Wide eyed at 3:30 this morning, I can’t stop thinking. About me. About you. About our daughters. The sound of white noise from across the hallway echoes throughout the house. If I listen close enough, it sounds like its saying something. I take a sip of water and turn to the other side. “I’ll write it down in the morning”, I tell myself. That’s how it used to be, you know. Before children and businesses and hormones. When coffee was taken in as a luxury rather than a necessity. I could write an entire novel in my sleep and wake up to pen every word. Those days are gone. Replaced with a foggy memory and an absent mind and many, oh so many forgotten words.
There is this theme I’m afraid has haunted our mothering years. On every corner of the internet is one of us who feels less than. One who feels defeated. Who feels…
There it is, that word.
Stop judging me. I feel so judged. I’m judged for everything. I judge, you judge, we all judge for judging judge. The slogan of our war. Good gracious.
Just yesterday my eye caught four (four!!) different blogs, posts, threads, all of which were written by women who feel less than because of something another woman is doing differently. All of which told those gals who birth naturally to just quit talking about it. All of which condemned the mom who manages to workout daily and posts pictures of it. The mom who breastfeeds should not be proud. The mom who is crafty should just keep that creativity to herself. Hey vegetarian, please tone it down a bit and for the love of carbs can somebody shut up the Paleo’s?
Because really, y’all are making me feel like crap.
Can we ask ourselves a hard question? Can we say it out loud and let it rest on our broken ground for just a minute?
Who is responsible for my heart?
Because, people are beautiful. Good God, women are beautiful. Wired with a snowflake array of passions, convictions, goals and accomplishments. Every single one clothed in dignity and power. Knit within each of us is this power of choice.
I may choose to encourage, support, and cheer on my fellow (wo)man, or I may choose to make it about me.
Could it be that we are the ones responsible for our feelings of judgement and insecurity? I mean, could it be that we have the power to break free of that bondage without matter to what other people are doing, saying, typing?
Who controls me? (Hopefully you’re catching on to the answer, here.)
How someone else views you, mama, how they speak of you or look at you or write about you actually has no bearing on your life. It doesn’t change the DNA of your spirit any more than it changes the DNA in your blood.
Do you realize that? None. They don’t follow you home and sleep in your bed and shadow your every move. They don’t make your money, deliver your children, cook your meals. You do those things. You make those decisions. You say what you can handle and what you cannot. Where your convictions lie and where they do not. If someone thinks their’s is better…so what?
You manage your heart. They manage theirs. Life moves on.
I know the feeling. That feeling. The feeling of judgement. Insecurity. “But, you don’t even know me….”. My stomach turns and I can’t decide if I want to thrash to my own defense or crawl under the table and cry. You see, I’m the gal who births naturally. I’m the gal who breastfeeds for a freakishly long time and who brings healthy cupcakes to birthday parties. You may think I do not know the feeling of judgement, but daily there are words put into my mouth and intentions put in my heart. I “must” be judging you. Women who are afraid to tell me about their c-section, or feel ashamed to pull out the Cheerios, or dance around sharing their decision to (fill in the blank). You don’t think I get the same looks you do when I won’t let my kid drink that soda or watch that movie? Please. That feeling makes me want to throw a bag of pizza rolls at my kids just to make everybody else feel better.
Here’s the thing. Until we realize we are the ones who manage our hearts, the ones who control our own offense…this feeling will linger. It will set up camp inside our souls like a colony of termites and eat, eat, eat away at our joy, until all that’s left is a frail pile of what once was a strong fortress.
The truth is, nobody needs to adjust their life because I can’t manage my own heart.
You are a powerful person. You may choose to read that blog, swim through all those comments, stay in that friendship, or assign a motive to the look you just got at the grocery store.
You also have the power to read things that feed truth into your soul. You have the power to walk away from the relationship that constantly compares. You have the power to give someone the benefit of the doubt. To assume goodness. To be confident in what’s in your cart, your home, your spirit.
YOU! You have that power. Unless, of course, you give it away. Unless you choose to be a victim of comparison. Unless you make yourself helpless to the judgements of others.
We are stronger than this. Better than this.
Can we start choosing to manage our hearts? Can we recognize that another’s choices is not what is to blame for our offenses? Can we take some…responsibility?
This war, mommies, it’s really within ourselves.
Let’s win it.
This article originally appeared Keri Duckett’s blog.