You are second or third in line at the checkout. You’ve just spent 45 minutes picking out what should have taken about 20 minutes, as you have your beautiful children with you who all have an opinion on what should be purchased this trip. Standing your ground on some, and obliging other requests. A little energy is sapped from your being. You get after a child for not being as gracious with your answer, and a passerby shakes their head. Judged.. and at this point its not real clear if they are thinking you are handling the situation badly, or if they think you have raised an emerging menace, because the whining child just really wanted those Skittles. A little more energy depleted..
Your eyes drift up to the magazines with all these perfect people shown. Article headings like: “How to be a Super Mom”, or “Get 36 hours out of your 24”. Still not our turn to the checkout, so we reach for one of them and peruse its contents quickly to see if there are any tidbits of life altering advice that can be gleaned over the next minute and a half while you wait to pay for your groceries.
Sadly, the answers are never really included. Many end up being a not so inadvertent attempt to advertise a product or a program that for some amount of money that may “change your life”. You put the magazine back, as it isn’t what you were looking for, and you get an eye from the cashier who is no doubt forming an opinion of you because you looked at the magazine, but did not buy it. Sheesh.. you think to yourself, don’t I have a right to know a little something about what I want or don’t want to purchase?
Kids have gotten over their disappointment and are now laughing and giggling with each other with one hopping on one foot, thoroughly entertaining themselves. Possibly at a louder decibel than is really necessary. The couple behind you have their children standing at attention, with their perfectly combed hair and dressed in their Sunday best are obviously annoyed. You lovingly shh your kids a bit and tell them to calm down.. and a passing through elderly man smiles at you and says.. “Oh let them be kids Mom..”. Sweet but a little frustrating too. At this point you give up. You think to yourself.. “Can I please just pay for these groceries and get home?” … you are drained a bit more and you feel your patience waning.
God shows you mercy, and its now your turn. You pay for your items, and go to assist your kids in bagging the spoils of what has felt like a war. As you are leaving the store a screaming 5 year old comes running and stops right in front of you, then proceeds to throw themselves down to the ground at your feet. Your child carrying a bag behind you, and not really paying attention runs into the back of your leg. You turn and give them a look as if to say “You need to pay attention”. The unspoken reprimand is understood as your child softly whispers “Sorry Mom”
The Mother rushes up and tells the child “If you get up and be good, I’ll get you some Skittles”, to which the child promptly responds. You hear your middle child whisper under their breath.. “Least someone gets some Skittles today”.. ><
You think quietly to yourself, while forcing a smile at the Mother whose eyes have met yours as she leads her child away .. “Ya… bribery is a good way to deal with your child”.
Then you think…. Ack! what was that? Where did that come from? You soften as you start to realize that the Mother was probably just trying to get her child off the floor and out of your way as quickly as possible. She chose a method you may not agree with, but it could be that her thoughts were more about the current situation, than any long term implications.
You ask yourself, what could she have done that would have not illicit some kind of judgment response.. and you cringe as you realize that in honesty, the only real answer would have been if she wouldn’t have let her child stop your progression out the door. Its not like you really know the full extent anyway. Maybe she implemented a single smack to her kid’s rear for the fit they just had, after they rounded the corner. All to which a different passerby shakes their head and judges her as they didn’t think it was warranted.. Maybe she had a talk with the 5 year old pointing out the wrong points.. maybe the Mother thinks about it and the child doesn’t really end up getting the skittles by the end of that Mother’s battle.
Crazy how often we can base a full adamant opinion on tiny little snippets of semi-understood information, and how ok we seem to do so without admitting there may be more to a situation than we know.
Ever feel like we are in a world that is entirely too opinionated? I often feel that the world has this idea that there is a cookie cutter solution to each role we have in our life. If we don’t fill out the cookie cutter, or if our shape comes out a little different, we fail. To be considered “Good” at any role we play, we have to adhere to certain points, yet these points are as diverse and numerous as there are people in this world.
At some point we collectively need to figure out that “we collectively” are not going to fit in the same mold, and that in honesty, we would be losing something important if we did. If we were exactly the same, we’d all have the same strengths and weaknesses, and that would actually be pretty devastating to the human race. Diversity ensures a certain level of adaptability. Maybe we should all be a little more willing to take more time before we make any opinion. Strive for quality opinions rather than quick opinions.
Being a working Mother, I’ve often struggled with the being ok with what things I highlight as being important with my children. I truly wish I was able to be a supermom, but like most, I’m just a regular Mom that loves her children. We do a lot of talking, but there are things I sometimes lament about not being able to provide them, and lessons I worry they won’t learn. I’m always feeling like I should be doing a better job, but I think that goes along with being a parent, and being human.
I sometimes question my quality of being a mother, wife, a sister, daughter, friend, citizen and all the other roles that I play in this life. There is no constant.. sometimes I’m better at some then others and there is nothing that can really change that. We all constantly juggle our multiple responsibilities as they each need some of our attention. We can’t be the best at everything all the time, there is shifting that happens.
Frustrations over both real and imposed personal limitations can cause issue in all of us. If we drop the ball in one area, it often throws off our rhythm for everything else. Striking a balance in our own perception is often the trick. We need to be realistic, and may need to stop focusing on preconceived notions and old stereotypes that don’t work for our situation. We may need to let ego go for a bit while things readjust.
It may signal time to buckle down and outline priorities. We may need to share responsibilities or remove aspects and attitudes that are just getting in the way of progression. When we start focusing on these failures it hurts not only us, but also those closest to us. The unrest spreads and starts affecting everything we do. It is very difficult to do our best when we have allowed ourselves to wallow in negative thoughts.
The biggest thing to remember I think is make sure our perceptions are accurate and reasonable for who we are and what our situation is. We are all different and what works for one person may not actually work for someone else. Life is about trying, learning, and moving forward.
The most important answers we ask are rarely found in man-made books or magazines. They definitely are not found in self-comparisons made to others. They aren’t found by becoming a stereotype. They are not found in social stature or wealth. They are not found in assets or awards or records even. You can’t expect others to find it for you. Your answers have to be found within for them to matter.
That is why when it comes to being ok with yourself and others, the cookie cutter method of measurement inhibits more than it helps us. The reason why people are so lost all the time is because we consistently look for measurement of worth to come from outside ourselves. The truth is until we reflect enough to be able to pinpoint to ourselves the things the really matter, and in turn release all the rest as trash, we cannot hope to do our best and the frustration will continue.
Most people aren’t unhappy because they are bad people, Most are unhappy because they focus their energy on things that have more to do with ego and perception when their precious energy should be focused in respect in responsibility.