05 Feb At a Glance
So it’s Superbowl Sunday and everyone is gearing up for the big game, or Justin Timberlake, whatever suits you. If you’re like me I almost can’t breathe at the thought of the This Is Us episode. Many parents, like my husband and I, took the kids out today to kill some time and possibly wear them out so we could put them to bed slightly earlier. Ok well that’s what WE did. Secret is out. It was a great day with family and friends but something took place today, and although it took as long as three seconds, I feel compelled to share it.
We took the kids to a play museum this afternoon. That pretty much means my husband goes one way with one and I go the other way with one and we meet in the middle somehow. It’s a great place for the kids to run around and interact with other kids and I believe it does help with various skills and overall confidence (my guy went down their slide all by himself for the first time today!). My husband and I managed to have the kids together in one area at one point and they were taking turns stepping up on the step stool to look down longingly at the older kids playing in the water area. One of my boys was getting a little cranky and ultimately we took our eyes off the other for just a few seconds to tend to him and in those seconds the other guy tripped and fell as he was stepping down the step stool. He instantly started crying and of course I picked him right up. As I was comforting him and telling him he was ok I felt eyes on me so I looked over and saw a mom staring as she waited for her kid to come down the stairs that led to the slide. She seemed to see what happened. My glance to her was one of , “Solidarity mama. This stuff happens, lets not make it a thing, but if it was worse than I think please let me know. Please support me,” however her glance back at me was something I wasn’t prepared for. It was a look of judgement and reprimand, eyebrow raise and all. It was a look that said, “How could you take your eyes off of him and let him fall? See what happened? What kind of mother are you!?” We said nothing to each other and I took my crying son to a corner to distract him and help him get past this moment.
I have been thinking about this woman most of the afternoon. I have been thinking about what I should have done, what I should have said and if I handled it appropriately by doing nothing. In all honesty her opinion of me holds no weight in my life. I am not perfect, but I think I have done a decent job with my kids to date and I love them from the depths of my soul. I am not an alarmist and trust me I think that is just because a) I have twins and you really need to let that shit go and b) I have twins. My kids were near me and/or my husband, and in sight, the entire time today however I had one twin that needed my husband and I for less than 5 seconds and well kids fall all the time. If I made his fall a big deal then he would have as well. I have forgiven myself and moved on, but in all honesty I’m human and do I really need to actually forgive myself? He’s absolutely fine. Trust me I’m not justifying myself, nor do I feel I have to, but I’m getting to my point. I’m torn with how I feel about this situation. Part of me feels that this woman could be dealing with judgement herself, possibly as a person, possibly as a parent, hence becoming a product of her surroundings and becoming the judge. Part of me feels sorry for her that she is possibly trapped in the caves of negativity. The other part of me feels that there is more we could/should be doing to spread love, compassion and understanding among parents and people because the last thing we need is for someone to take hold of what little confidence we may have as parents and all our hard work and good deeds as human beings and just piss all over it by a look of dismay.
Since when do we have the right to judge another? Since when is it ok to give “looks” to absolute strangers we know nothing about? We need to do a better job lifting each other up and this extends far beyond parenting. It needs to be a commonplace for all of us. We need to demonstrate acts of kindness, acts of selflessness, and acts of understanding. We could all learn so much from one another if we just wake up a little. See when we judge someone else we take their life in our hands and spread assumption. We fit them in this nonexistent box of fiction and it is not always done with words. It could happen just as it happened to me today, with just a look. The woman today could have reassured me that it was ok. She could have offered a smile and inadvertently told me, “I get it.” (I actually just wrote about the importance of these three words in our lives last week so head on over to that article and check it out). She could have glanced with a look of understanding because it is just not possible to be everything to everyone every minute of the day. Hell she could have simply looked the other way. She did not choose any of that, she could have, but she didn’t. I was told a profound statement from the counselor that helped me thru my postpartum depression and anxiety and I carry this with me everyday. She said, “We are always at choice.” Think about that for one second. How true is it? Yes there are gray areas in our life and things that do happen to us that are beyond our control but for many things in life we stop at “choice.” I would like for us to start choosing to be kind. I would like for us to start choosing to help others up. I would like for us to start choosing to support one another. We are all united by a story. We all share hardships. We must do better. I must meet this situation with forgiveness. While these are just moments in time that certainly don’t define us please know passing judgement of any kind sets us back. As I’ve said before we are all just doing our best each and every day. We should never let that best be overshadowed by ignorance.
Have you been faced with a similar situation? What were your feelings in that moment? What were your thoughts? I would love to connect and share our stories.