I wrote a post yesterday and just didn’t like it. So, I didn’t publish it. I felt “off” all day, and couldn’t figure it out (besides the horrendous lack of sleep from the night before where I was literally woken up 7 times by both human and non-human creatures). But, aside from the lack of sleep, I felt a little blah about the blog. So, I figured better not publish the post if I wasn’t sure about it.
But, today, I think I figured out why I didn’t like it and it was because I was being judgmental. Big time.
Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to be less judgmental of other people. Especially other Moms. But, I wrote this post yesterday and I couldn’t write it in a way that didn’t sound like I was being judgmental. So, I figure, I probably WAS being judgmental.
A phrase kept coming into my head from a talk by one of our church leaders. He shared how he saw a bumper sticker that said, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” Since that talk, I’ve thought about that often.
Being judgmental is human nature. So, it’s hard not to be. Especially when it seems like every other mom in the world is looking you up and down, judging every step you take.
Part of the reason why I am on this quest to stop the judging of other moms is because of how much I see it happening all over the blogosphere. EVERYWHERE. And, the thing that bugs me about it is that it all feels fake. All of it. When a post is written pointing out a flaw of something another mom wrote on her blog, or did at the park, or whatever, I think they are just trying to stir the pot so that others will see their blog and they will get comments. So that it will go viral.
Anyway, so I was writing this post yesterday, and I was judging a particular group of moms that are parenting kids in the tween/ teen age. And THAT’s where I realized my huge flaw in my opinions. Who the crap am I to judge these mothers when I have never raised a tween girl or teen girl myself? Sure, I can have all the opinions I want about what kind of mom I’m going to be in 3 or 4 years when my daughter hits that stage, but until you are in the thick of it, or rather, until you are OUT of it, who are you to give advice or scrutinize someone else’s way of raising their kid?
Before I had kids, I swore I would never do a lot of things (like feed them hotdogs for dinner) but here I am, doing them. So, when I see a first time mom struggling with something, I smile and think, “I’ve been there. It’s so hard. She just needs encouragement, not my advice”. Geez. I think I might be growing up people. Sure, I can have my opinions all day long, but I’m not going to call out other moms that I think are screwing things up, before I’ve actually been there/done that.
Ironically, my post was also about the subject of how kids these days (I’m definitely growing up if I’m using that phrase) are learning how to judge each other so young. It went a little something like this….(edited to take out my judgmental voice)
So, I was standing around at the elementary school with my kids waiting for the first bell to ring. I started to entertain myself by checking out what the kids around me were wearing.
I guess I was doing this partially because while I was watching my daughter get dressed this morning and put on one of the 7 shirts she tends to rotate, I was thinking, “Crap! Did she wear this already this week?” I was worried that she might have. She’s a first grader people…..Who cares! Right?
So, that coupled with a note she got from her little friend yesterday that said in 1st grade fashion:
Dear Av, (maybe she wasn’t sure how to spell Avery)
You have a grate smile. you’r red hair is so cute. you’r clos are so cute to. love,
I LOVE reading these little notes she brings home. But, I was stuck on that last sentence. I’m pretty good now at reading phonetically, but this one had me stumped. My husband said, “It’s clothes.”
OH. Really? They are getting compliments on their clothes at 6 years old? sigh.
As I was looking around, I noticed that a lot of kids were put together, and a lot of them were thrown together. And a select few kids were put together with a thrown together look. This one girl had on a floral skirt, gray leggings that didn’t match, and striped socks up to her knees. It looked cute. In a weird way.
I remember being obsessed with getting a pair of Guess jeans when I was in middle school. To me, they were everything. But, we didn’t have the money for my parents to spend $50 on a single pair of jeans. So, the answer was no from my parents despite my persistent begging and pleading. I remember to this day how badly I wanted those. How important they seemed. I remember going to garage sales with my Mom and just hoping that I would run across a pair. I think I eventually did get a stonewashed pair that were second hand from somewhere.
Now, I don’t care about brands one bit. Maybe it’s out of necessity because we have a butt load of student loans, but honestly, it just doesn’t matter all that much to me where something comes from. Remember, I mostly shop at Target.
But, I do worry about this in our world where everything is assigned a value. Like this article that talks about how kids are obsessed with the number of likes they get on a photo on Instagram. Young kids. They learn REAL quick that everything is assigned a value these days in this media obsessed culture we live in.
How do you teach that the only “value” that is important is the one that comes from Above when you yourself find “value” in the material things? In things that don’t matter? I find myself thinking about shopping with her. I say things like, “Oh that’s not cute” or “I don’t like how that looks”. I wonder how she is internalizing it. Is she looking at a shirt on a friend at school that her Mom said, “wasn’t cute” and putting stock into that?
I like to think I’m the perfect role model and she will KNOW where her value comes from, but then I think about things I still do as a 35 year old like:
I still look around at other Moms and compare their cute(r) outfits with mine.
I still find myself feeling inadequate.
I scan crowds of kids to see what they’re wearing (duh!)
I diet. (although I don’t talk about it around or to her) I tend to blow off when my kids ask why I’m not eating the pasta with a non-chalant response like, “I just don’t want it”
I put value into what someone is wearing too by commenting on a cute skirt, or top of a friend.
We all do it don’t we? Because clothes do say a lot about ourselves.
They can tell us how much someone cares about their appearance. Crap!
They can tell us how much money someone has. Crap!
They can tell us how often someone does laundry. CRAP!
They can tell us what activity they might be participating in that day. (except for those that wear Yoga pants ALL day…Crap.)
Maybe we should just all become nudists? Kidding. SERIOUSLY kidding.
One of the most important things I want to teach my girl is to be kind. Don’t judge. Be confident. And, love those around her just the way they are. The problem with teaching these kinds of lessons, is that we have to learn how to overcome our own insecurities. We all have them. I know that I do. I could NEVER be a nudist. Religion and germaphobia aside, it would never happen. Too much insecurity here. But, working on finding our own self-worth shouldn’t stop when we have kids. In fact, we need to work on it even more!! I need to work on it even more.
I like to think that I will not fall into the trap of worrying about if my child fits in. Yet, I want to fit in so badly…even still.
I like to think that my kids won’t be the judgmental ones. Yet, I still judge others based on their appearance.
I like to think that my kids won’t feel the need to do what everyone else is doing. Yet, I still feel myself looking at pinterest and feeling inadequate.
I like to think that my daughter will not worry so much about how she looks. Yet, I still spend time looking at myself in the mirror obsessing about what I am going to wear to a playdate at the park.
I have to stop wanting, comparing, and obsessing.
I have to stop trying to fit in.
I have to stop sharing something on FB before I really give it much thought.
I have to stop before I can teach her that it’s not important. The clothes, the number of likes on facebook, the number of followers your blog has….