Thursday, August 25, 2011

it is SO hard to practice non-judgement.
SO hard.
for me, at least.  as difficult as not using the F word,
not eating chocolate.
or just sitting to chill out for a minute.
i can't do it.
daily, i can't do it.
it's just a part of who i am.
BUT, something i really don't like and want to change.
something i know, if i can learn to live without,
will add so much more peace and contentment to my life.
i think it's hard as humans, to not pass judgement,
especially as women, mothers,
where we're constantly looking for recognition and feedback 
for all that we do.
and if we don't get it (which we often don't. . .the thank-less and tireless jobs we have,)
we look outside for it.
often times it's so much easier to compare ourselves to someone else,
to give us the ego boost we need,
make us feel better about OUR shortcomings or all the amazing things we do each day,
and sometimes, oddly enough,
if we talk or think about someone else in a hurtful way, it gives us a little something.
but only for a second.  and it's not authentic.
after a trip to this sweet little dance boutique the next town over,
slipping little 5-year-old toes into soft pink ballet slippers,
tan little arms in to lycra leotards
(something that just KILLS me now, by the way.)
gracie LOVES to dance and so begins another season of ballet.  and i'm SO excited for her, 
as dancing truly brings her joy.  and i've learned to find great solace in the church basement of her dance studio on cold winter nights, nestled in with the other moms, losing myself in a book.)
anyway, one of the women helping us was talking about taking her son to college this week, and how she's been weeping incessantly.  her daughter is off and now he's leaving and she just doesn't know how she's going to cope with the quiet house, make the drive down to madison, let alone, turn around and leave him there.
i fought back tears myself, as i stared down at my baby girl, in the crux of her childhood.
and the thought of having to say goodbye, broke my heart in two.
watching my boys race around the sweet store, knocking in to shelves, grabbing and pulling everything in their path,
charlie trying every little dance duffel bag out on his shoulders (he's in to purses.  weird.)
normally wanting to ring their necks,
my little beauty, waiting patiently for the next pair of shoes to try on, 
i got a little caught up, in the moment though, as this mom went on about her woes.
and i had to smile, thankful i'm not there yet and that i have the choice to enjoy every second of this, before that day.
i just watched them, knowing that that time, letting go, will be here in a blink.
and truly terrified of it.
those moments, although GUT-WRENCHING, are much needed.
a good way to bring you back to the moment 
to pay attention to what's in front of you and soak it up,
not fret over what's to come or what needs to be done.
just talking with this veteran mom,
kicked us lovingly into a lazy and joy-filled evening.
icecream for dinner, a park at sunset,
lovely.
i just sat.  didn't say a word.  just watched and listened to the little voices that are so annoying and incessant and demanding sometimes, but so apart of my life, like the skin that covers me,
my heart that beats.
and there was another mom at the park.
clad in heavy, dark denim jeans,
(on this hot, steamy summer night,)
her 2 boys covered as well,
and she was yelling at them and scolding them for EVERY wrong move they made.
i watched her out of the corner of my eye,
strictly at this point, just observing.  the yelling got my attention and took me out of my moment of bliss.
but they hadn't been there more than ten minutes and she started yelling that, "oh my gosh!  you don't have sunscreen on!  back to the car boys!  we need to get some on you!"  
(it was 5:30pm.)
now, this old mom (me).  is past that stage this summer.  it's august.  sunscreen days are over for us.
these summer days, for me, are to soak, not to squander away so easily,
applying sunscreen and brushing teeth and pulling socks on.
it's the bare minimum.  survival mode, doing as little as possible to survive and enjoy the last days before school.
but hey, i'm not judging.
ok.  yes, i am.  (and she was wearing a fanny pack, might i had.  i despise those like i do crocs.  i know they're functional like mini-vans, but come on.)
she hauls her boys back to the car, who were fighting her all the way, lathers them up,
and then back to play, where again, she was on them constantly.
now, i've been there.  i AM that mom.
i expect good behavior all the time (which is a lot to ask of kids,)
i am nagging, meddling and super bossy.
so i, for a minute, was relating to this mom.
the boys, wanting to escape her grasp,
ran to the shower, (you know, the ones that wash your sand-covered feet after a day at the beach?)
and OF COURSE, like all kids, they wanted to get wet and play.
pushing the buttons off and on,
jumping in and out of the shower,
and she wouldn't have it.
she went racing over there like a bat outta' hell,
screaming at them to ' stop!  you're getting wet!  we're going home if you don't stop!'
it was really funny actually, partly because i AM that mom some days,
depending on my mood, my level of exhaustion.
and i can understand if they were going to be in a wedding that night 
or had pictures to be in,
but my judgmental mind took over quickly,
as it often does.
i wanted to shout to her, 'HEY LADY!  YOU'RE AT A PARK!  KIDS GET DIRTY HERE!'
AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET THE KIDS PLAY!  GET OFF THEIR BACK!  BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THEY'LL BE IN COLLEGE OR JOIN THE ARMY AND THEY'LL BE OUT OF YOUR REACH!  GOOD LORD, WOMAN, LET THEM PLAY IN THE WATER!  OH!  AND IT'S 89 DEGREES!  TAKE OFF THOSE JEANS!  HERE HAVE MY SHORTS!'
of course, i didn't utter a word.
as mothers, we all know, telling another mom how to parent, 
is off-limits conversation (unless help/advice is requested.)
but how quickly and easily those snide and judgey remarks pass through a woman's head.
a lot of times, without really even thinking.
and although they're private and protected thoughts,
they're unnecessary.
i have NO idea what kind of day she had,
what tragedy may have befallen her life recently,
maybe how hard it was for her to have these two boys
or how difficult it's been to keep her marriage in tact.
NO IDEA of her life situation.
how maybe, something else, aside from my first impression of her, 
was her reason for being so protective and intense and overbearing.
but for a second, i felt better about myself as a mother.
which, for just that moment, happened to be joyful, quiet, aware 
and content.
with sand-covered kids, pink-cheeked and sweaty,
wet from the showers (of course,)
but having a blast and free as birds, within the confines of the sandbox.
i'm sure she was looking at us, this riff-raff of a family, 
judging as well.
how i may have appeared to be a 'checked out' mommy,
letting my kids run amok,
not scolding tuna for throwing sand in to the air,
(on himself,)
or grace for occasionally shoving jack which always starts a brawl.
but just letting them be.
and maybe she wasn't giving us a second thought.
whatever.  it doesn't matter.
what matters is how much time we spend passing judgement,
or ASSUMING that we know what someone thinks of us.
or what their life is like or who they are as a person.
we have no idea.
and neither do they.
how often do we find ourselves in conversations,
where we're trash talking someone else?
tsk-tsking like little hens about someone else's life,
their choices, their kids, their husbands, their issues.
how EASY it is to foam at the mouth like that.
i do it all the time.  and again, why?
because it makes me feel good about myself for 30 seconds?
and then i ALWAYS walk away from the conversation 
feeling gross inside.  horrible and disappointed with myself.
like eating something you know you shouldn't.
you hate yourself a little for giving in so willingly.
so i have a challenge for you.  for myself, really.:)
every time you go to pass judgement on someone,
wish them happiness instead.
catch yourself, as those nasty thoughts start to carry you away.
and say a prayer for them, or whatever you need to do.
see if it changes your week or your attitude at all.
if it allows you to float more easily and carefree through your day.
or drop the assumption of what you THINK someone thinks of you.
assumptions aren't always right.
just let those thoughts be there, but don't buy in to them.
continue to try to be their friend or reach out, despite what you think of them or what 
you think they may think of you.
i realize, this is NO small feat for a lot of us.
brian and i actually tried this awhile back.  
it was like trying to diet.
but SUCH a good habit to get in to.
something that needs to be practiced daily, no matter how awesome you think you are.:)
and this topic, non-judgement, is nothing new or monumental.
gurus, therapists, individuals devout to their faith, 
have been talking about this and practicing this for centuries.
i'm just sharing about it now, as i experience it and work to improve on it as well.
you should too.




























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