Monday, March 15, 2010

Who am I to Judge?

Once again, this is a blog that I have been writing in my head for a while, but a post on another blog today made me sit down and spell it out.

I have come to realize that judging someone for their choices, whether it is about motherhood, or free time, or breastfeeding or child discipline, is an utter waste of time and energy.  I have judged.  I have been judged.  I will be judged for this post.  That is simply the world we live in.  I do think we have control over this though.  I think that we can choose not to think the way our minds do...does that make sense?  I remember going to a talk once about racism at my graduate college shortly after graduation.  The man doing the talk had spent years researching and working with people about racism.  He told a story about a time where he was boarding a plane and saw that the two airplane pilots were men who were black.  He said that for an instant he had a thought in his mind of

"do those men know how to fly this plane?"

This is from a man whose life's work is dedicated to battling racism, yet he passed this completely biased judgement of these 2 men, simply because of the color of their skin.  His point was that racism and judgement is so engrained in people, that our minds jump to a conclusion.  The important thing is though, we can control what we do next.  In his situation, he questioned that thought and realized how absurd it was and went on about his business boarding the plane.  This is the part we have real control over.

The inventor of Bum Genius has a blog and wrote this post about how she came to terms with what she thought she would never do as a mom, until she became one.  One thing that struck me in this article is when she asked a mom who came into her store if she would like to sit down and nurse her baby.  That mom was struck with saddness over her inability to breastfeed.  So while other mothers could have been looking at her with the bottle and passing judgements, she was judgeing herself, much worse than anyone else.

The post I read today had to do with grocery shopping.  The blog itself was about how the author was seemingly judged by another shopper for picking up a weight watchers dinner.  One woman commented that she can't help but notice when someone has not-so-healthy (aka processed) food in her basket because of the obesity epidemic in this country.  I certainly agree that there is a problem in this country, but I work with people who are of extrememly low income, most of whom are eligible for food stamps.  Junk food is cheaper.  Grocery stores like the one in my neighborhood cater to people of low income who buy processed foods and snacks full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar because the shoppers either don't know which foods to pick or they can't afford them.  I generally drive farther out of my way to get my produce because the store in my neighborhood has second rate produce compared to the exact same store that's located in the wealthy part of town.

I remember setting up for a holiday party at BBZ's school last year and a woman stated that she thinks a certain age is too long to breastfeed.  There were others in the room and I remember thinking that I don't know who in this room breastfeeds and whether or not they still are and I would hate to offend anyone.  A few weeks later I found out that someone I know and respect breastfed her children until they were 5 or 6.  This certainly invokes judgement of all kinds, but who am I to look at this woman and tell her that her decision for her children is wrong?  Who am I to tell anyone that their decisions are wrong?  Please know that I am not talking baout people who do illegal things.  I have a rough spot for people who don't use car seats...and blinkers, but to me those are rules that have laws attached, so that is a bit different.  Am I making excuses for some of my judgements?  Yeah, I guess I am.

But in reality, I have no place to judge anyone, for anything.  Ever.