I have a very bad habit of saying what I think, regardless of whether it’s a popular viewpoint or not. It’s almost like I have a form of Tourette’s, I speak my mind and then inevitably there’s a backlash of people offended. Offended by my beliefs, my values, my thoughts … I can’t comprehend this. I would apologize, but it wouldn’t be sincere.
You see, I’m not offended by people who hate large families. I”m not offended by people who despise Catholics. I’m not the least bit offended by people who think differently or do things differently than I do. I’m not remotely concerned about how you perceive me. You know, I’m thrilled if you like me and I’m indifferent if you don’t. I was raised, inadvertently, to have thick skin and, now today, I am surrounded by people who make me feel like the center of the universe. You, strangers, you acquaintances, you loathe everything I stand for? I simply can’t be bothered by your opinions, because the only opinions that matter are God, Dan and my kids.
So, I gotta ask. Why would anyone be offended by what I have to say? I’m no-one special, I’m just a mom doing things the way I see fit. Doing things to the best of my ability, to raise my children to be amazing adults. If I say something that is contrary to the way you are doing things, why does that bother you? If you believe in spanking, why does the fact that I would never do it make you pause? Why, if I’m an ardent supporter of Attachment Parenting, would you feel judged if I stand against crying-it-out? Why?
I wrote a blog about homeschooling a ways back and I got slammed for my opinions, by those who have their kids in public school, of course. “You’re judging my choices.” they cried. “You’re a very opinionated person.” they bellowed. And my all-time fav, “You take women back decades with your large family and barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen ideology. Get a life, get a job. Produce something other than human babies.” You might think it bothers me, but it doesn’t. Rude, intentionally mean comments reflect so much more the lives of the people that lead them than they do me or my life.
Am I opinionated? I guess. Do I secretly think the way I’m raising my kids is best? You betcha, and I dare say you believe your way is best! The fact is, if we are going to be honest, everyone judges everyone. It’s how we decide who we are going to be friends with, who we would like our kids teacher’s to be, whose football team we want our kids to end up on. Judgment forms basis for all our early decisions about other people. That boy your daughter is dating … you don’t know him, but you just don’t like him. Judgment. Your new neighbor who brings dinner over the first night in your new home, she seems nice. Judgment. You are even judging me based on this one blog, or on my parenting choices or my family size or the fact that we live in an RV. A ton of people even judged us based on some stupid picture in the Tampa Daily News (see above photo). That’s us being “neutral” … we look like we could be training the next group of terrorists! Point is, it’s impossible not to judge each other, absolutely impossible.
The problem arises when we allow the opinions of others to form our actions. The problem arises when we allow the opinions of others to paralyze us. The problem arises when we judge others on faulty criteria, like the opinion of others, or the most recent gossip, or the color of their skin, or where they live or the type of car they drive.
If you feel judged because I’m a champion of homeschooling (albeit late to the game) or Attachment Parenting or keeping my kids close (both physically and emotionally) or our aversion to the 9-5 rat race of a life … I suggest you stop and take a long hard look at why. Ask youself the hard questions. Because the fact that I love my life and believe what I’m doing is best for my family really ought not give you a moment of anxiety. You should, as a fellow mom, nod and say, good for her. It’s what I do when I hear your daughter is flying to TimBukTu without supervision. Or when you post on facebook your appreciation for the Common Core. Or when you tell me you are going back to work. I feel genuine happiness that you are doing what you believe the best for your family. I may not agree, but do I feel judged? Hardly.
We all need to get out of the business of policing each other’s decisions. We need to realize that just because someone writes a blog or speaks publicly about something does not mean he or she is judging you because you believe differently. They are advocating their beliefs and last I checked the First Amendment is taking hits, but it’s still around. So, live and let live. Make Love Not War. Instead of feeling judged, feel blessed. As hard as we all try to make life black and white, it’s just not that way. There are so many different ways of living and parenting and schooling and … you know, of doing everything. So judge away, but use the right criteria and be prepared to always, ALWAYS have a change of heart!!!