Within the past year, I’ve worn the pariah sign.
I’ve been “that mom”.
You know the one.
The one whose kid did the almost unimaginable.
Yep, that’s me.
A choice many gazillions of kids make each day with their technological devices and don’t get caught.
But mine did.
We’re also that “divorced family”.
You know, the one where the dad isn’t around much.
And the kids are left alone a lot because the mom is working more than one job.
I’m the mom who lets her kid have long hair.
And even helped him spike it for spirit week.
All of those labels are simply words. They don’t reflect the inner story. They don’t reflect the love, the pain, the panic, the fear, the scratching and clawing to survive and even thrive in this fast-paced hard-as-nails world.
So it’s important to realize that I”m also the mom who insisted that her son face the consequences of his actions. All of them.
I didn’t sweep anything under the rug. I didn’t pretend it never happened. I didn’t lie for him to cover it up.
And in that, I showed him about honesty, courage and integrity.
I’m also the mom who shows my boys determination to survive a rough economy. They most certainly know the value of a dollar and appreciate what we have.
I’m the mom who hears her son’s voice when as he carves out an identity for himself and encourages him to honor the authentic version of himself rather than a hollow shell of a contrived, conformist version of himself.
While also honoring the fact that her second born son is far more comfortable conforming to societies norms, and that’s perfectly acceptable too.
I’m the mom who is raising two boys by herself.
And talking to them about sex. And respect for women. And finances. And home repairs.
I’m a sister
A voter and
But not one of those labels fully captures who I am.
Nor should the labels we place on anyone else.
Descriptors, perhaps, meant to help us differentiate that person from another.
But not as labels with which to judge.
For not one of us is perfect.
And each one of us deserves to be understood for our whole selves, not just for the fragment another should chance to see.
So, every time I am about to judge another, I remember being “that mom” — and realizing that there was so much more to the story — and I withhold judgment.
Instead I offer compassionate understanding.
Let’s change the conversation, shall we?