This post could have been titled: Don’t Judge Moms Who…
Or how about: Don’t Judge Moms
More simplistically: Don’t Judge
I didn’t get that vague because frankly that’s a huge topic that I’m not willing to tackle, so I decided to narrow the subject down to something very specific. This way, if it doesn’t apply to you, you don’t even have to keep reading! And if it does, either because you’re the judger or the judgee, then you can keep reading and hear me out. (please)
Are you thinking to yourself, “She’s been sick? And she’s not wearing shoes?”
Yes. I hang my head in shame before you. And then I look up and a host of clichés pile themselves at my feet. “Don’t throw stones in glass houses.” “Only if you’re without sin, cast the first stone.” “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
Firstly, she had fuzzy, warm pink boots on in the car. When we arrived at the store, they were off. Secondly, I put them back on! I really did! It’s entirely possible that she had them on the whole time we were outside, walking into the store. Once we were inside the store though, her mission became the removal of the shoes. And once she’d completed that mission, she had to throw them as far as she could. Between trying not to lose the shoes, giving her snacks and drinks on demand so she wouldn’t be a screaming toddler in a store, which people hate, and keeping an eye on the three-year-old who was touching everything at eye-level and probably wiping her nose on her sleeve, I decided shoeless would work for me. Only then did I think to take this picture. Only then did I realize that judgments were probably being made. In fact, maybe someone in that very store went home to post about my mothering skills on their Facebook page! Or maybe they didn’t even wait that long and they posted from their phone while they stood in the checkout line. Anything’s possible.
This wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. Today, my-three year-old would not put on shoes. And when I finally got her shoes on, she refused her sweater. It was 40 degrees outside. I suppose some parenting guru would say, “You put the shoes and sweater on and you make her wear them.” Yes, I suppose I could. But what would the parenting guru say if I had to take my child into the library wearing the shoes and sweater and force everyone in the library to listen to her screams and moans and wails as she thrashes around on the floor because she’s three and searching for some way to exercise her independence? Probably nothing. We compromised. She wore the shoes and ditched the sweater. It’s a 50 second walk from the car to the library door. I decided she’d survive. But who knows what other people thought as they saw that poor, little girl in the freezing cold without a jacket. Sigh.
Earlier this week, my youngest threw a shoe so far that it could’ve knocked someone out had it hit them in the head. Thankfully, it landed in a pile of potatoes. Not thankfully, we were at Costco, so that pile of potatoes was super-bulk-size and I’m lucky I recovered the shoe at all.
Barefoot babies in winter. A tragedy? A reason to judge? At least an excuse to criticize? Or a realization that some things aren’t in our control. Some things don’t seem worth the battle. Sometimes as moms, we pick and choose our battles so specifically, because we’re trying to avoid the judgment that a miserable, frustrated toddler’s tantrum would bring on us and in doing so, we only attract more judgment. Alas, perhaps it’s a losing battle. In fact, the chances are, the only people reading this blog are the moms whose kids have gone out in the winter without shoes! So the people who actually judge those moms aren’t reading the blog and probably won’t change their ways any time soon.
Ah well, here’s to us moms. Here’s to the moms who choose their battles based on important things like life and death, not battles of will. Here’s to moms who aren’t out to teach their kids whose boss, but to allow them the freedom of brief moments of independence instead of micromanaging their every move. Here’s to moms who have kids with autism, ADHD, ADD, SPD, ODD, or any number of diagnoses that make something as simple as shoes more difficult than most people could fathom. Here's to the moms who have strong, brilliant children who take stands for these "little things" that feel like really "big things" to them. Here’s to the moms who don’t care what other people think. Here’s to the moms who do.
We’re going to be okay.
And so are our kids.