You’re not supposed to judge other moms. I know that. I practice not judging because I don’t want them judging me when I lose my shizz in Target. Or the gym. Or the park. Because I’ve broken down in all three locations. Sometimes in one afternoon.
But every now and then, I judge. I honestly can’t believe what some people do in public. And as I reflect on the people I have judged since the beginning of this year, I am pretty sure you’d judge them too.
I’m not talking about the frazzled mother who can’t herd her children into the car from McDonald’s playland. And I’m not talking about the dad who’s reading his email on the train while his young son flirts with a homeless person.
No, not them. They have my love and compassion. I stare at them, sure, but I am not thinking shaming thoughts. If I meet their eyes, I smile a smile that I hope communicates I get it, hang in there, and tomorrow I’ll probably be in your shoes.
But there are others.
Like the mom I met at Sadie’s art class. During the art project, most of the moms/nannies/dads were huddled over their children helping them sprinkle glitter and paint on anything other than each other. Except for one mom. She found her way to the couch, plopped down, and proceeded to trim her toenails. During the art class. Snip, snip, snip went her toe nail trimmings to the floor. She was mighty peeved that her daughter needed some help assembling her macrame lizard, because duh! She was busy grooming. Social grooming.
Can I say one more thing about toe clipper? It was the dead of winter (April in Chicago) so it was a production– she had to remove her Uggs and her SmartWool socks. This wasn’t a slip-off-the-flip-flop situation.
I was super proud when one of my kids looked over and said loudly, “Mama, what’s that lady doing?”
I don’t know; I really don’t know.
And there’s the parents who were both present in gymnastics class when their little tyke (a dead ringer for Lumpy from Leave It To Beaver) proceeded to ram his head into the teacher over and over again. Have I mentioned that the teacher was male and that Lumpy’s head was about level of Coach M’s manly bits? No? Did I mention that both parents laughed every time it happened, even though it was clear that Coach M was thoroughly unamused? Had Lumpy being hurting a child, I would have stepped in, but I don’t know the protocol for intervening when a child is racking the coach’s balls with parental consent. I am a little sad I needed to know that protocol.
The last person I am still judging is the gentle soul I witnessed in Whole Foods. Her quest? To find the perfect apple cider vinegar. Her method? To berate the stock boy who was scurrying all over the store to find what she was looking for. I stared. Yes, I did. She was being so nasty, and he clearly wasn’t understanding what she was asking for. I rolled out my semi-annual stink eye for her. If you are going to be a jerk, don’t do it when your kids are in the cart observing your excellent manners.
And that’s it. Well, that’s all I will admit to now. Honestly, are you judging me for judging them or are you with me on this?