Tear them down or Build Them Up?

Today I happened to see something on Facebook that really upset me. I’ve put the picture below.

I totally appreciate the point this picture is trying to make about technology but, it concerned me immensely how quick people were to tear this woman down.

Do we actually know that she is not interested in her baby at all? No, we don’t. In fact, this woman could’ve just received a phonecall about something stressful, heartbreaking or life changing and she was processing it. Maybe her baby was sick of being held after it took her two hours on a delayed Sydney train to get to the bloody airport, squashed up under someone’s smelly armpit for the whole trip.

Can you believe she put her baby on the ground in an airport? I can actually. I’ve sat on those floors, I’ve actually gone to sleep on those floors and I’ve very likely put my baby or children down on those floors. So what.

I responded a few times to that post today and suggested people not judge a book by it’s cover. I suggested people be kinder than necessary.

Look, I’m no Saint! There’s plenty of times I’ve probably said things that should’ve stayed in my head but this week alone I’ve seen women torn down and it’s just got to me.

This gorgeous woman I used to work with many years ago has a very talented sister in fashion. She started her own fashion styling business and she was recently subjected to a group of women being rather cruel via facebook. This is not okay.

It is not okay to judge a woman because she didn’t have children or the woman who had too many children. How many is too many children anyway? My great-grandmother had something like 16 kids. As far as I’m aware no one judged her.

What about that woman who had an elective caesarean rather than a homeopathic, home, water, lotus birth and left the placenta attached for two weeks, then cooked it up and ate it for dinner.

I’m that woman who had an elective caesarean and you know what I’m bloody proud of that too. Because guess what?  My babies were all born safe and breathing, instead of getting stuck in the birth canal.

How about that woman who didn’t breastfeed her baby. I can’t believe she bottlefed. How could she deprive her baby of breastmilk? Well when her nipples were so cracked they were actually hanging off and she was so tired and depressed she had the worst post natal depression I’ve ever seen, I don’t blame her. That person is my best friend. She tried her little heart out and carried the guilt for a long time. Her baby is the best cheerleader I’ve ever seen and no one even knows she was bottlefed.

How about those women that want it all.  They want a good job, a career even, they want a big house that goes with the big mortgage and then they want kids. I bet they will get a nanny and a house cleaner and have their groceries delivered.

I was that woman too. In Sydney, you have no choice once you buy a house, you need that job and you end up with a huge mortgage that dictates you get an even better paying job which dictates it’s probably cheaper to get a nanny than pay ridiculous childcare costs, especially because you can’t keep taking time off work for sick kids, then you need a cleaner and your groceries delivered because you are travelling two hours each way to work every single day and you have no time for anything.  I doubt this is a life anyone really chooses.

How about those “Stay-At-Home-Mums”. To be honest, I take my hat off to ‘those’ Mums. I realised a long time ago that as much as I love my children, I’m a better Mum and wife when I have balance. That means I need to work or study and have time away from them because they drive me crazy at times. I am totally alright with this and you should be too because they’re not your kids.

What about that Mum who put her baby in childcare at three months old. Guilty. I was that Mum too. We had bills to pay. By the looks of him, I’m pretty sure he turned out alright.

What about that Mum who fed her baby something that wasn’t organic, homemade, kale with tofu. Yep, you guessed it, that was me. There was a time that all my kid would eat was chicken nuggets. Even the paediatrician told me to get over it. Feed the kid whatever he will eat because he’s too skinny. So I did. Today, he eats everything I put in front of him. EVERYTHING.

How about that Mum whose baby still doesn’t sleep through the night. Look how tired she is. Her baby is a toddler now, surely she should be sleeping through. I bet she hasn’t been to sleep school. I bet they rock her to sleep in their arms every night. I bet they’ve created bad habits. No wonder she looks exhausted.

My dear friend and I are those Mum’s. Her daughter is nearly three. She doesn’t sleep well. Actually, hardly at all. My friend is awesome. She’s tried everything. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with her daughter. She has a very active mind. My friend needs a hug and my friend needs your support and love. My friend needs you to tell her it’s ok because some days it’s not ok for them.

I have that daughter too. Mine cried for 16-20 hours a day. We failed sleep school three times. In fact, we left in ambulance on one occasion. We tried melatonin, rocking her, bathing her, massaging her. I would’ve tried anything. I even let her sleep in bed with me so she had free access to my boobs. If I didn’t do that I probably wouldn’t have survived. We even saw a sleep specialist. Yes, they are a real thing. He told me I have jumped through every hoop possible, I just basically have a kid who is a shit sleeper. At 6 years old, that delightful little terror still doesn’t sleep well. That’s why, instead of telling my friend she looks tired, I invite her over so my kids can play with her daughter and she can sit on my lounge eat a tim tam and drink a hot cup of tea and feel a bit more human. If she’s lucky she may even get to go to the toilet on her own with the door closed when she’s visiting.

Judgement and tearing down eachother is not okay. It has to stop. We have to build eachother up. We have to be kinder. Our children see everything we do. That’s how they learn to be kind little humans.

It takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.

Over the past few months I’ve had a few women who I thought were my friends and have acted unkindly towards me. Originally I thought I was over-thinking the situation because, if I’m really honest with myself I’m struggling. I’m fragile and I’m barely getting through the days smiling.

What I really needed was those women to show me some kindness. To not look the other way, to not deliberately sit somewhere else, to not assume whatever it is they’re assuming about me or my life. Because unless you’re in my house every day of the week you know nothing.

I will not apologise for my personality. But, if I’ve offended you tell me, or how would I know.

I am a strong minded woman. That’s how my parents raised me to be and I’m proud of that.

Sometimes I am loud. I won’t apologise for that either. I am Maltese, a wog at heart, and in my family unless you’re yelling over someone else, you’ll never be heard.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you ask me how I am, I’ll tell you. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask the question.

My life seems like one long drama. I won’t apologise for that either. I haven’t chosen any of these dramatic events to happen and let’s be honest, who would. It’s shit. Sometimes even I can’t believe it, but it has made me the woman I am today. It has made me strong.

My daughter died. Her name is Charlize. I’m so sorry that you’ve heard me say that before. I’m so sorry it makes you feel uncomfortable. I will continue to tell my story and say my daughters name because if I don’t keep saying it who will?

We are on this beautiful planet only once.

Choose kindness.

Choose to make that phonecall to your long lost friend rather than texting.

Choose spontaneity.

Choose hugs and flowers and dancing and swimming in the ocean.

Choose jumping in muddy puddles and belly laughs and sliding down a grassy hill.

Choose to see the warmth of the sunshine on your face just as the sun rises or to stand in the rain as it splashes on your face.

Choose to love and to be loved and to smile. Choose to build them up, don’t tear them down.

…. and waffles with maple syrup. They make everything so much better.

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