I have this tendency to be a mean girl…maybe not the stereotypical “popular” girl that is mean…but the overly opinionated one, that rides her high horse right on through the lives of others, not giving enough thought to how my opinions may be affecting (read: hurting) others.
I wish I could, for even a brief moment, convince myself that my opinion, my words and thoughts, had always just encouraged people to find their own passions and convictions. But I know that I’ve been opinionated enough to forget to be encouraging, and I’ve just been down right mean. Sometimes, I’ve been mean indirectly, simply by speaking my opinion/my desires for my life and not thinking about how that might make someone else feel.
This realization of the damage my own words may have done came when, unknowingly, someone else brought me to utter tears as they discussed, with a friend, their own opinions. I overheard an entire conversation about parenting and homeschooling. What I heard was hard for me to handle, simply because I listened to someone, with great conviction and detail, relay to her friend her dreams. And her dreams were much the same as my own. Her convictions and reasons for homeschooling and making certain she was available for her child were many I share.
She was not talking to me, or about me. She simply shared her convictions about working mom’s, public institutions raising and educating children, and homeschooling. But I was brought to tears, and for a moment, I thought I was going to drown in all of the things that felt like I failed at my biggest dreams for my kids. I didn’t have the ability to cut myself any slack for the things I had no control over, and I lost my ability to be thankful for the things that are going right. And I got lost in the horrible feeling that the baby I’m carrying will only get a few short weeks at home with her mommy before being sent off to day care.
It took a while, several hours, and whining to a working-mom friend of mine, to have the next crucial realization in the middle of this emotional crisis. I am very passionate about how kids should be raised, and about Mom’s being home with their kids, and I have had that exact conversation that I overheard, with absolutely no regard for what it might be doing to someone else. I wish I could take back the times I wasn’t careful with my words, and I hope all of my mom-friends know that I admire them. Being a mom is the most challenging, rewarding job on the planet. And all of my mom-friends are doing it right, and I learn so much from the way they are raising their kids.
I hope that this helps me be more mindful of the things I say and where/when I say them. I think it’s a great thing to have conviction in life, and to be passionate. But I don’t think that’s license to become deadly with our words or judgmental. I am no less passionate today about moms staying home than I was before this revelation, but I am a lot more aware of the fact that not everyone has a choice about working or being home, and even those who have a choice aren’t doing it wrong by choosing something different than I would choose.