I recently came across several articles labeling different “mom types” to avoid. In general the “types” are relatively benign (perfect, sugar-free, bragging, insensitive, etc.). Reading each article left me feeling disappointed. Why? Moms, dads, guardians, any caregiver, really, are trying to do the best they can, in each moment. Some of us may be miserable at our role. Some of us are abusive. Yet, labeling and judging doesn’t help anyone. It merely cuts further divides between people responsible for the lifelong task of raising little beings into adults. Adults, who will shape the future.
When I meet other parents on the playground, I have zero interest in labeling or judging them. We are probably each in need of a friendly word, a moment of respite while our kids play or even someone to commiserate with regarding some hard thing that happened that moment, day, month, or all year. If the parent says something mean, silly, bragging, complaining… Doesn’t really matter. I have stopped letting the words of others harm me, why? I have realized a simple thing.
How others treat us is a reflection of who they are, not who we are.
I have experience with this. There is commonly a “type” detailed as the “insensitive mom”. There are times I am the mom described by these words. It is completely unintentional, and it happens whenever a woman shares the beautiful news of her pregnancy with me. While I am always happy for the woman, I have no idea what comes out of my mouth, or what expression is on my face. This is because I am trying to hide my experiences (the reflection of myself) from the beloved, expecting mother. See, I have had the heartbreaking life experience of infertility, losing many babies to miscarriage and the stress of high risk pregnancies. When another woman tells me of her pregnancy, I am overjoyed for her, however my experiences were never simple or easy. I don’t want to scare the expecting mother with my experience, yet it is hard for me to think of anything else when faced with the topic. It would be easy for the woman to interpret my reaction as a judgment on her or as being insensitive.
I ask we all take a pause before feeling hurt or judging another. Remember we don’t know what the other has been through. Remember, once again, they act from who they are and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you.
Let’s instead take a moment to acknowledge that we are in a journey of life (and for some of us, parenting) together. That we are all doing our best in each moment. Lift each other up and we are all capable of more.
Please leave your thoughts, suggestions, impressions. We each have something to give, something to learn and something to teach.