“My kids don’t drink soda.” I blurted out as I put three 12-packs of Fanta on the conveyer belt at the grocery store. She was perfect and I knew she must be judging me by what was in my grocery cart.
She is the parent of a beautiful girl in my son’s class. I see her at kids parties, school activities and now at the grocery store. I don’t know her, not well. I know that she does crossfit or at least looks like she does. Sometimes she’s in her workout clothes, sometimes in her scrubs coming from work and other times in everyday clothes. She always looks perfect and put together.
I assumed all sorts of things: 1. that she was judging me 2. that she is into health and fitness 3. that she has it all together 4. that she actually cares what I purchase 5. that she drank kale smoothies for breakfast and there was not an ounce of sugar in her or her kids diets and 6. that she was going to rat me out to other mothers. Of course she had to be judging me. I was clearly judging her.
I don’t know why I felt the need to justify myself to her, but I did. And it really bothers me now. Okay, so I do know why. It’s because I care what others think of me. I care what others think of my parenting skills. I care whether I am being talked about behind my back. I just care. But, truly I wish I didn’t. Imagine the freedom in being able to let these things go. Some people possess this ability. I, however, do not.
The truth is mothers judge each other. They start judging the moment they find out your pregnant. They judge your birth plan choice. They judge the name you pick for your child. They judge how you chose to feed your infant. They judge your vaccination plan. They judge how you let your children play on the playground and act in the grocery store. I feel like mothers are the most judged group of individuals on the planet. And we do it to each other. This really must stop.
There are plenty of others out there judging us. We don’t need to do it to each other. We need to come together and let every mother know that it’s okay. It’s okay to do what you believe is best for your family. We need to stop posting hateful or judgmental articles making sure that the world knows that our way is the best and the only way. Everyone has a different situation; every child is unique; and we need to acknowledge that.
As I stood there momentarily embarrassed by what she saw in my cart. She replied with “yeah, and mine don’t eat Crunch Berry.” I initially wanted to retort and clarify “no, this soda really isn’t for my kids.” Then I realized that in trying explain away the soda I could be putting her down. Than I would be the one trying to make myself look better than her. I would be letting her know that I was better than her for keeping my kids away from sugar. I would be putting her down for her choice in cereal.
So, I left it there, smiled and laughed at her comment and let it go. Now, she believes I am the mother of the soda guzzling kids. And that’s okay. I know what I do with my children and that I am doing the best I possibly know how, just as I believe she and most every mother out there are doing also.
Here’s to all the mother’s out there trying to get through without the judgement. Go grab a cold soda and relax.
P.S. To clear up any confusion: I was assigned to bring three 12-packs of sodas to my son’s Swim Team fun day event. They are having a soda toss. Here I go again…