it injures my pride and causes envy and comparison to creep into my thoughts and mind.

Second: Fear

Behind my judgment lies a great deal of fear, fear in so many forms. 

I fear what is beyond my control. I fear not looking proficient or educated. 

When another person’s opinion threatens my belief system, I fear my explanation might be inadequate and that I might lack the words to explain my viewpoint in an intellectual manner. 

I fear that my own idea of safety and security will be threatened. I fear that my way of doing things is really the wrong way and someone else’s is the right way. 

I fear that I will be viewed as a fake and a fraud, or a Pharisee. (Whew, that’s a lot of fear!)

Third: Mirroring

I judge because I see faults in other people that magnify my own weaknesses. 

I don’t like people who post or say things as if they are always right. Why? Because I too believe that I am always right, and I have experienced how that has hindered my relationships. 

It’s not a character trait I admire about myself. 

I find that the people who I judge and criticize the most, often possess tendencies I don’t like to see in myself. Let’s be honest—it is much easier to point out the pebbles in their eyes than the boulders in mine! 

When I am focused on what is wrong with everyone else, I don’t have to hold myself accountable to my own flaws, and I don’t have to change.

What is the solution?

Submission

By submitting to the Father’s work in my life, and seeking his kingdom first, I can resign as General Manager of the Universe

I am not in control of how other people parent, live their lives, or respond to stressful times. Hebrews 12:1 tells me I need to set aside my every weight and sin, and run the race set before me with endurance. I am running my race, not anyone else’s. 

When I get distracted by other runners or people on the sidelines, I lose my footing. I don’t see the hurdle in front of me. I take my eyes off the goal, off of seeking first his kingdom. 

Submission is foundational. If I don’t surrender, I can’t proceed to the next two steps.

Mental revision

I need to reframe the way I look at others. I need to renew my mind. I want to view others as teammates in this race of life, not as rivals. When I do reframe my thinking, I can celebrate and support them, instead of comparing and criticizing them.

Compassion

Not only do I want to foster a sense of compassion toward others, but also toward myself. 

I need to be able to acknowledge that I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t have it all together, and I don’t know the best option in every situation. I am not God

I don’t have the control I think I have, and I definitely cannot control what other people say. With compassion, I can accept that I’m doing the best I can every day, through his power, and that it’s okay to fail. 

Extend grace in every circumstance

When I take a step back from my internal criticism, and love others well with humility, I gain a fresh perspective. 

I recognize that everyone responds differently to times of stress, and I am no exception. 

Though my chronic judgment is only appearing on the inside, it greatly affects my external engagement. By learning to stay in my lane, and reframing my thoughts, I can be more content with what I have and who I am in Christ. 

More importantly, I can extend the same grace to others that I have received myself.

Live perfectly imperfect

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Erin Kerry

Erin Kerry is a preacher’s kid, preacher’s wife, and a former educator turned homeschool mom. She is wife to Richard and mom to Isabel (15), Roman (6), and Rhett (3). As a survivor of mental illness and a certified integrative nutrition health coach, Erin is passionate about advocating for mental health through her website, www.sparkingwholeness.com, and her podcast, Sparking Wholeness, which reaches hundreds of thousands of listeners each month.

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