Friday, March 7, 2014

I’m Doing Lent Right This Time

I’m Catholic, and it’s the season of Lent. That means that, for the next six weeks or so, I'm supposed to give something up. Why is that, you ask? According to Catholic Online, “Each year the Church observes Lent where we, like Israel and our Lord, are tested. We participate in abstinence, times of fasting, confession and acts of mercy to strengthen our faith and devotional disciplines. The goal of every Christian is to leave Lent a stronger and more vital person of faith than when we entered.”

Except I'm not that religious and don't actually make it to church very often. For me in years past, Lent mostly has been about not eating meat on Fridays and trying not to eat candy at all...before gorging on Cadbury Crème Eggs on Easter morning. It occurs to me that I’ve been doing it wrong.

I have to admit, I feel like I’m already sacrificing enough of myself on a daily basis simply by being a Stay-At-Home-Mom – like showers, adult conversation, and showers. The thought of giving up my restorative cup of morning coffee or afternoon bite of chocolate (or entire bar of chocolate, who am I kidding) just doesn’t do it for me.

But I still find myself wanting to participate in this Lenten season in a meaningful way. I like the thought of being stronger and more vital, but not just in the area of faith. I want to do something for the next 40 days that will make me a better person overall – not just one who is strung out on a sugar and/or caffeine withdrawal.

So here’s what I’m giving up for Lent…JUDGEMENT.

I’ve spent too much time prepping in the bathroom before preschool drop-off, hoping the other moms wouldn't notice my frizzy pony tail and yesterday’s jeans.

I’ve worried that other moms might think I took too many shortcuts by not breastfeeding Will long enough or by letting Lucy eat one too many Chicken McNuggets.

I’ve compared my kids’ achievement to other kids, wondering what their moms were doing to get them to use a sippy cup or eat vegetables…and what I was doing wrong.

I’ve stressed over finding gifts for Lucy's teachers and friends (so many birthday parties!) that strike the perfect balance of thoughtful and thrifty, lest anyone think that I’m “trying too hard to please.”

I’ve allowed other people’s idea of what a Stay-At-Home-Mom should do – a be-aproned Mommy dispensing comfort and wisdom with a vacuum in one hand and a glue gun for crafting in the other – influence how well I thought I was actually doing this job.

Simply put, I’ve defended myself too much. I spent too much energy judging myself against those around me.

And, I’ve had enough of it. My house might not be spotless and my kids might be watching a “Yo Gabba Gabba” marathon while I type, but I am doing the best that I can. And, I believe that we all are.

So, if you’re wearing a designer outfit or PJs, I am not judging you.

If you breastfeed or formula feed, I am not judging you.

If you kids are models of good behavior or are having a complete meltdown right this minute, I am not judging you.
If you are a strict disciplinarian or rely on a safety leash, I am not judging you.

If you stay at home or have a career, I am not judging you.

If you believe in attachment parenting or prefer to have your kids cry it out, I am not judging you.

If your little ones are glued to the iPad or do Montessori-inspired activities, I am not judging you.

If your kid was the first to walk or the last to walk, I am not judging you.

If you only buy organic or fill your shopping cart with Lunchables, I am not judging you.

If you get on your hands and knees to scrub your tile floor or hire a house cleaner, I am not judging you.

If you depend on daycare or do it all without a break, I am not judging you.

If you don’t deviate from your daily schedule or fly by the seat of your pants, I am not judging you.

If you find relaxation in a good workout or on the couch with a bottle of wine, I am not judging you.

If you are back to pre-pregnancy size or are still rocking “transitional” jeans, I am not judging you.

And, I’m not going to be afraid of your judgment anymore either.

I hope, this Lent and beyond, you’ll join me in being kinder to the other moms around you. Let’s not make each other suffer through motherhood alone. Forget giving up material things, let’s give up the grudge. Let’s be better people together. Let’s have faith in each other. Let’s end the mommy war.

Who’s with me?

1 comment:

  1. Every family is different. The kids are different, the mommies are different, the daddies are different. There is NO one way to do the business of raising a family. As long as the kids are happy and healthy and not abused or neglected, each family has the right to raise their kids in their own way. Had I been a stay-at-home mom, you could have called me "Captain Sweatpants".