Each and every morning we walk into the hours ahead with the things we carry from the days before. Everything from our childhood experiences to yesterday’s battles shapes the day that lays ahead. Sometimes, we don’t even recognize these “things” because they are so engrained into the fabric of our being. Much of our opinions are formulated by the culture in which we were raised. This includes both family and societal culture. We then parent with those influences and experiences.
We judge other mothers for doing (or not doing) something a particular way. It is difficult to remember that sometimes our reactions to situations are the result of our own personal experiences. I certainly fall victim to this from time to time.
In fact, just this weekend I caught myself judging a mother for having her exhausted looking (to me anyway) young babies out for ice cream at 9pm. I heard the judgement start to formulate in my head and tried to check myself. I reminded myself that just because I have my similarly aged child in bed at home, doesn’t mean that all people and cultures share this conviction. In fact, many cultures don’t put their children to bed at 7:30pm and coup themselves up in the house for the rest of the night. Why am I being so judgmental? Certainly there are times people look at me and wonder why I decided to do something with my child in a particular way.
Yet, I couldn’t help myself once I saw that bottle of juice one of the babies was holding. I thought, doesn’t everyone know that juice in a bottle is a complete no-no, especially at 9pm!? I shared my outrage with the friend I was with, who does not yet have children. She didn’t seem quite as outraged as me. She didn’t even realize that juice in a bottle was a forbidden act and told me that maybe they are just on vacation and that is why they are out so late.
Her reaction made me pause. Maybe just because I rated that bottle of juice and staying out late high on the “things you should not do” list, doesn’t mean it is high on everyone’s list. Certainly that mother was likely a wonderful mother to her children and my ten seconds of sharing in her life did not give me any insight into why she did what she did and what things she carried that influenced her decisions that day.
So what is my point in sharing this somewhat embarrassing story? We all judge others for a variety of things. It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. When you couple that with our strong feelings around motherhood, you cannot help but have these judgmental moments. So recognize the judgement when it happens and try to check yourself. Why did you just shake your head at the mother in the grocery line? Could it be that today is just the day she isn’t willing to fight that fight?
Hey, maybe all that free time will even leave space for a little boxing…(ha)!