My Worst Critic

As I was sitting here half asleep reading a blog someone posted to our Cautious Mom Facebook group about judgement and self doubt it hit me. Quite possibly the epiphany of the year. You ready for it? Here goes…
I don’t care.
Woah. What? Wait, that doesn’t make sense… I’m compassionate! I want to love people! I DO love people! I respect their opinions and their differences and I appreciate them! How could I not care?! I care a whole freaking lot!
Well, it occurred to me while reading this post about a great mom who worries a lot about what others think of her, that deep down, I just do not care. I just don’t. You don’t like my parenting? Whatever. You don’t have to.
You think I’m a bad parent because I’m still nursing both my children and they are both old enough to ask for it? I so don’t care.
You think it’s tacky that I let my daughter dress up like a princess to go grocery shopping or that I allow my son to ride in the basket of the cart singing pirate songs at the top of his lungs? That’s cool, don’t look. At least he’s not screaming at me to buy him the Coco Puffs this time, right?
Think I’m overly Indulgent because I don’t sleep train and I love Pintrest? Haha, yeah I totally don’t care.
Oh you worry for my children because I want to homeschool? I wonder why my child’s education is any of your business and I totally do not care!
See, so many Mom’s judge themselves harshly and trust me, I am no exception… I judge myself like crazy, but it’s not about any of that stuff.
I will breastfeed my 4 year old in public with zero shame and I will carry them through a mall with a blank expression while they’re screaming at the top of their lungs that they want to ride the train while I tell them that I’m sorry they couldn’t follow directions so no trains we are leaving and I will laugh as people glare over at me in disbelief and horror at my terror of a child and I totally don’t care.
I don’t care if you think I post too many photos of my kids.
I don’t care if you think our co-sleeping habits are weird.
I don’t care if you think I’m ruining them by creating magic for them in day to day life.
I don’t care if you think my house is a mess or that I aught to at least have grown up, matching decor in my home.
Maybe it’s because I grew up with a physical disability and I realized very early on in my life that the judgement of others is pretty much worthless and does not merit a second glance, let alone a feeling of self doubt. Other’s judgement should never dictate my actions and should never cause me to alter my course if I am truly happy with what I am doing.
My self doubt, especially about my parenting, comes from me, not from others. It’s not about what others may think of me, it’s about what I know I am capable of and yet, don’t accomplish.
Someone judges me because my son’s hair has never been cut and he’s 4? I couldn’t care less. But remind me of an event I was supposed to attend and forgot… Well that might just be the end of the world.
If I fail at someone else’s standards, I really and truly do not care.
If I fail at my own, however, well… That’s another story.
I know I could do better with my 2 year old’s letter, shape and color recognition and I am behind in my plan to get my 4 year old’s phonics books out.
Yeah, that is horrible and I fail. It’s on my list that always seems to get lost by 9am every morning.
I wanted my kids by age three to be in dance classes or martial arts and I wanted them to begin music studies early on so they had plenty of time to grow with music and have a deep understanding of it from an early age. At this point, they both know “hands only, not toys” on the piano keys and they both know several nursery rhymes, but that’s about it and I keep not having time for any sort of structured moment of learning.
Neither of them have ever stepped foot into a dance class and the full extent of my son’s marital arts knowledge is his very loud “karate chop!” that I have to constantly remind him is not appropriate to do to people at random.
I fail at healthy food, too. My kids are picky. They eat mostly okay, and sometimes really good… But most times, it’s me begging them to eat one bite of something good and then that’s all I get. I make what they will eat because food is important, even if it’s not the best.
I was going to build them savings accounts and I can literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve stepped into a bank since they were born.
My master bathroom is dirty and I need to soak my shower in bleach. I close the door when people come over and no one has any idea I have this dark secret of a shower that needs to be replaced because the sealer is all lifting and it grows it’s own ecosystem that I have to kill with chemicals I hate using every few weeks.
I regularly have piles 3 feet high of clean clothes to put away every week and I have the dry cleaning that needed to go in from 3 months ago still sitting in a bag in the corner.
And I’m poor. Like we are barely making it financially right now and it’s pathetic. We have the necessities, and we are okay, but we have debt and bills that basically equal the limited funds coming in and we can’t always keep up.
But do I feel judged by others for those things? No… Not really… I judge myself for those things because I believe I can do better and it’s my ONE JOB to do this the best. My one job is doing all I can to get them to adulthood alive, healthy and happy, ready for their futures and as well prepared for that as possible. Does that include having a clean shower? Yeah… It does.
I have no idea why, but it does.
Do I care what YOU think of my shower? Not really… My guess is we all have something we don’t take care of enough or like we should and I assume that while for me it’s my shower, for you it might be the kitchen sink or the laundry.
Do I care what you think of my finances? Nope. Not really something I think about.
So what does this mean? I read articles where moms talk about how the judgement and opinions of others has effected their parenting and I feel really bad for them. It makes me sad for them and for their babies that they have been motivated to do something contrary to their own intuitive process simply because someone, somewhere might think it’s bad.
It’s things like this that make me angry for mothers. It’s those kind of life altering choices made by fear and bullying not with education and compassion that drive me to post rants at 2:30am in hopes that anyone who reads it will be empowered to do what they know is best for their families in spite of whatever their neighbors, sisters, mothers in law and random bloggers say.
People say our judgement of others comes from a place of self doubt. If that’s true, then why is my self doubt only reflected in a mirror and not through other moms? Why don’t I care what they think? Is there something wrong with me?
And don’t confuse this “not caring” with the notion of not caring about what others do, because I do… I care a lot that moms do their best for their babies and I hope all moms are able to do all they want to do for their littles and I worry sometimes that my hopes for other people’s children is seen as judgement when really, I just want for the best for everyone’s babies, including mine.
So should I care more about what others think? Does it make me a bad person that I don’t?
Great… Now I’m going to start worrying about what people think of the fact that I don’t worry about what they think of me.
What do you worry about? Do you care about what others think? Or are you like me; is your own judgement what you fight most?
If I could speak to myself and make me listen, I would tell me to stop worrying and start doing.
What advice would you give yourself in the face of self-judgement?


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