Once upon a time many moons ago I remember asking someone why they carry the dog poop all the way home when they could just throw it in the receptacle at the park.
“This way no one can accuse me of not picking up the dog poop,” was the answer.
I remember thinking even back then, that this is ridiculous. Why does one need to prove something like this to some random stranger?
But a small piece of me took this at face value, and it stayed with me.
This mentality is a big part of the reason why I feel this incessant need to justify everything to everyone. The fear of being accused of something, no matter how minor the alleged infraction, and not being able to prove myself, is alive and well today.
This is causing me grief.
I’m going through some introspection here.
Did this incident sow the seeds of insecurities and fear?
I don’t want this to continue, and I don’t want the kids to get this way. One is already traveling down that road a little bit…
Can I make it stop?
The first step would be to stop justifying myself to everyone. Right? (See? I just did it again…)
I don’t owe anyone any explanations as to why I choose to carry dog poop home, or not. (I don’t, I toss it as quickly as I can. But I do pick it up every time.)
Did I just do it again? 🤔
I do not owe anyone anything, explanations or justifications. I know this instinctively, and yet….
How does one become this way?
By justifying every conceivable decision, am I hoping to avoid critique, or unsolicited advice?
If you randomly search new mom blogs, you’ll inevitability run across a familiar sentiment. They start with a justification that they love their family, their kids are the light of their lives, they chose to be this or that yada yada YADA only to launch into a rant about what has their knickers in a knot about said family.
(I may have done this myself, many times over. This is why I’m writing this post.)
Is it necessary to state out loud that a mom drowning in self-pity loves her family? Even though it’s instinctively understood? I mean, when I read something like that today, many years into parenting, it feels redundant. Unnecessary.
Obviously you love your family, just like I do. Even when they do drive you crazy at times. 🙃
I remember a former neighbour up the street, a mom with two very active little boys who has since moved away. She invited a bunch of us over and upon entering her house immediately said:
I know it’s a mess, judge me all you want.
I marveled at that statement because first of all, her house didn’t look like a mess. It looked lived in, the way it does when you have multiple kids under the age of 6.
Besides, my house at the time looked worse.
But her voice, her confidence and ‘I don’t give a shit what people think’ attitude stayed with me.
Why didn’t this scenario help me grow a thicker skin?
What is it about fear and insecurities when it comes to other people and what they may or may not think?
Given how busy and hectic life is for most of us, whether we are in the parenting trenches or not, it’s a wonder why we give that kind of power to everyone else’s opinions.
Who has the mental capacity to take on other people’s crap?
And yet, we explain things. Justify things. Analyze. Compare. Talk about things to convince someone that some things are this, or that.
Why do we do this? Do we want something?
I’m pondering here…
So this is what to do instead:
If someone wants to know something, they can ask. Doesn’t mean there will be an answer.
If there is an answer, it could be, should be, without lengthy explanations, justifications and all the rest of it.
Are you able to do this?
I wonder if I can do this.
At least, I’m trying to break that habit of explaining, justifying…
While I’m typing this up, another thought popped into my head.
Am I seeking validation, or approval, from you? Here I am typing my justification issues into my blog, looking for feedback…
I mean, we have dialogue and engagement here on these pages…what is it exactly that I want people to think, to say, when they read this here?
Then, another thing popped into my head. (No wonder I’m getting a headache…)
Maybe this is what it means to grow up. Am I finally growing up? 🙄
It took several decades for me to realize that growing up doesn’t happen on your 18th birthday, or your 21st birthday…which tells me parenting my kids is not going to be over anytime soon.
But how do I go about solving my dilemma? How do I learn to not explain myself so much?
It’s not exactly easy, me being me. I like accuracy and clear-cut understandings of things. Facts. Evidence. And sharing that with everyone.
Knowledge is power, no?
But how much knowledge is necessary?
I prefer to plan and organize and be prepared. I like telling people I’m doing something and then explain why I do it. And how, or when, if I’m on a roll. (Me being me. 😂)
Maybe the answer lies in this little poem:
A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
Perhaps that’s it. The trick is to stop talking so much.
What do you think?