Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Women: Can't live with them. Can't live without them.

So this is Part 2 of Meagan's question about how I deal with the expectations of others. You can read Part 1 where I talk about how driving a commuter bus has it's challenges and how I often find people judge me by the size of my butt! Ha ha! However, what I really want to talk about today is Women.

In thinking about how I deal with the expectations of other's, I have to say that most of my toughest pressure and criticism has come from other women. I know there is a saying that says, "Men: Can't live with them. Can't live without them". I also feel that this applies to women. Women: Can't live with them. Can't live without them.

Women: Can't live with them. My first thought in relation to this is, why is it that we judge each other so much? We are fierce in our support for the roles of women in society but harsh in our judgement of each other in our every day lives. We want society to accept us as equal but we can't simply accept each other for who we are and the way we raise our children in our homes. When it comes to being a mother we are often at our worst. We speak out against other women who are trying their best to raise children and go out of our way to embarrass them when they are doing the best they can. I have even been guilty of doing this myself. I have often judged others and then felt terrible that I let myself get caught up in such crazy thinking. 

As women we talk, we gossip, we whisper, 
'Did you hear what ... did with her kids?', 
'I can't believe she is feeding them ... !!', 
'I saw ... today and she had her kids dressed in ... !!'. 
The list is never ending.

Now I know not everyone does this and I am being very general here in making this statement but I find that if you are going to be a mother and especially one of a large family you need to be aware and prepared that other women will not like what you are doing and will tell you so if given the chance. Women love to share their opinion. If you have been pregnant you will totally understand what I am talking about. Just think of how many birth stories you heard and how many opinions about hospitals you received! Being aware of this helps me to deal with the pressure and expectations of other's.

Women: Can't live without them. As women we can't live without each other. We need friends who are women in our lives, we need to talk about girl stuff and to share our hearts with each other. We need to chat and share our mothering challenges, our birth stories, how our husbands or partners sometimes drive us crazy and to know that we are not alone in our parenting journey and trials. We know that other women just get it, they know where we are coming from and that makes all the difference when we are having a bad day. We seek out other women who like minded because our heart tells us that is what we need in our life and we know that having great relationships with other women is healthy and necessary.

They are the type of friends who lift us and inspire us. They help us stick to our expectations we place on ourselves and they don't let us quit when the going get's tough. They are a shoulder to cry on, open arms when we need them and a listening ear that never judges. They accept us for who we are and stand up for what we value and against those who may be putting us down. 

Even though most of my harshest criticism has come from other women they have also been a source of great support and encouragement when I need it most. I need them when people expect me to be a super woman. Just because I have seven children it does not make me a super woman. I make mistakes, I feel vulnverable, I feel overcome with my parenting role, I get hurt, I cry, I struggle with situations that come up in our family and I worry. I worry if I have done enough to help my kids, I worry I may have destroyed their life already and I worry about if they know I love them enough. 

The only time I find that I have trouble dealing with the expectations of others is if I am upset, people often say, 'Don't worry you will be alright'. Well, some days I am not alright and I feel it is unfair to put that expectation upon me. Yes, I know I will be alright eventually, but right now I am not. I am hurting and my kids are draining me and I have nothing left to give myself. I need someone else to give me some strength, I need someone to simply care and to listen. On days like this I find myself saying, Women. Can't live with them. Can't live without them!

9 comments:

  1. Just yesterday I had my rant on because I'm tired of having other people's (women) opinions thrust on me in regards to my parenting of my youngest child. It was another woman who said to me, just smile and nod, and let it all pass over you. They can have their opinion, whether you take it on board is up to you. That was exactly what I needed to hear.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great post! I can relate!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've always gone by "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it". Unfortunately, it seems to be the norm now to say what is on your mind. A lot of people need mouth filters. Having to special needs kids (oldest has ADHD, middle child has Aspergers) one got a lot of unwelcome comments when they are younger. People need to learn not to judge others before knowing their full story.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Naomi I never underestimate your coping abilities. I can't even imagine the mental and emotional challenges being responsible for so many children places on you. From all accounts judging by those you've chosen to share you've always got their welfare at the top of your mind and yet you take time to share support and interact with all those around you. You can't do it all and there's many of us that aren't judging you even just a tiny bit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the most important part is that people need to let people not be ok. Sure, things will be better later. But if they're not now, then let someone cry. Let them have their feelings and move on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are amazing! I can empathise, as I also have 7 children. Unfortunately, stereotypes are common with families of a larger size and quite often I sense considerable scrutiny. However as time has passed, I've realised the truth in Don Miguels agreement;
    "Don’t take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering"

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great post. I think the best thing you can do is what is right for you and your family. Everyone is running their own race. I have set myself a challenge to do what is right for me and my family - be it healthwise, exercise wise, relaxation wise, work wise - whatever - just because something works for you doesn't mean it will work for me and if you don't like what I am doing, it's OK - we are different and we are entitled to our own opinions and ideas. None of them are wrong - they are just different.
    I truly hope you don't lose readers over this but you know what Naomi, if you do they probably weren't worth having in the first place.
    Have the best day !
    Me

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally agree! We are our own worst enemies sometimes and you only have to see pictures on facebook of mums and their worst moments and the horrid criticism of other mums and dads. I think when we see something terrible,we instantly think, there is no way I would do that! However, we all have bad moments and there are times when I am sure we are so grateful that no one else saw what you did or what you said! I feel for those parents who are plastered on FB and the like with hundreds of comments saying how terrible they are, it doesn't always seem fair.
    I know you said that not every mum gossips or comments etc, but sincerely, I would say, sadly, that most women do, and when you are in a group and some start up their gossip etc, you can do your best not to join in, but even if you are doing it your mind, you are still doing it! I have been meaning to express my similar thoughts in a post too, because I think it needs to be said. I also think though, that we need to provide our own protection. We need to grow some thick skin so that we don't concern ourselves with negative or judgmental comments, stares, looks etc from others. We can't always stop what others will say or think, but we can do our best not to let it get to us. I don't think you will lose readers, for goodness sake, you are sharing your own experiences and opinions in a respectful manner.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have to say I am so happy to have read this as I too feel the exact way and always having to live up to others' expectations but I'm yet to get some testosterone about me to confront the offenders! Great post and I always admire your honesty :) take care and hugs for you xx

    ReplyDelete