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There's a Right Way (and Wrong) Way to Judge Other Moms

Have you seen the new "advermentary" calling for an end to the mommy wars? I thought I had just coined that term, by the way, but it turns out it is fairly common now. Advermentary describes advertising that looks like a mini-documentary. Popular formula producer Similac has just released a 7 and a half-minute video that more than a few women have been posting on social media.

On the surface, you see a collection of attractively groomed young women, all new moms, who confess to the camera their sins of judgment. "I judge women who bottle feed," reports one. "I judge working moms," says another. "I judge women who don't put their babies in overtly gendered clothing," (Really? This is a thing?) says the gal who sits with a designer to map out a nursery plan.

Meanwhile, the mom who wants to raise a gender-neutral child judges mothers who spend any amount of time or money planning a nursery.

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Come on, ladies! Do we really have this little to think about that we have time to feel anger and resentment towards families who paint and decorate differently than we do? Of course not. Which is what makes this kind of advertising diminishing to all women.

Here is the truth: People judge, all of us. We just do. Men judge, women judge. Spend five minutes on a playground or in a retirement community and you will find children and old folks who judge, too. It is the human condition that, somehow in our modern times, has become a mortal sin.

The mommy wars are built on it, suggesting that moms have the corner on this whole judgment market.

Let me start a trend and openly acknowledge that I judge. There, I said it. My guess is you do, too, because if you are reading this you are human, and, as already established, humans judge. Our species is a judgmental one.

There is a difference, though, between having a judgmental thought and acting on it. Go ahead and think all your thinky thoughts. It's OK. Honestly, it is. We all do it. What we don't all do is act on those thoughts.

If you find yourself typing away about moms who enjoy a glass of wine in their last trimester of pregnancy, stop. If you are giving the side-eye to a mom on the playground who is checking her email while her kid is running around, stop. If you find yourself sharing an article on a "kind parenting" page about how crying-it-out is tantamount to child abuse, stop. If you sniff at the cheap umbrella stroller at the zoo while you pop your own stroller that cost the same as a mortgage payment into the back of your mini-van, stop.

Let's all take a deep breath. Think all the thoughts you want, but draw the line at those thoughts seeping into any of your actions, large or small. You can do it. You can! The divisiveness that new mothers are exposed to is epidemic these days, and it is hurting all of us. When large corporations start to profit off of that judgment, or invest large sums of money to make advermentaries about it, it has gone too far.

This current generation of mothers is raising their children in this trumped up environment of the "mommy wars," where everything is up for debate, and someone is always doing it better than you and will be happy to point out each and every one of your mistakes. That compass that should exist, the one that guides us as new mothers, that sense of faith and camaraderie, is hidden—if not totally missing. It can be brutal out there, yes, but has it gotten so bad that we need a corporate entity to point that out to us?

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I mean, seriously, not to be all socialist (don't judge me!), but when corporations become the voice of reason and empathy, well, we have a problem. Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat (bad analogy—don't judge me! I love cats!), there is more than one way to raise a child. We are better than this, ladies.

Trust your ability to make your own decisions. Trust your neighbor's and sister's and cousin's and friend's and fellow classroom mom's ability to make her own decisions, too. What you shouldn't trust is the warm fuzzies you feel after being suckered into watching a 7-minute commercial about how awful women can be to one another. There are some pretty savvy marketing executives somewhere betting on you not being able to do better.

But my bet is on you. Because while I may judge you, I believe in you, too.

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