I took the girls out to dinner a few weeks ago to our favorite taco place. After we got our food and sat down outside, we prayed over our dinner. As we ate, the girls noticed that bull riding was on the TV. They had never seen it before, so we talked about why people do it (um, I had no answer), how you win, and why the bull goes buck wild.
After they finished, they asked if they could chase birds and play. I said of course. We were seated on the outdoor patio and I could see them in my periphery. At the table next to us sat 3 women. They were actually there before we were, but they were chatting, laughing, and seemed pretty jovial. As I sat there by myself, I heard a comment that the one in the jeans and sweater made in my direction… “…get off the phone… pay attention to her kids.”
I looked up and the one in the black pants and tank top made eye contact with me, then rolled her eyes as she looked away.
I’ll tell you what. That lady sure did catch me on my phone, but there are a few things that she didn’t know at that moment:
She didn’t know that I had sent a picture to Tory, who wasn’t going to be home before the girls went to bed, and they asked to send him a picture to say I love you.
She didn’t know that after I sent that picture, I went to the teaching job website Edjoin.org because I needed to find a full time job.
She didn’t know that I needed to find a full time job because the girls’ father was refusing to pay any of their tuition next year. That’s over $800 a month that I will shoulder, because I believe it’s important. So I NEEDED to find a job.
She didn’t know that I only ordered one taco instead of my usual four because, well, money’s tight.
She didn’t know that for literally the last 10 days we had been doing SOMEthing… swimming at various friends’ houses, going to the beach, BBQing with my mom, visiting with friends, going on walks.
She didn’t know that Violet got up at 6am and wanted to snuggle with me, so I held her in my arms and we’ve spent every minute together since then.
She didn’t know that just an hour before dinner we all piled on the couch and watched a movie.
She didn’t know that on the way to visit my niece that morning, they wanted to listen to the “Zootopia song” literally 7 times in a row and I allowed it, partially because I do love me some Shakira, partially because it’s catchy, and partly because I tear up when she sings “I won’t give up, no I won’t give in till I reach the end, then I’ll start again,” because it has become my mantra. I. Won’t. Give. Up.
So when she said that, I could have gotten up and said something back. I could have gone large, but then, I know I would have just looked defensive. So I let it roll off my back. But what really bothers me about it is that this is something we as society “do” now. We want our freedom, we don’t want anyone daring to tell us what to do, how to parent, that we can’t carry our precious guns, but we sure will troll people on the internet and judge them. We’ll find strength in numbers and bully those we just know are wrong. We point fingers (and pitchforks) at anyone who doesn’t think the same as we do. We sit in judgement, constantly looking over our shoulders because if we are sitting here judging, we’re probably being judged ourselves. And we want to be the first one to strike, to build ourselves up before being torn down.
I could have said something, but instead, I just blogged about her while my children were taking a bath. #lastlaugh
Moms and phones and little kids are a hot button right now. I wonder if I would have gotten that same comment if I had been reading a novel. But nope, I’m just another disconnected mom who cares more about selfies and Facebook than watching every minute of my precious children’s glorious childhood. (And side note, so what if I was spending 5 fricking minutes on Facebook while my children are fed and playing and safe? Who. Cares???) I’m not asking for reassurances here that I’m a good mom and that I’m raising great kids. What I’m asking for is that we give each other a little bit of grace in our daily lives, as we would like to be given.
4 thoughts on “Lest We Ourselves Be Judged”
It makes me sad. Literally. They will hope for that grace and unspoken comraderie from others one day. I pray she actually gets it. Warrior on, mama.
I get looks like that sometimes too. And it’s hard to let it roll off my back. The need to justify to people we don’t know that we are doing the best we know how…it’s harder now than pre-digital age, isn’t it.
What people who don’t know me personally don’t know is that my hearing loss makes me more, not less, connected to my phone. My smartphone with all its magic helps me communicate more, not less, and better with people, and there’s MY reason for looking at my phone. So what? It’s none of their business… 🙂 And what’s more, when my kids are old enough, they will text to mom when mom can’t hear even if she’s sitting nearby and the looks we will get THEN, oh well.
Thank you for this post. Solidarity!
Here in the States, with the Trump candidacy, our need to judge is being normalized and then vocalized. It’s a crappy way to live.
We live next door (Toronto) and see it, hear it, almost as much as you do. I get it! Gonna be an interesting November. 🙂