Why as mothers do we feel like we have to apologize for the way we raise our children? Just yesterday I was in the grocery store waiting for my friend by the shopping carts when a mommy comes in with her little girl. She proceeds to put her 1 1/2 year old into the seat. She asks her lovely lady if she wants to finish watching Finding Nemo.
Then she looks over at me and apologizes for letting her little girl watch Finding Nemo while she shops. She says to me, “I never thought I’d be one of those moms who would do something like this, but it is the only way I can keep her in the seat.” She then goes on to explain her decision to me like her first explanation wasn’t enough. She points to her pregnant belly and sighs and says, “Especially since I am dealing with this, I just can’t chase her around. She is not even two yet.”
I then say to her, “Listen. Do whatever you need to do. I totally understand. There is no judgement coming from me. I get it. I have 3 children and I understand that sometimes we just have to do what we have to do.” I felt bad. I was sad that she felt like she needed to justify her behavior to me like I was Jesus Christ on judgement day.
But as mothers, haven’t we all felt this way? I sure have. Just Tuesday night I was so frazzled and tired that I did not want to make dinner for the kiddos. We had to run an errand in the evening, leaving us no time to eat. So I took the kids to McDonalds. Gasp! I can’t tell you the mental gymnastics that I went through in order to do this. I thought we better eat there so no one sees us with McDonalds bags when we get out of the car where we live. Since my daughter hates eating in restaurants and she hates eating in the car, she convinced me to get it to go. She said it didn’t matter if someone saw us with McDonald’s bags. She is right of course, but I was too concerned about my own reputation and the judgements and the opinions of other moms who might see me. I actually pulled around the back of my building so no one would catch a glimpse of me with my unhealthy contraband.
For one, I am a group fitness instructor and two, I am a mom. Moms and fitness instructors should never be caught dead eating at McDonald’s. But where is my personal freedom to not always make the best choice for my kids every single time in every single situation? I should have the freedom to make less than perfect choices. I am human after all. And I need to shake off the opinions and the judgements of others. Maybe no one is judging me. Maybe it is all in my head.
But I don’t think so. I think as moms we do judge one another. I know, because I have done it on more than one occasion. I publicly confess to it now before all of you. I am sorry. I will try not to judge you for eating McDonalds, letting your kids watch movies while you shop, or for eating white bread and ketchup with high fructose corn syrup. Today I will claim my freedom to make crappy choices on occasion and to let you do the same. Please live in freedom and do not apologize and do not be ashamed. I know you are doing your very best.
With all my heart,