“What other people think about you is none of your business.” ~Unknown
I love that quote. Wish I knew who said it so I could thank them. Because I've come to believe that any time spent worrying or fretting over another's judgement or opinion of you is wasted time.
The other night, it was hot. In fact, the entire summer has been hot, the hottest in 60 years. I was hot. And I was hungry. The show was over, it was seven o'clock at night, and my babies' daddy was on-call all night. I wanted food and drink and rest, and my babies wanted me. (Thank God for that, by the way, because there will be a day they don't want me and their bedroom doors get slammed in my face). Anyway, instead of saunter inside, all hungry and sad, I ran in with a smile and said, "Get your shoes on, we're going to El Porton!" They screamed. "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!" It was Friday night, afterall. Who cares if we don't get to bed on time?
By the time we got there, it was eight-thirty, and by the time we got our food, the bar was bumpin'. That's when I got the mean-mug. The couple at the next table over kept watching me, each shaking their heads and tsk'ing. I heard one say under their breath, "Shouldn't they be in bed?"
We were having a blast, meanwhile. Cheese dip. Crayons and coloring paper. Yummy food and drink. My 4-year old picked up a friend at the bar named Shemika. Well, not really a pick-up. But a sweet young woman who loved children and was so, so kind to us that night.
Mean Couple kept staring, kept frowning, and each kept shaking their heads. Whatever. I wanted to smack 'em at one point, because for a split second I felt like a "bad mom" for keeping the kids up and out so late. Was I bothering other diners? Was it because we were sitting near the bar? But then, I looked over at my two babies, smiling so big. They were so happy.
In fact, a minute or so later, my 4-year old boy looked at me and said, "Mommy..."
"I love you. That's all."
I melted (it was hot, afterall)...
And that's when I realized that to pay attention to the people next to me was a waste of my time. Any worry would steal away precious moments with my two cherished children.
But it's not just Mean Couple. It happens all the time. We moms all encounter those people at the grocery store who give a disapproving eye when our children are climbing out of the carts. We face those mom-petitors who are constantly trying to one-up your child with their child's extra activity or skill or talent. I've seen my married mom-friends worry about having a perfect little family to everyone on the outside for fear of judgement. I've watched my divorced mom-friends fret over people's judgement of them not having that perfect little family. What is "perfect little family" anyway? I know kids from divorced homes and kids from married homes who each grew up beautiful, loving people.
I wish for just one day, we would all stop worrying about everyone else and worry about ourselves. What can we do each day to make ourselves better people, more grateful people, less judgemental, more compassionate? Tough work, but better than running around talking about everyone else, don't you think?
A wise person once said to me "Until you walk a mile in another's shoes, you aren't allowed to judge or comment. You have no idea what brought them to that moment, and you have no idea what pushed them to act as they do or be the way they are."
It was some of the best advice I've ever received.