If this post makes you feel twitchy or uncomfortable or offended, it’s probably because you’re guilty of what I’m about to discuss.
This post makes me twitchy and uncomfortable and offended, too. Because I’m guilty of what I’m about to discuss and I know it.
There’s a post making the rounds on Facebook right now, written by a mother of 5 who, at the end of the school year, finds herself completely done with all of the signing and papers and homework folders and reading and costumes and projects. It’s quite funny and probably a bit hyperbolic and I’m not ashamed to admit I found myself chuckling while I read it, nodding along knowing that at some point, I’ll find myself just as frustrated because I’m self-aware enough to know that paperwork isn’t my strong suit.
The post itself and the discussions it sparked sort of gave me the push to write this, but that discussion isn’t the thing I’m talking about.
That post isn’t really the point of this post.
I’m not here to discuss end-of-year assignments and debate their value and efficacy. I’m not here to discuss whether mothers should pull it together and teach their kids to “finish the drill.” I’m not here to give moms who grow more lax as the school year ends a pass.
What you do is what you do and I like to think that, while there are certainly outliers, most of us are doing our best. Maybe we’re all skirting around average, but average is okay. I promise.
What I’m here to talk about is the larger conversation happening around that post and other posts like it. The conversations with much broader implications.
If your priorities don’t match those of someone else, your priorities are wrong.
If you don’t do it like someone else does it, you’re doing it wrong.
If you don’t value the same things, then you value the wrong things.
Wrong wrong wrong.
Ladies, can we stop that? Like, yesterday? Can we give up the self-righteous indignation that there’s only one way to skin a cat? Can we stop with the underhanded insults that are meant to make other women feel bad? To shame them into thinking the same way we think?
Can we stop the judging?
I’ve seen it time and time again, this attempt to invalidate the feelings and emotions and beliefs of other people because their feelings or emotions or beliefs are different from ours. In blogging, on Twitter, on Facebook in both public status updates and private groups, and in offices where I’ve worked. Anywhere two or three women are gathered together, this strutting around with our tailfeathers on display like proud peacocks begins.
LOOK AT ME! I AM THE BEST AT THIS EVER AND YOU ARE NOT THE BEST BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT DOING IT LIKE ME!
2 + 2 = 4 and 3 + 1 = 4
The equations are different. The answer is the same. If another woman arrives at the same conclusion as us but in a different way, where “same conclusion” = “what’s best for her and her family,” why does it matter that she didn’t get there our way?
Why does it matter if what’s best for her family isn’t the same as what’s best for your family?
We forget, especially on the internet, that we’re only seeing snippets of people’s lives. Snapshots. A single moment. Even in the age of oversharing across all of social media, we’re still not getting the whole picture.
So when we look at mothers who say they are just done and their kids are done and donedonedone and we judge that and label them bad mothers because of that moment, even if we only do it in our own heads, we’re being incredibly unfair and shortsighted.
It might seem silly to say we don’t know their lives, but y’all, we don’t. Unless we’re living it ourselves because it’s our life, we don’t know it.
Instead of judging the mother for having a hard time at what comes naturally to us, like being organized, or having the supernatural ability to get all of the stains out of all of her children’s clothing, why can’t we just, I don’t know, not do that.
We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. My strengths might be your weakness and your strength might be weakness. Instead of stomping all over each other, how about we reach out a hand and help instead.
How about teaching our kids to work together by doing that with each other right now. That’s our infinite hope.