08 June 2012

Jumping off the cliff of conclusions

Yesterday, I was wandering through Facebook, looking at the various groups and pages I frequent. Some I participate in regularly, some I just check out when I'm bored or need a good laugh, etc. One of the pages that falls into the latter group is a page called Military Ladies Chatter. MLC has a public page that I don't go to that often because of the level of "Whoooooa" that often runs rampant in the opinions and thoughts expressed by participants (the Admin rocks though). Yesterday though, one of the questions that had been posted by the Admin caught my eye:

"Is being a stay-at-home mom a job?"

I thought "Oh this should be interesting" and opened the thread up. Most of the responses, while varying from "No way" to "Heck yes!" were at least sensible and respectful. And then I got to this little gem...

 I think that depends on your deffinition as a stay at home Mom! As a stay at home Mom it's your job to make sure your house is spotless, kids are well taken care of, dinner (hot good meal) is on tbe table when your husband gets home from work and you look hot for your husband be in shape go to the gym ladies. I am not talking about him coming home to you being in sweats or pj's either at 5 p.m. you should always look good be dressed nice when he walks in the door. Make him want to come home to you. I hate these stay at home Moms that bitch and say staying home is so hard when there house is a mess, kids look like a mess (dirty clothes, hair not brushed and if they get up on time they go to school). Seriously I want to smack those women. Oh and in no way is your job harder then your husband's. You should feel blessed to get to stay home with your kids while your husband bust his ass at work just to come home and hear you whine. JMO

This was where things started to get interesting. I can't copy or screen-shot the rest of what she said because she has since gone through and deleted most of her posts (while continuing to defend them) but it basically boiled down to judging any and everyone who doesn't do things the exact same way she does. It was said over and over again "Look, you do things your way. If your way works for you, great, but don't try to force your "standards" on the rest of us and judge others who choose not to do things the same way". (as I sit here posting in my pajamas...). Now, I have no idea what this person is going through in their own life. I have no idea what demons they may be dealing with, maybe her act and talk of how perfectly she runs things and how awesome her family/home/life are is how she copes with some problem. I have no idea. But she also has no idea what others are coping with, and therein lies the danger she has so clearly and beautifully illustrated for us.

The whole discussion/topic actually does all tie in with PostPartum Depression. I had the thought (and said as much) yesterday, while this was all going on, that I hoped nobody with PPD was reading all her nonsense and feeling triggered. Why?

When you're dealing with PPD, one of the things you can run into is feeling like you're not doing things right, like you're failing, like you, your home, your kids, your clothes, your family, pretty much anything, is not enough. Some women will deal with this by keeping their house totally immaculate (and still feel like they're failing), some will bury their head in their pillows and go "I just can't deal!". For me personally, I had absolutely no energy and no motivation whatsoever. I struggle with keeping things clean and straightened up anyways, always have and probably always will. I have always been a messy bessie. But it got twenty times worse when I had PPD. It took all my energy just to get up and feed the baby, just to make it through the day. I certainly didn't have anything left over for making sure I looked "hot" and that my house was "spotless".

There is an inherent danger in looking at someone and jumping to the conclusion that they must be lazy because their house isn't as clean as you would keep it, or they wear sweats all day, or they aren't in the shape you feel they should be in. First, I just have to say, there is NOTHING wrong with wearing sweats all day. I love my sweats. They are comfy, they allow me to move around, and they aren't hard to clean up after a diaper leaks on me or a baby decides to blow raspberries at me with green beans and sweet potatoes in her mouth, or any of the other zillion things that happen that turn me into a mess. But besides that, you have no idea what someone is going through deep down inside just by looking at their clothes, house, or any other surface conditions. It can actually be very damaging to someone who is already in a fragile mental/emotional condition to read that they are a failure because they aren't "living up to" someone else's standards. It can cause a great deal of damage to be on the receiving end of that type of judgmental criticism when you're already in a vulnerable state.

I guess what I'm trying to say (other than DON'T MESS WITH MY SWEATS!) is this: you can't tell what someone is dealing with or going through just by looking at how they dress or keep house. Be gentle in your criticisms and judgments. Outward appearances don't mean anything. You can't look at someone and know whether or not they have PPD. Conclusions are a dangerous cliff to jump off of and once you jump off, it's hard to go back.

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