Ok. Perhaps that title is a bit extreme….or is it?! Sigh.
I thought, long before I ever had kids, that people should just all be friends, and lighten up on the judgement. The result of being an introverted hippie at heart, I suppose. After having my son, though, this multiplied by ONE MILLION. Raising the littles these days is hard, y’all. Lose the judgement. Support is crucial and I cannot imagine going through the challenges that motherhood brings with someone judging me along the way. Well, someone besides my son. ?
Everyone is just trying to LIVE and be their best selves in an imperfect world. Pitchforks: not required. Yet every day, I see examples of judgement in my news feed, in social media comments, and IN PERSON. Usually mothers. Why?!
These days mothers just cannot win. It makes me incredibly sad to see these constant stories of mothers being judged and SHAMED, often for things that are quite reasonable upon second glance.
But in a world where we will form an opinion from a single headline, where stories go viral, then the EXPLANATION of the stories go viral, where we judge even from hundreds of miles away…we aren’t exactly a banner society for understanding and second glances.
I think it is in large part due to a loss of community. In the pursuit of the American Dream, we have found ourselves more isolated than ever.
Everything from large political parties to just one tired new mama doubting herself as she experiences undiagnosed postpartum depression, we are divided, we are isolated. We lack a sense of communal support and common experience. Division is in our homes and across the nation.
In a desperate attempt to re-group…we create mommy mentors and La Leche League groups and Facebook communities and literally ANYTHING that will provide basic human interaction time (especially for stay/work at home moms). I happen to adore all of these things (especially LLL) but it’s a clear, constant attempt to bring people together, because we are ALREADY SO FAR APART.
I even read a comment feed recently that a work at home mom went to the grocery store at a consistent time so she could visit with the same staff each week. MIND BLOWN. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And I certainly do not mean to assume that that is her only interaction. But even still, I immediately wanted to track this woman down (in a non-creepy way) and become ACTUAL FRIENDS.
Was there not a time when someone would not have to go to such…random lengths to find a friendly face? If we can all joke and agree that it takes a village to raise children. Where is the village?
We have removed the value from “our village” and placed it in single, large houses, the farther apart the better. The more independent we are and less we need you and your village, the more superior we think we are.
This isolation breeds the general (and understandable) lack of open-mindedness. Someone does something differently than you and suddenly the judgement comes out. And again, if it is a MOTHER in this scenario, well ham and pineapples. She’s screwed.
There is no community. There is no safety. There is little trust. An exhausted mother rests her arms and lets her baby stretch and the INTERNET ROASTS HER. You have to be kidding me. This is where we are at? Where were the neighbors? The friends. The helpers. We are all these things. We are all her neighbors. Can we not put down our phones and give an understanding smile? Or…gasp – strike up a conversation and HELP?
Obviously, this topic could go many different directions. So, let me bring this down to a single point.
How can I be someone who helps.
How can I instigate a feeling of community.
How can I make ONE mother feel less isolated.
We are social creatures. We need each other. We need community. And quite frankly, I don’t have time to clean a big house anyway.