Judge-y Pants: One Size Fits All
I would like everyone reading this post to say the following out loud, even if in a public place (trust me, everyone is too absorbed reading their Facebook feed to listen):
I, Trish, own many pairs of judge-y pants in sizes, colors and styles for all seasons and bloat. I wear them all the time. In fact, I might only own judge-y pants. And, well, it is OK. I know it is OK.
Because we all make judgments about each other all the time. Motherhood is a hotbed of bad, un-Biblical behavior – from gossip to social exclusion to judgment.
"Did you see how chubby her kids are?" "I would never do that!" "Why does she yell so much?" "She gives her children non-organic milk!" "Did you see how messy her house is?" "Why does she buy her kids everything?" "They have it so easy. My kid has a million therapies." "Why are her kids in so many activities?" "Do her children just watch TV all day?" "How could she abandon her kid at daycare?" "How could she just sit at home all day with her kids?" "Why, why is she so JUDGMENTAL?"
The ultimate judgment is when we judge each other to be judgmental. It is a confusing, twisted situation – one in which we think we are remedying an untenable situation on behalf of the population being judged. But really, we are assuming the person is judging when maybe she is just observing. But wait, but wait, she is absolutely not just observing, because, well . . .
We all wear our judge-y pants like a second set of underwear. We may say we love our friends because they don't judge us and accept us for who we are. But, really, they judge us all the time and still love us in spite of their judgments. We judge as a gauge to our parenting decisions – we decide when we give our kids a lollipop that while lollipops are not essential for growing bodies, it is OK for now and we will risk the cavity. We judge when we discipline and we re-align how we discipline based on how we see other parents do it.
Judgment gives us a window into the consequences of our actions – good and bad. We see the kids in lots of activities, and maybe we see stressed-out kids or maybe we see kids who learned how to dance or ride a horse or paint a masterpiece and we think: "Maybe my kid would like that." Or we turn the judgment on ourselves and then turn it back: "I don't do it. My kid is absolutely not missing out. You are just ridiculous."
Which is fine. Who cares. They are probably judging you and thinking that you are lazy and your kids are addicted to video games. Whatever.
When we see a parent lose it and scream at her kid, we see what not to do (even though we all do it!). Suddenly, we would never do that (because we just saw what happens when you do that). Our judge-y pants enable us to look into a mirror and take away a lesson. We might never admit it, but the very worse cases of parenting are the very best learning stories.
You are probably judging me by my words right now – "She thinks she knows it all" or the much preferable (and honest, right?) "She is brilliant!"
And, well, that is OK. I am busy organizing my judge-y pants by color and fabric, so I can't hear you.
Trish Adkins is a South Jersey mom. This post is adapted from her blog, Yoke.
Lauren Schwarz Photography