What do they think of me?
My first memories of worrying about other people’s opinions were when I was a teenager, and I felt embarrassed when my English parents did very counter-cultural things in Portugal, where we live.
I worried that people judged them as weird, and somehow that reflected on me.
But i’s entirely one thing to feel your parents being judged for their actions, and feeling judged for your own.
Judgementalism in Motherhood
My first ever real awareness of this happened when I became a mother. It was then that I came to see just how much people’s opinions were important to me. And how I hated being appraised as a person.
Looking back, I know that the postpartum hormones had a part to play in my oversensitivity in those early years. Later on, I realized that sometimes I perceived I was being judged, when in fact I wasn’t.
Other times, though, I know I really was.
Anyway, the truth remained that I wasn’t comfortable with being judged by others. Other people’s opinions mattered too much to me.
As a new mother, I felt like I had to prove myself, and yet it seemed no one was happy with the way I was mothering. Or not many people, anyway.
I felt judged for things like the clothes I put on my children, the food I gave them and the routines we formed at home.
One day when my kids were little we were walking home from the shops, when I saw an elderly woman looking at us, from the corner of my eye.
When I turned to look at her better, I saw she was frowning, and then she started pointing to her head. It came to me! She was cross because I had failed to put hats on my children, and it was a sunny day!
This was neither the first nor the last time I felt judged for what my children were or weren’t wearing.
Sometimes it was if they weren’t wearing shoes in the summer.
Other times it was if they weren’t wearing a coat when it was raining.
And yet, other times it was to do with the girls wearing blue instead of the preferred pink!
Although these instances were uncomfortable, I got over them quickly as they were superficial. But they did open my eyes to this fact about me as a young mum.
I disliked feeling judged.
I’m not particularly fond of it now, but I am able to deal with it in a way I never could have imagined before. And the simple reason for that will be disclosed in another blog post.