Monday, March 24, 2014

Window Judging

I got judged today. Just like sometimes people go window shopping without real interest in seeing the real stuff inside a store, I got "window judged" according to a little glimpse a grumpy old woman got of my day without knowing any back story.

We had been out and about all day, doing errands. After picking up Ender, my last stop was the post office. When we went inside, I didn't dawdle about, but I also didn't hang on to Scarlett (sorry, World...). To be honest, I didn't want to because she was sticky. She looked like a pretty little monster after spilling her lunch all down her cute shirt and tutu in the car, and like a champion, I didn't have any wipes or spare clothes to erase the disaster. Just a water bottle to rinse our hands after battling the gooey, gunk-ified carseat buckles.
I have to tell you-- I was soooo grossed out when I slid open the van door to behold her lunchy mess. I whined to myself and tentatively patted everything with napkins, wailing "nooo!" every time I got touched by sticky gooiness. I wanted to strip Scarlett down and just take her into the post office in her diaper...but, well, my standards hold dirty clothes above nudity, and I just had to surrender.

So as I turned around from the package kiosk (having spent barely two minutes with my back to the kids), I saw Scarlett throwing a shower of cards in the air while an old grumpy woman stalked out the door and said "My goodness!"

The woman's tone really surprised me. It was nasty, harsh, as though she was instantly disgusted with the way I handle my children (or don't handle them). As she walked out the door, I said quietly "Thank you, ma'am..."
My feelings were hurt. I knew it was a "small incident," but it stung nonetheless. I crouched down and got the kids to help me gather up the cards strewn all over the floor, reminding myself not to get cranky with Scarlett just because my own feelings were bruised (that can be tricky, you know). Then we all quietly stalked back to the van to head home.
Not willing to let the grumpy woman's comment get me down, I encouraged myself by reviewing our day as I drove home. I had a lot of errands to do this morning, and I did them all cheerfully, each in a timely and efficient manner. People were friendly and pleasant with me. Scarlett behaved very well. That is a call for gratitude! I had to remind myself that this woman had seen only a small window of our day, and by mere appearances, it looked horrible to her.
I think there are so many mothers in this world who get judged unfairly by what we glimpse in little windows of their lives.
They may be so unfortunate that we've seen them at the worst time of their day or week, and perhaps the situation is a rare one...and we just don't know it. What if the grumpy woman had helped pick up the cards? Or what if she had said "uh-oh, please don't do that!" Or what if she had fought the compelling urge to be nasty and instead just said nothing?

After thinking through my feelings, I felt grateful for the reminder to quell the humanly voracious appetite to judge and instead look for ways to help. If I can't see a way to actually help, maybe I can at least offer kindness, patience and sympathy.

Even for the grumpy old woman...because maybe she is having a difficult time. Or, if I really want to get into the imagination game, maybe she almost tripped on one of the cards on the floor, and the fright of nearly falling shifted her into a shaky, angry mood (don't tell me that's never happened to you)?

I'm just sharing the reminder I personally received today to help others and judge them less. I know I'm going to try to be better in that regard, myself.


  1. I love your stories! And this is a great reminder to me to not judge. Thanks Qait for being so awesome! I am sure I'll have a moment or five like that soon enough, so I might as well start now to think this way. :)

  2. One more reason I look up to you! :) I hope the rest of your day went better and you were able to shake the hurt feelings. I know it can be hard sometimes!

  3. I love your blog Qait! You are a great mom & I'm sorry that lady was grumpy at you!


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