Friday, April 11, 2014

They say truth hurts, but so do un-truths

Every time I am sitting around with friends and we start talking about "Pet Peeves," I can never think of one. I mean sure, I don't necessarily love when people pop their gum or click pens but it also doesn't drive me wild with anger or make me want to lash out irrationally. One thing that I realized yesterday is that I do have a Pet Peeve and it's strong. It makes me livid with anger and it makes me feel completely overwhelmed with weakness, pain, hurt, and disillusionment. It is when someone inadvertently or directly decides that they know exactly who I am without really ever interacting with me. I have a few statements to make because it is part of me taking care of myself:

You don't know me if...

-- You know my family.
-- You have married a man who is black.
-- You have had a miscarriage.
-- You have diabetes
-- You are overweight.
-- You are family.. (you might know me but not just because we are related)
-- You are a therapist.
-- You knew my grandparents.
-- You know my father (Heck he doesn't really know me)
-- You know my mother
-- You know my sisters
-- You know my family! (repeating is necessary apparently)
-- You know my husband
-- You read my Facebook status' every day
-- You see my son in pictures.
-- You read my blog (sorry...but not everything is blog material)
-- You have heard stories!

Now, how someone is known is by spending time with them, asking them questions about their beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and allowing yourself to take them in. Developing a "KNOWING" of another person is not just from a handful of interactions, a few Facebook posts, and opinions of others. We should have all learned by now in seeing the craze of celebrities and paparazzi (not at all claiming to be a celebrity) that we can not always trust what we see, hear, and read. To be honest, I think the only way you can trust your opinion of another is by actually engaging with me, developing a relationship, and then making that decision.

Yesterday this happened to me. Someone unloaded all of their "facts" they had gathered on me based on Facebook status', other's opinions, and of course....they have actually talked to me twice face to face and one of those times was literally about 1.5 minutes long. The other was at a dinner after a funeral. In my view, those are not enough to gather an entire personality profile and judgment on anyone. However, this person had no problem calling me names that were horrible (hypocrite) and deciding that they knew everything they needed to know to form a full opinion of me. How sad!

This is what I have decided since yesterday, shame on me if I ever do this again to another person. I am 100% positive that I have and shame on me for that. I won't be doing it anymore. I will base my opinions on another based on the content of their character which I will only know after trying to know them. I am tired of renewing my sense of worth after someone tears me down without knowing a single thing about me besides who my family is and what others have said. I am angry and I believe I am justified in that anger.

If you don't have the time to actually know, please don't take the time to give me your report card. I didn't even attend your class!! LEAVE ME ALONE!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Life is a mother!

I have been wanting to write this post for several weeks and just haven't found the time. Probably because as it will absolutely show, I am a new mother. When I say new, I have a 14 month old son. My days consist mostly of diaper changes, book reading, meal preparation, cleaning, snuggles, singing songs, dance parties, and playing with Maxwell. I get an idea for a blog post and I hope that it stays with me until I can belly up to the laptop for a few quiet moments and process.

I think that the idea for this post started a few weeks ago when I started to see a trend in my relationships with other mothers both in person and on Facebook. I am fearful in my parenting. I have noticed lately that I try not to express any opinions, ideas, values, or advice in parenting and I know why. I am fearful of other moms. I think that as moms, we are cruel to each other more than we are helpful. In the short time I have been a parent, I have been told how to do the following from people who are a little more experienced than me or perhaps are as new as I am at this: feed Max, bathe Max, educate Max, discipline Max, introduce Jesus to Max, and the list goes on. The thing I should note is that I never asked these people how to do that. I have asked a number of parents that I completely respect and share values with how to do certain things or even just ask them how they do something so that Anthony and I can come up with something that works for our family.

The people I am talking about in this post were NEVER asked these questions. The conversations looked like this (example of actual conversation with another mother)

Tamara (not actual name): So is Max sleeping through the night?

Erica: Yes, he takes two naps a day and then sleeps 10-12 hours at night as well

Tamara: You should not let him nap that much. He is stunting his growth. He should be playing and not sleeping

Erica: Well, we have consulted his doctor and it seems like he is 100% healthy and my opinion is that if he is tired to where he is falling asleep, it is not my job to keep him awake but to realize his body is telling him something.

Tamara: Maybe you need a new doctor

This conversation had me so angry because two things were insulted; my ability to make good decisions for my child and my ability to choose a good physician. Note: We LOVE our doctor for Max!

I have noticed that other mothers are my biggest enemy in this journey that is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It's not to say that there aren't mothers who support me, encourage me, and pray for me. It's just that I have seen more of them that want to force their parenting ideas, experiences, and values onto me and Anthony. There have even been people who have wanted to critique how we pray with him, teach him about Jesus, and educate him spiritually. How in the world can you choose that for another family?

This brought me to a conclusion in my parenting: Never give advice unless you are asked. My opinion is but ONE...and not the ONLY ONE or the RIGHT ONE. The way I parent is completely in response to who my son is...since other mothers do not know him...they probably should not try to parent him. Does that aggravate anyone else?