Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Bad Mother

A few weeks ago, before swimming lessons, I was getting Bug out of her street clothes and into her swim diaper and suit. As per usual, Bug started to cry and fight me, wanting me to hold her instead of trying to get her ready to swim. She did not like that transition at all. I mean, I can't blame her. She was a little tired, and really, who wants to get out of their warm pyjamas and into a swim suit? But I knew that she would be fine once we changed, so rather than giving up and not go swimming (if I gave up we wouldn't have attended any of our classes), I put up with it and gently forced her into her swim suit while singing, distracting with cheerios, and even giving her a few toys to play with.

On this particular day, however, Bug choose to just not be happy. No matter what I did she did not want to get ready and she was crying loudly. Trying hard to go fast so that we could have a nice warm shower together, I continued on in preparing her for her swim lessons. A lady approached us and saw that Bug was crying. Rather than passing us by, or even attempt at making a funny face to distract Bug, she decided to, instead, say to Bug, "Oh, she is a bad mommy." Then turned to my friend, whose baby wasn't crying might I add, and proclaimed, "Oh, she is a good mommy," to him.

Now. I know what you must be thinking. The lady was trying to be funny, even though she said both things without even smiling. And in the moment I knew that. I smiled & gave a little laugh, you know, the laugh you give to strangers when they think they are funny, and I continued on with getting Bug ready. Our day went on as normal, Bug & her bestie had a blast in the pool, life was good.

But as days have now past, her comment has bugged me. Not that I think I am a bad mother, I know that I am a good one. Between my mother and my husband, I am told constantly how I am doing a good job raising Bug, how I listen to her needs. I have a good support system and I listen to those who give me advice, and I know that, at the end of the day, its all about whats best for our family. I would rather make Bug giggle and read to her Horton Hears A Who (every person knows that it is the longest Children's book ever!!), then have a house clean, or knit, or blog. No, the lady's comment didn't torment me and make me think I am a bad mom. The reason it bugged me was what if I didn't have such a great support system. What if I was told every day by a spouse or some other person how horrible of a job I was doing. What if I was having the worst day of my life? What if.

Now, maybe that is her humour. Maybe its just the way she talks to everybody. Or maybe she really does think I am a bad mother. But the point I am trying to make is, I don't know her and she doesn't know me. She doesn't know how I raise my child. She doesn't know why my child is crying. She doesn't know what kind of day I am having. AND she doesn't know what kind of humour I have. That's what bugged me. The fact that she didn't know who I was and yet still felt comfortable for saying that comment.

Luckily, I have a personality that doesn't take comments like that to heart. I have worked in customer service and I have learned to take the negative & keep it at bay. Smile and just roll with it. I am so thankful that she choose me to say that comment to, then to someone else who was actually having a bad day or who had low self esteem.

And I know that to some people, they may be thinking that I am taking this too personally. That it was a joke. But I don't think so. Unless the person knows me and I know them, this kind of comment was unneeded and just plain rude. Even if my sister, who would never say such a thing to me, said that exact comment to me, it would have been considered rude. That fact that the lady felt comfortable enough to say something like that to me - baffles me.

Why is it so easy to step into somebody's life, even for just a moment, and say something that could possibly ruin their day? And again, I don't know this lady. Maybe she was trying to make the situation better and make me laugh. Maybe she was having a hard day herself. People are allowed to have hard days, it just bugged me that the comment was made, and the negativity seemed to have been pushed a little further. I like to think that she was trying to make me laugh, but I just can't help but wonder.

This brings me to my next point. Judging people, mothers especially. I mean, come on, it's easy to do. Why is she doing that? Look at how she does that? Why doesn't she stop her kid from screaming? Where are those kids mother? Why? Look? Oh my goodness ... I cannot believe ...

This needs to stop. Why is it that we (and I am just as easy to blame as the next person, fore before I had a kid I was so good at judging mothers) are so ready to point fingers, judge, criticizes another persons situation just because it doesn't look like our own? We don't know what kind of day that mother is having? We don't know that that mother is on the verge of tears and is not talking to her screaming child because if she does, she will snap? We don't know that the mother turned around for a second, and now her two toddlers are running down the Walmart aisle screaming at the top of their lungs? Or the reason that mom cannot breastfeed is because she doesn't produce enough milk? Or so&so doesn't want to be a stay at home mom because ..., or so&so does want to be a stay at home mom because... We don't know what's going on in their lives. Period. End of story. We don't know these people. Why are we so good at pointing fingers, comparing ourselves to them, making rude comments, or gossiping about these women behind their back? We don't know them. Why do we feel that we have the right to enter into their lives for a moment and tear them apart? Even if are intention is not be rude, but to try and say something funny ... we should be careful as to what we are saying, how its going to affect them, play the whole "what if they said this to me ..." game.

Why can't we, instead of stare and criticize, stop, look, read the situation and see if the mother needs help. What is going on in this situation? Why can't we say something positive? Or see if the mother is okay with us trying to distract her crying baby? Or maybe try to encourage the running children, to slow down so that they don't hurt themselves? Why can't we be a community - trying to look out for everyone's child? Or, just simply let them be. Just because how they are feeding, carrying, etc their baby is not up to your standards, doesn't mean they are doing it wrong.

And I know there are some mothers who just were not cut from the mother cloth. Some don't want to be one, or know how to be a good one. But again, we don't know these women. And unless something is really going on (physical, emotional abuse etc), why can't we just try and encourage them or help them, rather then sit back and judge them? Why can't we try and understand the situation rather than decide that we are better than them?

I mean, come on. Motherhood is tough. I think I know what is going to happen, but then BOOM Bug throws me a curve ball. I really don't think there is such a thing as an "expert mother." Maybe, I am wrong. I just know from my personal experience. There are things that I am getting to know, like how to tell when Bug is teething. However, still the whole nap and if she is going to sleep through the night, is a whole mystery to me. People ask me what her schedule is like, and honestly, I HAVE NO IDEA. I know one day, I will have that under control, but then another curve ball will come at me. Its just the way it is. And each child is different, each day is different. There are things we can be experienced at, but as a whole, can we really proclaim that we are an expert? SO, if I am not an expert, and I really don't know when Bug will have her afternoon nap, or why the heck she is crying while I am getting groceries and I know that she is fed/watered/clean bum/has toys/not tired ... why do I feel the need to judge another? I am not perfect. Nor will I ever be. I am just rolling with it. Day to day. Minute by minute. And trying my hardest to be the best mother I can be.

I don't know ... this subject really bothers me. Why do we feel the need to judge everyone. Isn't the world already full of negative things - why do we have to add our negative comment into it? Why can't we help rather than hinder. Why couldn't have that lady made funny faces to Bug to try and help me rather than tell Bug that, "I am a bad mother?"

I know posting this might make some people mad. I am not trying to say I am the best, and you are not, and I am definitely not trying to sound like a wuss - What I am trying to do is encourage everybody. Motherhood is hard and we don't know everybody's situation - so why are we trying to tear people down? Why can't we be a community, help everybody, be a support for those who need it, help out those who are overwhelmed. Why do we have to add negativity to an already screwed up world? I choose today to be a blessing & a friend, instead of a judging, gossiping, finger pointer.

What do you think about this subject? Am I being too sensitive? Have you ever had an experience where somebody tried to tell you that you were, in a sense, a bad mother? Am I the only person out there who feels like their is too much judgement and finger pointing going on? I would like to hear your opinion about this topic - whether you agree or disagree with me. Please let me know in the comments below. Thank you.

(disclaimer: this post is not referring to situations of physical or emotional abuse. Use your wisdom and intuition to know when to step in .. example social services, standing up etc. There are situations when children are coming to harm and that is when your voice needs to be heard. This post is referring to the gentler side of motherhood - of the simple every day to day gossip that I hear from (mostly) women about other women and how they are doing such&such.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment