When I was younger and someone would stop by from the neighborhood, depending on who it was, we would hide the coffee pot out of sight. I knew that we did this to avoid any judgement for our choice that was not socially acceptable in the area we lived. I grew up in Utah, predominately a Mormon area, where drinking coffee is not in line with their beliefs. While I have no judgement against anyone in that religion there is bound to be judgement from some members of any large group, who share similar beliefs, against those who don’t live in those same beliefs. I don’t blame my mother for wanting to hide the coffee pot. I understand why we did it and looking back, it makes me realize how we, as humans, naturally want to do things to avoid judgement for our choices.
We all have been judged or have judged someone at some point in our lives. No one likes it. I have noticed, especially since becoming a parent myself, how much judgement there is for choices one makes in their own family. You can get it in person, behind your back, online, amongst friends, anywhere. Whether you have a family, work, stay at home, have a nanny or use daycare, decide not to have kids, wait to have kids, don’t get married, haven’t graduated college, etc. It’s quite exhausting and affects me more than I realize at times.
I have been struggling lately with admitting I am now a stay at home mom. When someone asks me what I do or if I work, I stumble and think I need to justify myself to someone. I do stay home but I also do freelance work, somehow hiding behind the freelance part makes me feel a little better, like I am okay in most people’s eyes or something. It so strange because, this is the life I have idolized for years and have wanted to be able to have for my family and now I have it and I somehow am not comfortable with it.
I read an article today from the perspective of a stay at home dad who was apologizing to women for thinking being a SAHP was going to be a breeze but now that he is one, he sees the error of his judgement. He then went on to outline an example of how his days go. It was an interesting perspective to see someone appreciate something in a way he didn’t expect to. That’s all great and then you move onto the comments and people were nit picking how he runs his day and if he were more structured his day wouldn’t be as bad, his kids would be better behaved, and ya da ya da ya da. What’s up with all the judgement?
I have been working since I was 14 years old and had many various jobs and responsibilities in that time and now I don’t have a steady job in an office. I am not going to go into details of which job was hardest and why and how other people have it so easy or don’t understand. What I will say is that I am proud I have always done what is best for my family and the situation we were in at that time. There is value in any way that you choose to spend your time. I think the judgement of how others live, parent, think, etc. is possibly a reflection of our own insecurities or struggles with choices or desires to live differently than we are currently able. Frankly, I have let these thing get in my head and have developed insecurities I didn’t even know I had until I am now living the life I have dreamed of and can’t full take pride in it. Sure it’s an adjustment, it’s different but in a few years I might choose to do something different that fits my family better at that time.
I am just sick of all of the judgement. It is so easy to sit behind a computer and think how someone’s choices are wrong. I am certain none of us are perfect, I know I am not. So what’s up with all the judgement? I am who I am and I love my life as much now as I did when I was a working mother. Neither is better than the other and my choice is my choice, made by me and my family. I am lucky to have a spouse who supports me and doesn’t wonder what I do all day, working or not, but rather encourages me to be happy and supports us being the best family we can be in whatever situation we are in.
So in reflecting on all of this, I am vowing to you that I will no longer hide the coffee pot and be ashamed of my choices, and I will also not judge others for having their coffee pot out. I hope others will join me. We are all doing the best we can. We all have good days and bad. There are pros and cons to every side and some things are just better fits for others. Wouldn’t the world be better if we could all just get over comparing who is better and why, and instead we just focus on what is best for our own lives and living with conviction and pride in our decisions? Let’s choose support and love instead of judgement and comparison.