Who Gives a S**t What People Think?
Now this is really hard to practice. I constantly talk about how we should learn to love ourselves, including our flaws.... I know, its not easy. I am guilty of not loving or respecting myself even now, but I'm a damn sight better at it these days than I have been in the past.
An important aspect of learning to love ourselves is not caring what other people think. I'm not suggesting that you burn all of your clothes and go out and do all of the things that your mother has told you not to do in the past (although, seriously, how liberating would that be??), but what I am saying is, if 'so and so' from toddler group isn't bothered about making an effort with you, or if some woman in the supermarket gave you a dirty look because your little one isn't behaving, or if someone makes a negative comment on how co sleeping will give you a needy teenager, or the mum at preschool who's son can count to fifty and your child's only greatest achievement to date was a monumental poo that leaked out of the nappy onto the car seat.... should you give a shit (pardon the pun)? And if not, why not?
Here it is... putting it bluntly,
how does it affect YOUR life? Does this person actually have any sort of an impact on how you do things day to day? People are nosey, people are busy bodies, and people love to judge and compare. But seriously, put it into perspective. Believe in what you are doing, understand that children sometimes can be assholes (same applies to adults). But equally, people can be lovely, and supportive and wonderful. You just need to find YOUR fit.
Now what happens if someone close to you starts to pick holes in the way you do things?
Well.... there is no easy answer to that. Be selfish. Don't make compromises on your friends. If there's something you are unsure of, don't be afraid to let that person go. This goes hand in hand with relationships and partners. You do not need to lower yourself to a level that another person puts you down or makes you feel not good enough. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Now that I've told you that, will you believe it? Probably not. Every morning, no matter what has happened the night before, you look yourself in the mirror deep in the eye and say "I am good enough." You are human. You will make mistakes. You will make friends and break friends. People come and go. If someone is not willing to fight for you, LET THEM GO! (The topic of not receiving the support you need from loved ones is definitely something that deserves a lot more time and attention and I will cover this in a separate post.)
A rather wise aunt of mine once said something that I think rings very true... In airplane safety talks, the attendant always does the same spiel at the beginning of the flight.... seat belts must remain fastened... blah.... emergency exits are situated blah.... always fit YOUR OWN oxygen mask before helping someone else. And there it is. Fit YOUR mask before helping someone else. Why is that? Because you cannot help another person until you are physically able and have taken the steps to take care of yourself. This is especially true with motherhood. We spend our lives running around after these little humans, ensuring that they are happy, fed, mentally stimulated.... who the bloody hell looks after us? You might be one of the lucky ones and have an awesome support network. Husband, mother, father, grandparents, aunt, Uncle, whatever. But you might not be. And no matter your circumstances, you need to remember to put yourself first in some way, even if only very small, so that you can be the best you can be for your children. That includes, not giving a shit what people think.
So the next time someone gives you a dirty look in the supermarket because your child is screaming at the top of their lungs "I want a toy"..... don't give them a dirty look. Don't tell them to f**k off. Just smile. You are ok. You will be fine. They don't need to know that your child has a cold so is especially grouchy or that they woke at 4 am and have refused to nap. you are doing a great job. Peoples opinions do not define you as a mother or as a person.