THE BLOG

What Are the Rules of Being a Mother?

05/30/2013 03:24 EDT | Updated 07/30/2013 05:12 EDT

I don't know about you, but every time I turn around, there it is. A message about what I, The Mother, should be doing. Or rather, shouldn't be doing. About when I should use my cell phone at the playground whilst the kiddos run about, and when I should not. About when I should put forth effort to help my kid on the monkey bars, and when I should stand back and just relax already. About what I should do in my spare time (spare time?), and what I should not. And everyone has an opinion on how sick is sick. Opinions about who the negligent mothers are that leave well enough alone. And approving nods for those mamas who follow The Rules.

Enlighten me, if you will. What are The Rules?

Tagged with that message of shoulds and should nots is a judgment call. Because if I don't conform to the status quo, I am just not cutting it as your 'typical mother'. I am just not living up to the commonly adhered to standards. And again I ask, what exactly are the standards? I am a little foggy about it all.

And so, it was today that I was reminded yet again. For what stands to be the thousandth time. (It is a lesson in progress.) That we don't know everyone's story, people. That I do not know everyone's story. Nor do I know all the reasons why or for what reason people do the things they do. And neither can I know all the minute and significant details in a person's life that cause them to act in certain ways. To exhibit certain behaviours. To say and do the things they do.

So why do I...why do WE think we have the right to judge?

Collectively, we as human beings form opinions based on what WE would do in certain situations. "Since X is doing this, they must be feeling this." Or, "Since Y did this, it must mean that they don't like that." We try to play God, getting inside each other's heads.

Reading each others minds. Figuring each other out by comparing other people to the standards we have set for acceptable and non-acceptable behaviors. Standards we have set for ourselves. Rightly or wrongly.

And in doing such -- in judging one another -- we not only discredit ourselves. We do a disservice to each other. Because people are more complicated, more intricate than all that. We are so much more than someone else's opinion of us. Someone else's judgment. Someone else's standards or convictions or beliefs or attitudes toward us. We are more. So much more than all that.

And whether we be child, or woman, or man. We are worthy. Worthy of being understood. Of being listened to. Of being given the benefit of the doubt. And whether we be Blue Collar, White Collar or No Collar. We are valuable. We are feelings, mind and soul. We are story.

Stories worth being told.

And whether or not I think I know your story really well. Got it all figured out. Or whether I could just care less. Believing what I may. It still stands that a person's story is worthy. It is significant. It is their history. Past, present and future waiting to unfurl.

The story -- it is a person's truth.

A truth of great consequence in the history of that individual. Valuable. For it is gold. And all because a person's story is full of layers. Dimensions. Depth. There is so much more than meets the eye. We must remember this. All is not what meets the eye.

It never is. It is more.

Because everybody's got a story. And it's how we respect the story -- how we value the person, that makes all the difference. And by refusing to pass critical pre-judgment, we can sometimes make a small difference. In a Mama's life. In somebody's life.

It's the little things that change the world.