The other day I was helping at a farmers market. My two young children were with me and a person who new another vendor decided to stop by the booth I was helping out at. Now, I had never met this person but he started a conversation with me by flat out calling me a hypocrite. He proceeded to explain that I should be ashamed of myself for letting my children eat unhealthy food. They both had just bought a donut from on of the vendors. This man continued with his scolding of how children learn from examples of their mothers, and so on.
This bothered me for days. I shared my story of anger and disgust towards this stranger for judging my parenting. Little did he know that my children had been up early to help me get everything ready for that days event. They had already eaten a healthy breakfast containing blueberries and yogurt and that they look forward to this 1x a week donut as a special treat since we do not have these items in our home regularly. I could go on and on about ways to defend myself against this solitary donut experience. However, as I reflected on this encounter I started to question if I felt guilty about my choices and maybe the reason I was so appalled by this person’s comments were because I was projecting my own feelings about my choices onto him.
The conclusion I settled on was, all of the above. I felt angry at myself and at this person. I felt embarrassed and frustrated that this person did not get to know me before making such bold statements about me. I also started to think about all the times I have had these same thoughts about other parents, and how horrible that is. I do not know their story any more than this man knew mine. The only difference is he spoke up about what he was thinking and I do not, well at least not to the person I have the thoughts about.
The truth is we are all judgmental of others. It is in our nature. We make snap judgments about others because our brain has to quickly process a lot of information all day. I hope going forward I will catch myself when I make these assumptions about others as well as being able to just brush off others critical comments about me. Parenting is hard, we all are juggling many hats. Some are bound to fall. If this week it’s only the donuts, I can live with that.
What are some hats you can let go of this week and still be OK?
Christina Geiselhart works full time as a behavioral health provider at a health center that specializes in caring for underserved individuals and their families. She also has worked in a variety of settings including long-term care facilities, outpatient counseling, and medical clinics. She has a passion for working with individuals who are wanting to make positive changes in their life. Call (815) 526-0522 or email CGeiselhart@itherapymail.com to set up a session. Visit Christina Geiselhart’s Profile.