A long-time friend of mine, Sarah (we’ve known each other for the better part of – what – 30 years – shoot – now I’ve dated us!), posted an article on Facebook that highlighted the damaging impact of pre-judging a situation based on what we see rather than seeking to understand. This article included a picture of a mom sitting in an airport terminal with her infant child laying on a blanket on the floor in front of her while she was looking at her phone. At first glance, it’s easy for someone to state with objection and horror – “what is this woman doing?!?!?” – or define it (unfairly) as neglect.
The real story is that this new mom, alone and exhausted, had been in and out of airports – over 20 hours – due to numerous travel delays. Her baby had been cramped in a carrier or held for endless hours and needed some room to stretch. The mom needed to communicate with her family. The truth of the matter is that what the picture showed did not depict neglect or “bad mothering” – it depicted a new mom who simply was doing the best she could for her child.
Why do we judge?
Why do we feel compelled to expect or see the worst in people or in a situation? I don’t have the answers to these questions; I’m throwing them out for all of us to digest and ponder. I am just as guilty as the next person of pre-judging or telling myself a story.
As I’ve gotten older and become a mom, I judge less. I find myself responding more with compassion and understanding than I would have 15 years ago. We are human, which means we are fallible. That’s not a bad thing, but for whatever reason, we seem to do two things with extreme ease and zero grace: 1. judge ourselves harshly OR 2: judge others just as harshly.
The article Sarah posted and the comments that resulted resonated with me for many reasons. As a health and fitness professional and long-time educator, this is what I know: we are only as healthy as our thoughts and that includes how and what we think of others and ourselves. So, I started to wonder why it’s easy for us to not just jump to a conclusion, but to take enormous leaps of logic when trying to reason what we see versus to investigate what we need to know. First, we have this “keeping up with the Joneses” culture. For moms, this means keeping up with other moms. Second, we all have insecurities and I wonder if it’s easier and safer to look outward and what others are doing or not doing than it is to look inward and work on our own “stuff”?
It’s Not a Race
After thinking about the comments and the underlying message of the article, I thought – what would happen if all of us stopped trying to keep up with each other and started empowering and supporting each other? How much would things change? How swiftly would the need to judge or fear of being judged dissipate? The truth is, we aren’t in a race with each other. We are walking side by side experiencing many of the same perils and pitfalls and blessings and beauties of this human life – this mom life.
Wouldn’t it be enough to just be able to say to another mom (or person) – “the hot mess in me honors, respects, celebrates the hot mess in you.” Sort of a “Namaste” for women and moms? Yes, there are those moms that drop their kids off at school dressed to kill and there are others who are a mix of caffeine and dry shampoo – is one better than the other? Nope. Just different. Be who you are. You do you. Let’s allow each other to be who we are and do so in support rather than standing in judgment of what we “think we know” about someone or a situation.
Life is simpler when we judge less and love more.
Love to all of my mama friends and women warriors out there. Thanks for reading. Namaste.