Friday, March 30, 2012
A Mile in Her Shoes.
The second I had a baby and every minute that has accumulated since that day, I have learned to be less judgmental of others. Mistakenly, I assume the same from others. That they would become less judgmental as they grow older, wiser and add to their lives. Yet, the more I have going on in my life, the more I feel judged. What is up with that?
I have learned that life is ever more complicated, and I do the very best I can each day with everyone in my life. My husband, my baby, my dog and my cat, my friends, family and clients. Certainly, I come up short lots of times. Can't seem to be everything to everyone. Not sure it's possible to be everything to everyone and still reserve a tiny piece of life's pie for myself.
I see friends raising their kids in certain ways, making decisions different than mine. Before Tyler, I might have scoffed, questioned their decision, judged them. Now, I think - do the best you can. Be a good person, do the best you can to be a mom, wife, husband, employee, employer, pet owner etc. I appreciate the frailty that is our nature as human beings. It is the one thing that makes us all the same - our humanity - our frailty, our inevitable failings.
I appreciate it even more when others admit they too are imperfect, that life is hard, that they are doing their best. And when they look at my choices and actions, that they will say - you are doing the best you can. And when and if I ask for help, they say, of course, they try and do so without judgment.
I don't particularly like unsolicited advice on how I do things. Do you Monkey readers? When someone tells you what you SHOULD be doing as a mom, what you SHOULD be doing as a wife, what you SHOULD be doing as a pet owner. If I ask you, I expect the tough love. If I don't ask, it's because I don't particularly want to hear what you have to say. You with me here?
Motherhood in particular. It's like going into domestic warfare. Some have easy newborns. Others have difficult newborns. But everyone faces a battle at some point in their parenthood. Come sooner. Come later, it shall come.
I once envied friends who had easy babies. Now I just feel glad for them. I know it all evens out in life. We are all human and our challenges vary. The goal is to be there for our friends and family when those challenges arise. I try to do that, and I'm very fortunate that my true friends do the same in supporting me.
I find myself on this soapbox because I was very deeply insulted by someone yesterday. I was told that this person, and a few others think I neglect my dog, Sampson. That anyone would EVER look at me and think I neglect this dog is deeply insulting as I take HUGE pride in how much I love and give to all of the "beings" in my life that I nurture. My baby, my dog, my cat, my husband.
If you are reading this and you know me well, you will laugh at the accusation, because those who know me call me "crazy dog mom," "over bearing dog mom" "spoiling" dog mom and so on. I'm the dog mom who spent 3 hours a day in negative wind chill weather on the worst weather days in NYC with my dog so that he could have fun and frolic freely before going back into an apartment. It didn't matter how miserable I was, I wanted him happy. Same dog mom (and dad) that paid obscene amount of money to have Sampson driven cross country twice for both moves - cage free - in an SUV, with just him and two drivers - so that I didn't have to traumatize him by flying in an unregulated crate underneath an airplane in the East Coast winter.
Same dog mom who ensures, no matter what the price to me personally or my wallet that Sampson gets three walks a day, has toys in every room so not to be jealous of my daughter, has never boarded him and pays for personal care takers to stay at our house when we have to be gone. Sampson is never alone since I have a home office and am usually here with him - he is my co-worker.
Same dog mom who no matter how exhausted makes sure he gets pets, cuddles, the proper care and medicine, has helped him lose 20 lbs since May to help his arthritis. Same crazy animal mom who stays up an extra 45 minutes every night so that after Sampson is asleep the Cat can get his play time and exercise and cuddles.
That's me. Neglectful. And I know the monetary parts are not important but the amount of thought and care I put into this dog, the "manifestos" of perfect care I leave for pet sitters when I'm gone, the hoops I jump through to ensure that in no way does my dog or cat feel neglected now that we have a baby is borderline obscene.
So, to be called Neglectful. That is biting and that I will not tolerate.
That isn't even the point though is it? The point is, before we judge others based on a tiny sliver of what we see in their life, maybe we should throw them a bone - pun intended. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are (unless truly obvious to the contrary) doing the best they can. As a mom to a human and two furry people I take it one day at a time and hope that I give them all the love I can physically give them, and for anyone who cares to judge the way I go about my daily life with my family, well, unless I asked you specifically, you can take your opinion, look in the mirror, and wonder if perhaps you are judging because it is you who feels inadequate in some way.
Yup, this is a monkey vent, but also a good reminder to self and to all that unless you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, you truly have no idea what they are about.
On a happy note, HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND! Monkey is celebrating her 8 year wedding anniversary with Monkey Husband and tickled pink. It has been a wild ride and not one second has been boring. Love you monkey husband!
MONKEY READERS: how do you feel when people give you unsolicited advice?
What do you say to them??
I need some zingers in my arsenal :)