Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Story About Making Snap Judgements

I wish I was less judgmental. Try as I might, I let that little "know it all voice" creep in, putting my sanctimonious values and priorities on others. Of course I do this silently, or might say something to my older daughter or husband, never directly judging. I just did this on Saturday to my friend. She came down to the competition later in the day, but didn't know her daughter was doing a solo competition. She ended up arriving just after her daughter was done and missed it. I'm thinking to myself, and then Sunday out loud to DH, "How would you not know your kid is doing this!" My friend does not work out of the house (the story another long judgemental opportunity for me), so of course, I also put that tone in my thoughts. "It's not like she has other distractions." Admittedly, I felt my judgmental thoughts cringe worthy. 

Jump to later Sunday when I ran into my niece in the grocery store. I haven't talked one on one, with undivided attention with my niece since September. We had at least 20 minutes in the tea and coffee aisle. She was flustered, needing to get a few things to tied her over as even though she is having grocery delivery, it wasn't coming until Thursday and she hadn't planned well the week before. She shared that she is going to home school her 11 year old for a while because the school just isn't supportive enough with the mental health challenges her son is having. Her youngest clings to her when home, and she feels like some days she has no energy left for herself. Grief hits in waves, but she is always first attending to the kids needs. This time in the grocery store alone, was her reprieve. 

Cut forward and she was a few people ahead of me in the next check out lane. I gave a brief wave as she left, then started unloading my cart. I heard, "Mam, you forgot this." Here the bagger was holding her purse that she had left in her cart. She gave me a quick look of a sigh, took the purse and left the store. I over heard the person behind her say, "What, that's a dumb mistake. Good thing we're all honest." to which the cashier, not a kid I might add, said, "I know right. She was scattered."As I was leaving, a woman coming in  asked me if I dropped a mitten. It was a nice thick blue mitten, dropped right where the last cart would have been put back on that side, the door my niece left. "No, but I know whose it is." I got the glove and she said, "You'd think someone would notice on a day like this they didn't have one of their mittens."

Mama bear wanted to come out to her, to the cashier, to the other customer. I wanted to shout that she has more important things on her mind than a mitten, being scattered checking out her groceries, and even her purse. I wanted to tell them she has an 11 year old and 6 year old who are scared of losing another parent, and whose grandpa also is being treated for cancer. I didn't of course, but in my short drive home, I realized I am no different, no better at being judgey when I know nothing about the situation. 

I know there is a lot of backstory before I knew my friend, that I will never fully understand, and it's not my business to need to. It's my business to be her friend now. It's not useful to tell myself I would do things differently when I see or read a train wreck decision, but it could be mine to respond to requests for help or at least provide words of encouragement. On this, I must not try to do better. I must do better,  and give support instead of hypercritical thought.


16 comments:

  1. What a brave and honest post for you to write. I come from an overly judgmental family which basically crippled me emotionally, so much so that I had to move over 1000 miles away to escape and start living life on my terms, not theirs. If I didn't do something that was expected of me, I got criticized and if I did do something, well, it was never enough. There is a popular meme that goes around facebook and comes up every now and then. "Be nice to people you meet because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about." It's very true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the meme very well and should have it plastered by the side of my bed to read each morning. While I have my down times on occasion with family, for the most part, we all do our own thing with each others blessings.

      Delete
  2. Your post really made me think. I come from a profession that makes lots of judgements about young people very quickly. In the Uk we often say 'it's nice to be nice'... Jx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think too young people get a bad rap becasue of sress, hair style, interests. I never forget the first time I was in a Hot Topic store with my daughter who wanted a band t-shirt. I don't like shopping period, especially in a mall.Walking in Hot Topic at that time, was like walking into a circus-seeing more earnings and tattoos on a single body than I had seen on a group of 10 previously. However, customer services was outstanding-they knew their stuff, were courteous and helpful, and it has become one of my favorite stores, in the limited time I spend in malls, to shop because of the high level of professionalism.

      Delete
  3. Well, being on the receiving end of the "What else does she do all day?" or "Why'd you bother going to college," I can tell you I appreciate your introspection. I do know that, even if we escape deserved responses from the victims of our blind judgement, the universe ultimately responds with karmic ice-cold water in the face, and usually when we least expect it. I think my (hilarious) one-liners to the comments I used to get are probably kinder that the rage of the cosmos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Working moms, stay at home moms, part timers, stay at home dads, single parents-wow, we all get the judgement don't we? I say, let's just be nice, as Jana says above, and know we all are doing what is best for our families.

      Delete
  4. It is so easy to judge and my mind has a snarky little voice that I need to suppress regularly. Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today, I think I managed to tell my inner snark to shut up!

      Delete
  5. amen, to your post today. Penny S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Penny. One day at a time, that's what we are all trying to live.

      Delete
  6. Great introspective post to share with those of us who need to look inward also. p.s. ask me sometime about being judged for not working outside the home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can imagine the judgey McJudgsters like me are dealing with envy and potential down right jealousy! Of course none of us would know crap about your decisions, your whys-none of our business anyway.

      Delete
  7. It is nice...ok, not nice particularly, to be reminded that none of us know what is happening in anyone else's lives and just because WE think they should do things differently....I am guilty of that and it is reminders like this that will help me remember that everyone has their battles and handles things differently - not better, not worse, just different. Thank you for reminding me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Witnessing it as I did on Sunday with the criticizing and joking strangers, I had a big dose of a reminder.

      Delete
  8. I would have had to ask the friend how she did not know her child was performing. The curiosity would have killed me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do know, and its personal, and not something for me to second guess the why. She was there for the show choir performance.

      Delete

Join the conversation. Your respectful comments are welcome. Spam and advertising products or services without permission will be deleted, as will anything deemed hurtful to others. A change, I moderate comments older than three days to be sure I read them all and stay ahead of the spam. If you're a blogger, feel free to include your blog URL.