I’ve been that mom. Hair in place, outfit coordinated, make up on. This has happened to me- once or twice.
I’ve also been that mom. Ketchup on the shirt, ponytail falling out, disheveled purse in hand. This has also happened to me- more than once or twice.
And you know what? Either way, the thought that graces my brain and my heart is, “I wonder what they think.” Whoever “they” might be- other moms, dads, singles, olders, you. I always think it, just for an instant. And then I push it out of my mind.
It’s not a confidence thing. Or one of esteem. Or even image. Although who doesn’t carry around that baggage?
It’s just that IT, judgement that is, is so-very-prevalent. Especially in the Mama set. I know that I’ve done IT before: Why is she feeding, wearing, telling, saying, allowing that? So if I’ve done IT, perhaps you (and you, and you and you) have too. And it’s that’s kind of thinking that inspires the over-wondering, over-asking and over-analyzing that I do. Poor, poor Jason.
I view myself as an over-the-top open minded kind of Mama complete with a bleeding heart, a love of diversity and an appreciation of political correctness. But in reality? Way down deep inside? I only really and truly seek out others who are just like me.
Ouch. That hurt to say. Or write, I guess.
So tail-between-the-legs admittedly, I might tune out just a little bit if you’re the opposite of the bleeding heart version of me. And I might even gasp JUDGE you.
Even though I know that it’s wrong. And hurtful. And not the least bit helpful. I do it. And I own that. I’m not proud of it. I’m always working on it. But I do own it.
Life is a series of personal choices. As Moms, we make so many of those choices side-by-side that somewhere along the way, “mine” and “yours” become muddled and those oh-so-very-personal choices become other people’s business.
My brain could absolutely explode with all of the different decisions that I’ve made in my life that I had no knowledge, no experience, no business making. Just within my role as a mom I’ve (quickly) figured out my stance on working, nursing, immunizing, sugar-ing, cry-it-out-ing, time-out-ing and the list goes on and on. Some of these felt natural and easy to make and others were gut wrenching and difficult.
And even though I know this about my own experiences and can surely empathize with another Mama in the same boat, sometimes I don’t take the time to do so.
For example, I’ve been on both sides of the fence with a toddler screaming in the store. And yet when you’re breezing through the aisles, it’s so easy to forget how much you sweat when it’s your kids’ lung capacity that’s being shown off and there’s just no blessed breezing in sight.
Sometimes I can’t fathom why I even care about someone, anyone, else’s personal choices. Not in the cold-hearted way, but in the why aren’t I more fiercely focused on my own day-to-day? My own heart? My own circle, if you will? And why aren’t I more fiercely determined to ensure goodness, bliss and beauty within that same day-to-day, heart and circle? Sigh.
I suppose because it’s normal. And natural. And human. And I do get that.
While judgment comes from many different places, I do believe that most of IT comes from good. We’re just so sure that we’re doing the absolute best within our own lives, families, friends, religion, love. That sometimes, and only sometimes, we’re un-waverlingly positive that our vision is someone else’s as well. And that’s when IT rears ITs ugly head.
It’s Yom Kippur, a Day of Atonement. By now, human-to-human we’ve dug deep and done the hard work of owning our mistakes, apologizing for them and fixing them where appropriate. But today we face our own higher power. Whatever that might look or feel like to us. Internal or external, we give into being judged.
And really, isn’t that the only form that IT should take? Judgement that is? Internal. Personal. For betterment. Within love.
So the next time you see me and my hair’s out of place, or the dog is leashed onto the lawn stake or I give my kids a dirty look, look me in the eye. Smile. And say something like, “been there, done that, pass the chocolate.” Please? And I’m going to do my damnest to do the exact same. For you.