Hey you. Yes, you. Lean in. I have something to tell you. And it’s important. Sit down, put your feet up and grab a cocktail (or two). Breathe deep, and let’s go.
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.
Minnesota Mamaleh: Judgement, Shmudgement
Hey you. Yes, you. Lean in. I have something to tell you. And it’s important. Sit down, put your feet up and grab a cocktail (or two). Breathe deep, and let’s go.
Very Interesting Post, as Always, my dear…
First, let me say Happy Holidays to you….
Judgements. OY! I’m afraid, the older I get the more I am judging people, TV, Movies, our Politicians, etc., etc., etc….I’m not happy that this is true, but, it seems to be the way things are going. I truly was not so judgemental as a younger person. Maybe it is, that at this point, I don’t give a damn anymore about accepting all sorts of things that just bug the hell out of me. Life is hard and then, it gets harder.
Oh, I am still very accepting of all sorts of things and people…but, well…..I just want to be surrounded by good things and things that please me.
I sound really old and crochety….LOL!
Carl Rogers wrote a book called “On Becoming a Person” which changed my life. In it, he talks about holding other people in “unconditional positive regard.” My rabbi calls it recognizing we’re all b’tzelem elohim – made in the image of God.
The idea is to always regard others in a positive light. Every time I start to think something bad about someone, I try to stop myself and try to see if I can possibly come up with any reason why it might make sense for them to say/wear/do whatever it is I’m feeling critical about. The more I practice it, the more it just comes naturally.
And Galit, seriously, you must already do this too. Have you ever read the responses you make to comments on your blog? They are all positive, all the time. It may be possible that you’re less judgemental than you think.
It is difficult not to judge people, and when I find myself doing so, I remind myself to stop, look and think. The other person is who they are, and doesn’t have to model themselves after me or a set standard.
We are all one in the flicker of time.
Shabbat Shalom! May you be sealed in the Book of Life.
Very good post. Exhausted from fasting but wanted to say I enjoyed reading this.
The most unfriendly mother at the entire school (seriously) talked to me yesterday morning. I left this message for my friend whose son was turning 18 that same day:
which is more incredible, D turning 18 (WHOA) or most unfriendly mother in the school talking to me? On one day? Pigs can fly!
It’s always so good to remind ourselves that holding onto judgements serves no one well.
I agree with the commenter above: you bring out so much positiveness from your readers that you must be far less judgmental than you possibly imagine yourself to be. Happy New Year!
We’re all human, and being human includes the good and bad. In the Kol Nidre, Wiping The Slate
prayer we’re told that we must include the sinners. And in the Ketoret, the special incense used in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and Holy Temple, there’s a herb which is very bitter on its own but a necessary ingredient.
I think we’re all programmed to judge, it just depends how much programming we’ve received. I used to be pretty judgemental, especially over the parenting skills of other mothers. A friend and I would sit over really strong coffee and cackle at the inabilities of other mothers to parent as well as we did. We knew we were being judgemental, but the game was fun all the same.
Then one horrible year I was the one who was judged, publicly, privately, personally. Makes you think. I still judge these days, but with the “walk a mile in her shoes” cliche running through my head.
I’m still the best mom in the world. Aren’t we all?
This issue means a lot to me. I’ve noticed that the rabbi’s never say don’t judge – because it’s human – they just say to do it properly, slowly, carefully, emphatically. We all do it. And yet. The real problem with laoshon harah maybe acting like an ultimate judge…
sarah shapiro has a great article in her book – don’t you know it’s a perfect world? it’s called when noam said no and it’s spot on aboout mamma’s judging one another in the playground.
This is a lesson that I’m still learning. Since I’ve gone back to work, I watch parents drag their kids by the arm, let them drink coffee in my store, let them run free, ignore them, yell at them… all the things that made me roll my eyes before I had kids. I just try to remember all the things I said we would “never” do as parents and smile.
We all judge others. I think that it is human nature. It is not necessarily a bad thing- the question is what we do with it. How we act, how we respond. These are the key things or so I think.
thank you much, friends! i seriously *love* hearing from you!
naomi, i cannot imagine describing you as old or crotchety! i, too, love to be surrounded by good people. it (they, i guess) bring me up! thanks for the note, lady!
susan, hi there! thanks much for the book recommendation. i’m excited to read it! and you’re right– i don’t see being judgmental as a huge part of me. i don’t even know if i’d necessarily use that adjective to describe myself, but i do judge sometimes. human nature, always room for improvement, and all that jazz, right? but thanks for the vote of confidence. i could sure use that some days!
jew wishes, thank you, as always, for your comment, which i always read as poetry! 🙂
susie, thank you for your kind words. i hope you had a meaningful fast and that your tummy is full and happy now! 🙂
sarah, as always thank you– for relating, connecting, making me smile. and in this case for using the term, “pigs can fly” here! 🙂
batya, hi there! thank you for your comment and words. i love the praying together aspect of yom kippur. it puts us all on the same step, at the same time. it’s humbling, really.
mirj, why yes. yes you *are* the best mom EVER. hello! that’s a given! lol thanks for the note, and perspective, lady. both are much appreciated!
neil, hi there! i love the words that you chose: properly, slowly, carefully, emphatically. thanks also for the book recommendation. it sounds important and right up my alley!
beckie, hi there! thanks so much for the visit and note. and you’re absolutely right– we see things so-very-differently pre and post having our own kids!!
& jack, thanks much for the words-o-wisdom. all 100% true. the instinct is natural. the “then what” is the rub.
I care way too much what people think! Actually, I should clarify that I care too much about what certain people think! I can’t figure out why and I hate that I do it but I do it.
I was able to click through your email to make it work but for some reason I cannot access your page otherwise. Very odd?
wow, well said and well articulated, lady! sometimes we just need to be without being scrutinized for our every move. i am glad we connected and i look forward to what’s on your mind next.
I’m not a Mama and guess that’s not on the cards for me and mine BUT I have my hands full enough with all the other stuff that I do (and don’t!) to empathise (or not!) to get where you’re coming from.
My Yom Kippur just… wasn’t. I had such high hopes for it last yeat, I had dreams for the whole High Holy Day experience, yada yada yada, since it would be my first as a Jew. But it didn’t happen like that and I spent too much time fuming because I didn’t get what I wanted out of it.
Until it came to me right near the end that what I had done was busy, busy, busy at enabling others to get that spiritual thing that they needed. To get that aliyah, that mitzvah that they needed or wanted at their once a year appearance in shul. To hear someone read in wonderful expressive English and/or Hebrew on a day that mattered to them. To be part of a communal whole. It mattered not that I was one of the paddling feet furiously trying to keep up and make sure people did things at the appointed time, that the candles were lit, that the Machzorim were ready, the announcements made, the this, the that and the other.
Next year. Next year. Next year.
And I judged. I judged others for just swanning in with 5 minutes to go, whilst I turned up to prepare and organise and do. But I learned that I had learned valuable things from that. That this year they needed to not be doing, that this year, I needed to be doing, even though at the time, I felt my burden was already too much. Well, in fact it wasn’t. I am still here, I learned, I lived, and I benefitted in spades.
Next year. Next year.
I remember a long time ago someone told me that ‘judgement’ was a form of self-preservation. Which makes a lot of sense.
We size-up situations and people and determine whether or not they are a threat to our existence. I get that. I get that our ‘existence’ isn’t always a life or death matter, too; it’s often just our own little world of beliefs and our way of living.
So, it’s natural. What isn’t natural is how some people will then voice their opinions about their judgement, if you know what I mean. The gossip, the ugliness, the self-important, holier-than-thou attitude. It’s unnecessary and not becoming.
We all judge, right? Some people just do it with a little more class than others. Like you.
Great post! It’s so true too. I’d like to say “I only judge the people who judge me” because they are the ones that upset me the most. But judgements usually come from a place of insecurity about ourselves, don’t you think? I know it does for me. Looking forward to reading more. Good thoughts.
ammena, hi girl, thanks for being persistent with me! i so appreciate it and i also so hear you! sensitive, caring, worrying. *sigh* it’s nice to know i’m not alone there! excellent to hear from you. 🙂
real LA love story, thanks much for the note & right back at you! hooray for blog-love! 🙂
rachel, hi! so great to hear from you. wow! such a thoughtful, insightful comment. it sounds like you’ve gone full circle in your thoughts from this year’s experience. it also sounds like you gave (and gave and gave and gave some more). i hope that all of that giving and goodness comes right back around to you- and soon!
christine, hi there! i so love getting your perspective on things. it’s always (yes, always) a breath of fresh air! and as for the classy comment right back at you BIG TIME lady! thanks for the note. 🙂
& cori, thanks so much for the visit and comment. i’m seriously loving connecting with you and am so, so looking forward to learning and sharing (but not necessarily judging! :)) more! 🙂
Good question, good answer.
thank you hannah! it’s excellent to hear from you, as always!
Awesome post. I’m not proud of it, but there have been times that I’ve found myself second guessing the way I’m disciplining my kids in public because I’m afraid of what other mothers will think of me. Something I need to work on, but nice to know that other moms have been concerned about being judged too.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday . . .and I am totally the mom whizzing by everyone else, with my hair in a ponytail (that likely has not been washed in 4 days), completely OBLIVIOUS to her surroundings b/c i am so exhausted and FLAT OUT that I have no clue!
How funny it was to come across this post! I am exactly the same way: consider myself open minded and loving of diversity, yet don’t care to be around people who are not the same way.I think Old Lady of the Hills had a really good point, though. Life is much too short to surround yourself with people whose company you don’t enjoy. 🙂 You seem like a pretty awesome person and I don’t think anyone can blame you for not looking forward to another convo with the unfriendliest mom at school.
I loved this post. It’s so true! We all judge and many parents believe that they are doing the “right” thing. I actually wrote a similar post on judgment. Here: http://www.oldschoolnewschoolmom.com/2010/11/judgment.html
I’m taking some time tonight to look at older posts and very glad I read this one – one that gives you pause a bit. I’m constantly saying: I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t hurt a child or an animal. I consider myself to be extremely open minded, compassionate and nonjudgmental, with the prior exception. But the truth is, I do allow the stinky, not good for me stuff to creep in my mind at times; the worry about what someone else will think and the critical thought about others stuff. I’m not sure where it comes from but I believe unless you are a highly evolved human being, you have it. It’s how you handle those inner feelings and thoughts that matter. And I think the older we get, the more those little stinky things are inconsequential because we learn to put more value on what matters most. In any event, a lot of thoughts about this post but will end here – great one Galit!