You Got An Epidural! We Can't Be Friends!
I have always been irritated by hovering, competitive parents who scream at their children during sports events.
My son has started BMX bike racing and he loves it. I was at the track watching him the other night and I saw a dad stand up and literally yell down on his son to pass another child. These boys were probably six or seven years old. The turns on the track are banked really high because the kids get going very fast. Passing somebody on the turn is a little tricky because you will literally be right below or above them going full speed, and sometimes gravity works better than your bike.
His son listened to him and tried to pass the other boy and they had a great big wreck with both boys on the ground.
I was so mad. If I had been next to that man I probably would have opened up my mouth and told him what I thought. Do you want to know what I thought? Beware, I can be nasty.
In my head:
"What an A@@##LE! I can't believe that man just endangered children so that he could MAKE his son win a friendly practice race!!!! What kind of person does that?!"
I of course had never met the man but I was pretty sure from this brief six seconds of watching him that he was a total waste of space.
Fast forward only about five minutes. (Did I mention that I was there with no hubby watching my two other children, aged one and three?)
A few minutes later my son falls off his bike on one of the hills. I was on the other side of the track and since I had my two little ones with me I could not go to help him. There were just too many other riders and I did not want my girls to get hurt.
I was watching my son from a distance struggle to get back on his bike on this hill and guess what, only one person helped him. You got it, the man who I was silently cursing literally ran across the track to get my boy back on his bike and going again.
I was so grateful and of course totally humbled. Here I was thinking that this putz had no right to take up space on the planet and he is the only person to be there for my son when I can't be.
Later on I heard him apologizing to the father of the other child who was in the wreck with his son because he felt like his yelling had caused the accident.
And your point is....
If you are a natural birth nut like myself you have probably thought or even said a few of these things:
"My labor was longer than that and I didn't get an epidural."
"So you are too small to have your babies vaginally....hmmm."
"You did not need that c-section!"
"You couldn't breastfeed?! Because your 'breasts don't work.' Who told you that?!"
"How would you like it if somebody cut off the tip of your finger while you screamed?"
Hopefully you are all better and less judgmental people than me, but on the off chance that you can see yourself in the above, I will continue.
This little episode at the BMX track really made me think about the way I jump to conclusions about people. I was convinced that I was absolutely RIGHT. Still, I probably would not ever yell at my child to crush somebody in a competition.
However, just because my weaknesses are different than this other guy's, does not mean he is the devil and I am the best. It showed me that there is often more to people than we can see at first glance. It was also a reminder of how glad I am on the rare occasion when I manage to keep my mouth shut when my head is telling me to show somebody how wrong they are.
I might be right about birth, breastfeeding, circumcision, and all of that. That does not however mean that I have any idea why other people make the choices they do. It also does not mean that they are not trying. Nor am I better at everything than they are. Maybe X comes easy to me. Or maybe I am good at sticking with things. Obviously I have flaws that are other peoples strengths.
I have seen women that I genuinely had a hard time being friends with because their parenting and birth choices were so counter to everything that I believe. I have also seen these same women have a seemingly easy time being a wonderful organized mother or a fantastic caring and sensitive wife, things that I struggle with daily.
I know, deep thoughts at the dirt track tonight. I am humbled to realize how often I have to learn the same lessons. Namely, 1) don't judge, especially when you 2) don't know enough to judge, and 3) you never know enough to judge.
We help more women when we reach out with love rather than judgment and distaste. We show peaceful, loving parenting by being that kind of person. We change hearts and minds when we share our experiences without discounting those of others. Things can change, but it will start with us. The spread of feminine wisdom that has been lost will change the world. But we must remember our own imperfections while we teach.