Another mother recently told me that it was unthinkable that a mother of two young children would travel to Texas for life coach training, or training of any sort, as I had last Summer.
I hadn’t asked her what she thought either before going or since coming back.
She believed that I needed to hear what she thought.
Straight away, my brain looped on default to its first line of response in a situation like this, to: ‘She’s right, I am a horrible mother’. I went red and mumbled something, I cannot remember what. My head felt like it had filled up with a lot of water and it was so close to suffocating me, I could hear it swooshing in my ears.
Then my brain went to its second best programmed response ‘What a bi***, how dare she?’ And I immediately - literally, without thinking - went to all the reasons, (I could without even trying very hard, think of many), why I think she isn’t a good mother.
My brain needed to attack her because it mistakenly believed that she had caused me to feel Shame, so strong it gave me an instant headache.
I caused myself to feel shame in the moment I agreed with her and called my own decision into question. A decision which I made, loved and which couldn’t be reversed now anyway, even if I wanted to - I 100% don’t.
If this isn’t the definition of insanity, then what is?
All of this happened in around 30 seconds, agreeing with her, shame, judgement of her.
It felt horrendous.
It took me 30 seconds to become conscious of what was really happening and step out of default, programmed conditioning in my brain - well worn neural pathways that I set out on, every time in this exact situation, literally, without a thought.
Then I thought what I want to think:
‘She thinks mothers don’t travel overseas. That’s ok. She can think that'.
‘I don't think that and I am not confused. I love that I went to Texas last Summer and I am going again in two weeks.’
‘I’m a good mother. I do my very best, even though, I am - just like her - sometimes confused.’
‘She’s a good mother, she is doing her very best’.
When I perceive that she is judging me, I judge me AND her.
When we judge someone else, we judge ourselves. Every time.
When I think that it’s possible that I’m a bad mother, it becomes possible for her to become a bad mother too.
When she thinks I’m a bad mother, it becomes possible for her to be a bad mother too.
Believing the possibility that there are bad mothers opens up the possibility that we are bad mothers, ourselves.
I believe there is no such thing as a bad mother.
In thinking this, I immediately felt compassion for her.
I felt sorry that she has a judgmental voice in her head that’s so loud, she brings it into other conversations, unthinking.
Let’s all stop it.
What if, there is no such thing as a bad mother? And instead, sometimes confused humans doing the very best they are capable of under all their circumstances?
Just mothers. Not bad, not good, just Mums.
No good humans or bad humans. Just The Humans.
What do you judge other women for?
Write it all out and question it.
Is it true what you’ve written, or are you also - like us all - sometimes confused?
What if you didn’t believe that any more? How would you show up differently?