When it comes to motherhood, things aren't always as they seem. We may see a mother in the grocery line snapping at her kids. And we may judge. But what we don't see is that same mom who is exhausted after weeks of her husband being away and has already told her daughter 15 times she didn't want to give her candy, and by the 16th time, she is snapping.
All we see is that moment where we get to feel superior. Yay us. We would NEVER snap at our kids like that and oh how sad for those kids that they don't have a better mother. It's so nice to sit on our smug thrones, isn't it? And yet we really have no clue. A blog post from Suzanne Perryman reminded me just how true that really is today and I am so grateful.
Perryman had taken her young daughter out and somehow the person who parked near her had not noticed the handicap placard on her dash and instead left a judgy note reading: "You are clearly not disabled. Shame on you." But who was really shamed?
This note writer clearly missed the fact that Perryman has two special needs children, but even that is beside the point. That rush to shame and to judge is all too common.
As an Internet writer, I see it all the time. People who think they know other writers from a few paragraphs on a blog post. They think they can judge everything about you from one parenting mistake you chose to highlight on a given day. But the joke's on them.
The reality is, we live in a world full of shades of gray. Smart people know that. Compassionate people know that. Happy people know that.
Sure, it's easy to react with knee-jerk certainty to just about everything, but that is way too simple. People and life are more complicated than that. We don't know a person's inner life from a 20-second interaction at a grocery store. And hey, that's part of the beauty of it, right?
Looking in black and white at everything and assuming you know the full picture when you are only seeing one portion of it is one of the biggest problems with modern motherhood. Maybe if we dropped the judgment and the assumptions and worked with more positive assumptions, things would be better.
Rather than assume someone is parking in a handicap parking space, why not assume you made a mistake or that they have some reason to be there that you can't see? Instead of assuming that a mother who runs into trouble with her child just made a rash decision, why can't we assume that she did a lot of research, it's just that things went wrong? Let's give people the benefit of the doubt more.
Motherhood is hard enough without these knee-jerk responses. Besides, the reality is, it's not the person who made the perceived mistake who ends up feeling stupid. It's the person who rushed to judgment without even attempting to know the full picture.
Do you ever rush to judge other moms?
Image via F Delventhal/Flickr