Dear Mom, When Judgment Makes You Want to Hide

I like to dance naked.

This could have been a sweet whisper made by my four-year-old privately in the safety of our home.

Except it wasn’t. It was his cheerful declaration to a room full of people as my husband’s boss formally introduced us to the staff.

Lucky for me, my husband jumped in with a timely rebuttal of “He gets that from his Mom.” Lucky for him our couch is comfortable.

Cute, innocent moments make great stories.

Like the time I asked my toddler where his tic tac went before the closing prayer at church. To which he pointed to his teeny, tiny tic-tac shaped nostril. {sidenote: dissolving mint burns slightly}.

Or when my youngest blurted out to our neighbour, “Sometimes my mom beats me” –  referring to board games, NOT wooden spoon discipline.

Or when I forgot to pack spare pants in the diaper bag and had to stuff my toddler’s legs into the arms of his winter coat so we didn’t have to leave the Mommy group early.

Or the time….that is likely about to happen today that I don’t even know about yet.

Failing can be funny.

Except when it isn’t.

What about the times we hope the earth will open up and swallow us whole because we are embarrassed, or worse, ashamed. Suddenly wins of the day vanish and failures whisper on repeat if we let them.

Raising tiny humans is hard. Being vulnerable is hard. Doing our best every minute of every day is hard. It’s not that we expected it to be easy, right? But maybe just not this hard?

So we draw hope from friends in the same stage. The ones we can shoot a knowing look as our little ones gear up for an epic mall freak out. Or the ones we call when our husbands accidentally eats the last cookie we had already promised to Little Bear.  We huddle with those who really understand.

We embrace the fact that we are all frayed. And we try to breathe deeply, embracing frailty. We seek out hope.

Can this community rally together without criticism or critics? Can this be a place of hope where we learn from each other? I hope so. Because don’t we all need a place where we can be real about the hashtagmomfails? A place where parenting can feel less lonely?

This was my dream when I carved out this tiny corner of the online world. I wanted you to feel safe to share and I wanted to feel the same way. And since my topics tend to be encouraging and not controversial, I guess I naively didn’t see this coming.

This comment was recently posted here:

<Ironic you have a parenting website when…..[insert personal attack on one of my kids] >


For a moment, judgment trampled my hope. This no longer felt like a safe place. I wanted to hide in the darkness and choose to journey alone again. I wanted to run for cover and tattle on this schoolyard bully. Isn’t it striking how quickly pain can make us regress?

But I know better. I know that nothing good can come from isolation and withdrawing.

So to the one who hoped to post this publicly to hurt me, I need you to know I am sorry.

I am sorry you had to hide behind an anonymous comment to send me a message you felt I needed to hear. I am sorry technology makes this easy and acceptable instead of us having a real-life conversation that could bring clarity or at least understanding.

I am sorry you felt I was claiming to be an expert on raising children. Truthfully, I call it a good day when everyone wears underwear and has matching socks. I am simply a Mom, ankle deep in her own journey. And I’m trying to offer hope and humour to others whether they are wading in the muck or enjoying a mountain view.

I am sorry I gave your words too much weight. That I let them sucker-punch the joy out of the lifegiving day I was having with my boys. I am especially sorry I paused my day to be online at all.


dear mom

To all the moms who have felt the sting of judgment, from a stranger or a friend, through loathing eyes or an all-caps cruel font….I’m sorry for your pain. I know this small example pales in comparison to what many of you have experienced.

We teach our children the power of words, yet sometimes forget ourselves. Sticks and stones and all that.

For those moments when you want to hide, when those blanket covers call you to safety, I understand.

Just breathe.

Take care of precious you. Do something lifegiving. Hug your little one. Smell the flowers. And when you are ready, step back out into the light.

Share with those who will love your unravelled bits unconditionally and help knit you back together.

And know that there is a loving God who wants to help to heal your heart. Whether you have been bruised or pummelled, pour a coffee and sip some truth from this song.


This article originally appeared at:

Karen Gauvreau
Karen Gauvreau would gladly squeeze her four-baby-body into a cheerleading outfit if it meant you knew someone was rooting for you as a Mom. She would cartwheel for your victories and offer a pep talk when you are getting pummelled. She wants every Mom to feel understood and valuable for their sacred role. And if she makes you laugh in the process, even better. You can find her over at Lightly Frayed, parenting four boys ages 5 to 16 with hope and humour {most days}. Catch her writing at,

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