Do Not Judge Me Until You Have Walked a Mile in My Shoes

I used to be a lot more judgemental than I am these days. Parenting has given me a better understanding of the struggles and hardships others have to endure. Plus I can identify with a lot of them myself. I do still have opinions though, which we’re all entitled to, but occasionally I share them without properly thinking about the implications. I try as much as possible not to intentionally gossip, but I’d be lying if I said human nature doesn’t get the better of me sometimes. I found myself in a situation last week at work, discussing with a colleague another colleague’s imminent return to the office after being off on mat leave. She had IVF twins at the beginning of this year, and always led me to believe that she and her hubby could comfortably afford for her to work part time when she came back.

I was rather shocked to hear that she would be returning full time. We are fortunate in that we work for a big company, one that is very accommodating when it comes to flexible working and part time hours. I have to admit that I was saddened by the news, and the thought ‘why have IVF to have babies then go back to work full time?’ crossed my mind. Then my colleague said she’d had a chat with her, and apparently her husband is really struggling with his business and they desperately need her full time salary. Her mother retired last year so will look after the kids, and with no childcare costs to consider she will bring in a fair bit of money.

I felt awful on several levels. I had made assumptions that were incorrect, then discussed them with another person which is essentially gossiping. It reminded me that you should never judge another person, or have opinions on their life unless you know the full story. If you saw pregnant me walking down the street pushing my beautiful 20mo in her Bugaboo, off to collect her big sister from school and happened to clock my left hand, you would probably assume that I led a very charmed life. You would have no idea of the anguish and disappointments I’ve endured. That I had a messy upbringing, troubled adolescence and have battled with addiction.

You’d never know the pain I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. That on this very day, I have probably been up half the night trying desperately to get my 4yo back to sleep. That we bought our buggy secondhand over four years ago and it’s on its last legs, but don’t have the money to replace it. That although excited about the bump, we have also gone through moments of total despair wondering how on earth we will cope with three kids when two can sometimes seem too many.

All this has been buzzing around my head and has made me realise, that we should never judge others. If a friend or family member makes a decision that you don’t agree with, then you should talk to them about it. Voice your concerns, and see if you can help them through what is more than likely a very difficult time. If you don’t feel you can talk to them, then trust they have thought their options through and are making the best decision they are able to make. It’s naive to think people will never talk among themselves about other people, but personally, I shall be making a very concerted effort not to get involved in gossip anymore.

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28 thoughts on “Do Not Judge Me Until You Have Walked a Mile in My Shoes

  1. I have so been there….being judgemental of other mummies then finding myself in the same position going “Oh *insert any expletive*” You know that comfort you get when you hear a child screaming and you breathe a sigh that thankfully it’s not yours. Is that comfort because you don’t have to deal with it or because others don’t have to see it? I’m not sure why as soon as I became a parent I suddenly felt all eyes on me and I think that sometimes when I find myself judging it’s like comforting myself that I don’t have to deal with that. Sad I know!

  2. Thank you Orli for your very kind words. It’s amazing how much people can think they know, and how little they actually do. I try not to get too upset about it these days, everyone has their own crosses to bear and their own hardships to live through. Your recent post on immigration was really thought provoking, I’ve been meaning to comment on it since Friday!!

  3. It is such an inspiring and true post. I loved it and agree with every word you wrote. I am amazed sometimes when I get a glimpse of how people see me, or what they really think, which is so far away than what is the reality of my life.
    I have, in recent years, learned so much about being judged and about belonging to groups I never thought existed, and like you, I try to remember it and not judge. Anyway, great post 🙂

    *Got here through #PoCoLo

  4. Funny isn’t it, I used to be the same. When one of my best friends had her first baby she would turn up to meet me for lunch looking like a shadow of her former self. I would sit there and think ‘how can you not find the time to pluck your eyebrows’! hahaha, if only I knew I would be so much worse when it came to having my own kids! Seriously though, you will never understand motherhood until you’re a mum and that means not having true empathy for it until then either.

  5. Some countries have it really harsh. My friend is a nurse in the States and can only take 12 weeks maternity leave maximum, and I think only a fraction of it is paid. We are very lucky here in the UK! I imagine having a mother or mother-in-law to take care of the kids would make going back to work much easier, but it would still be really tough if it wasn’t the choice you wanted to make.

  6. Thanks honey. Crazy how many things I used to think before becoming a parent that now don’t even enter my head. It’s good though, hopefully it means we’re getting our priorities in the right order x

  7. Such a great post and definitely something that most of do without even realising it! Definitely eye opening reading from your perspective. Thanks for sharing x

  8. This is such a fabulous post for so many reasons. Like you, sometimes I am quick to judge but on many occasions these days I find out the full facts – especially since I became a Mum. Thank you so much for linking to PoCoLo. Great discussion point x

  9. beautiful post honey and i think we are all guilty of making assumptions at times i do think your right though and parenting did open up my eyes and make me a less judgemental person x

  10. How sad for your colleague. I think in the UK we’re so lucky to be able to work part time. I live in Spain and it’s not so common here. Lots of mums have to go back full time and grandmothers look after the children. Hopefully, they’ll make it easier for women over time…

  11. It’s definitely so easy to makes judgement on someone, I think we all do it. Especially when it comes to the care of kids. Years ago I managed someone and I feel a bit guilty post z for some of the things in thought about him back then. He had twins and was always late for work and would always leave early, things like that. He’d wind me up a lot but i now realise it was child related and I do feel pangs of guilt about it all.

  12. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I try as much as I can to do the right thing and own up to mistakes when I make them. I’ve been feeling awful for thinking badly of this girl because I genuinely like her, and it made me realise I was being unnecessarily unkind. I had to get these thoughts out of my head and writing a blog post is my form of counselling at the moment!

  13. I love that you had the courage to admit all these things.

    We all have prejudices. We all think these things, about our own personal triggers, but often aren’t brave enough to admit them because we know it makes us look bad. I know that’s true of me.

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