I quietly walked to the front of the room to take some pictures of Lydia receiving her very first award. What a great day it was. She posed for the camera so well and listened just as well as all of the others up there. As I leaned back in the chair to say a quick prayer, the mom's conversation behind me struck me...H-A-R-D. She sat there criticizing E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. This kid was not standing correctly and that kid was not behaving properly and then she said that her kid never would do that.
I had to chuckle to myself a little. Where do we get this sense of judging other people's kids? Where do we get an entitlement to look at the cover of something and form an opinion based off of no facts at all? And then I wondered if we even realize how silly some of these thoughts sound?!
I returned to my seat deep in thought. I wanted to turn around and say something to her, but I allowed the words to just soak in. I gave myself some time to process this. I am glad that I did. It has lead me to some conclusions and some changes I must make in my life...NOW!
I often times am so quick to judge myself. I usually am because I am a parent of a special needs child. Yes, somewhere I feel like that has entitled me to some kind of cape and hero status. If you don't believe me, just look on Facebook. And if it is on Facebook it has to be true. In all honesty, sometimes you read those cards and than start believing them. And in all reality it could not be further from the truth.
I am no one to judge anyone, no matter what. I should be the first to understand that because I am a mom with a child who has special needs. After all I advocate very hard for acceptance and inclusion and use the motto "she is more alike than different." Too bad her mom is no different than any other mom (OK...the majority of moms). I still cast judgment where judgment does not belong.
My hard is completely different than your hard. Your hard is completely different than my hard. That is OK. That is actually how God designed us to be. You may not understand what I am going through, I may not understand what you are going through, BUT we can still support each other on our motherhood journey. We can still come along side one another and pray with each other, hold each other accountable for our actions, remind each other of verses and Scriptures, hold one another, encourage one another, and be there for each other. WOW! I need to do that more often.
There is more in this world than my little problems, no matter what. And my battles may be large in comparison to others. However, I don't want my child compared to others, so why would I compare my hard to someone else's hard? Why do I think that at times the universe revolves around me? Why do I feel like I am the only one dealing with this issue.
Maybe it is because us as mothers judge each other way too much instead of banning together. Maybe it is because we are so concerned with our hard that we feel like we are too good to help someone else out who doesn't have a special needs child (after all I wear the cape and they don't). Just because they are not walking my path does not mean that they can't be exactly what I need. Maybe I need to reach beyond myself and help someone else out? Maybe they have the words or the hug that I need to help me through my day.
I had one of those days today, a hard day. My Lydia does not want to eat, she is disobeying, we are having problems with her transition, I am so over the schools. The list can go on and on. However, it does not mean that I have to have another mom who wears a super hero cape (I am so kidding about the cape by the way!) to come and rescue me. It could be a teenager who scoops up my child and kisses her and tells her how cute she is. It could be my reaction to how my daughter responds to it. It could be another mother who just needs a little helping hand and in returns is the highlight of my day. See, my ego gets the best of me most days, my hard consumes me, and my judging ways pushes people away.
I am going to encourage myself to encourage other mothers more often. Even if I don't think their hard is my hard, it is still hard for them. Even if I am in a very tough position, I am one step away from a major break down, I want to encourage another mother and not judge. I want all of us mothers to ban together and help one another out.
If we didn't compare and judge and we just helped, we would all be better mothers. We would have more shoulders to cry on, more places to hang out in the morning for coffee, we would have more encouragement, more laughter, more mom's nights out. So life would just be better.
So I am challenging myself to not wear that unspoken ego of "I am a special needs mom hear me roar." I am just a mom on her own path of motherhood. Some days are really tough, some days are really good. I feel like I have experience to share with others and wisdom about our journey; but I feel like I also have ears to listen, to learn from others. I know that I have a whole lot of encouraging to give other mothers. I know that I can create a better life for me and my children if I stop the judging, give grace and encourage other mom's. I don't want my daughter to be judged for who she is so why am I judging others for being who they are?
Happy Mother's Day to all of you wonderful mothers out there. Motherhood is a tough journey. It is our own journey that God has created just for us. It is a journey of love and loss, of happiness and celebration, of heartache and hurt. But it is the most rewarding journey ever. I promise that I will try to support you and not judge you.