Judge Smart

I almost wrote a post called Soccer Mom Diary – Day 2, but then I realized it had been a month since I wrote the Day 1 post. A whole month and I’ve made it to only one of Jack’s soccer games. It’s not that I thought you would judge me, but I was judging myself.

I don’t know the names of his teammates, so I yell supportive, generic comments like, “Good job, Buddy” and “Yay, Goalie!”

Manny gives me a look that says, are you like, never here? “His name is Griffin.”

I shoot back with a look that says, yeah, I’m like never here.

“Yay, Griffin!”

My self-judgement was heavier than usual because the week before I had raced to the big boys’ school for classroom observation, only to be saved by an auspicious text from a friend that made me realize that I was there on the wrong day.

I was not late. I was a week minus two minutes early. On the correct day I showed up, of course two minutes late, and felt like a dope asking how to get to the second grade hallway.

So, maybe you’re saying, “Ashleigh, that’s not a big deal. We don’t expect you to know the exact location of your kid’s classroom. It’s not like you’re Galileo.”

Ah, shucks, guys. That’s real nice. But, here’s the thing.

I don’t have any children in second grade.

I peeked in every second grade classroom until I saw a teacher who looked familiar, from last year. Third grade. Luke’s in third grade.

So here is the invitation. If you feel called to judge me, please do. Not just for this, but for anything I share. And judge other people, too. But, here is the catch.

If you judge just so you can complain and make excuses you are being a jerk face. Sometimes I am a jerk face, too.

But, if we hold onto even an ounce of self-awareness during judgement then it can be amazingly informative.

It can inform us of the things we really want for ourselves. And the things we really don’t like about ourselves. All the things that are hard to find because we push them down, deep. Real deep.

I made it a practice a few years ago to take a good look at anything I was judging. I even played the game of doing the thing I most judged other people for doing.

Women and men who have other people watch their kids? Who actually get to go to an office to do their work? Oh, so much judgement (envy, it was envy). And this made me super envious of my own husband, which led to just a little marital tension.

So, I set up a gorgeous home office and hired a nanny. Not having a baby strapped to my back while I work and actually setting office hours? Yup, it’s real nice. You know what else is nice? Me, as a mom. When I actually have time and space away from my children.

When homeschooling became a whole lotta not fun, I was perplexed as to our next step. My boys were the happiest when they were in all-day summer camp, especially if it was intense, like a theatre camp where they needed to learn a whole play in a week.

Hmm, I really wish there was a place I could send my boys all day in the winter, where they would be around other kids, be busy, and learn stuff. Should I start a camp like that?

Then I realized it already exists. It’s called school.

And what about that judgement I held about people who sent their kids to public school, like it’s no big deal? I dropped it. And you know what? It’s not no big deal. It’s like the best deal ever.

It’s freer than summer camp, ‘cause, you know I already pay for it with my taxes, plus I don’t have to drive them. My tax money employs a chauffeur in a big yellow stretch limousine to pick up my children from my driveway. I don’t even need to go outside.

And for $2.40 they’ll give them a crappy lunch that makes their day.

Wanna make Luke smile? Tell him he gets to eat Walking Tacos.

Bonus, they now actually have neighbor friends, a thing that I thought went extinct in the 80’s.

Hey, I know some people who are leaving their husbands. Is that the next thing I should do that I judge other people for doing?

Hmm. Nope. It’s not.

But I took a good long look at it. Manny was like, babe, seriously, all your self-discovery has taken us places. I think we’re good.

So, my loves, it’s my turn to ask why I am judging myself for not being like the moms who drive their kids to practice and can remember tricky shit like what grades they’re all in. Hmm. Do I think they have less stress? An easier schedule? I’ll need some time to ponder.

And you, if you would like to accept my invitation, please ponder your own judgements and see why, oh why, do those things get under your skin? It’s not because they’re itchy. Nope. It’s likely deeper than that.

And if you don’t want to and just want to be a complaining jerk face, I still love you. We each have a large quota of jerk face days allowed during our incarnation here on Earth. But, life is more fun when we don’t use them day after day after day. Just saying.

Massive love.

(Please feel free to share.)

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