I know you see me. I know you see me out enjoying a few cocktails with my husband, and you wonder why I am not home with my children. Before you judge me, let me share with you that I am typically “momming” 24/7, and just like you enjoy a break, so do I.
I know you see me. I know you see me using candy and toys as a reward for my child’s good behavior. Before you judge me, let me share with you that I don’t do this all of the time and that most of the time I allow intrinsic rewards to be sufficient enough. However, I am not perfect, and neither are my children; but they do deserve a mother who doesn’t stress herself unnecessarily by depriving them of a freakin’ lollipop that would provide some joy.
I know you see me. I know you see me in my yoga pants, an oversized t-shirt covered in spit-up, and my messy ponytail. Before you judge me, let me share with you that what you think of my appearance no longer matters to me. What does matter to me is that I feel beautiful, in my skin, and whatever it is clothed in. What matters to me is that my husband, children, and family think I am beautiful, both inside and out.
I know you see me. I know you see me embarrassingly making attempts to diffuse my child’s (and my own) public temper tantrum. Before you judge me, or my child for that matter, let me share with you that it is normal behavior—normal mom behavior and normal child behavior. Don’t stare at my child or me while we work through this teachable moment together; but if you can’t help yourself, look at us longingly and supportively.
I know you see me. I know you see me shoveling my dinner in my mouth. Before you judge me, understand that when you eat out with multiple young children, there is a small window where none of them require your attention, and I will always take that opportunity to fill my belly.
I know you see me. I know you see me seemingly ignoring my children so I can be on my phone. Before you judge me, know that I work from my phone and that to maintain a job that allows for me to work from home and care for my children, I have to try to fit “work” in whenever and wherever I can.
I know you see me. I know you see me struggling to juggle and balance three children, a household, a marriage, and two dogs. Before you judge me and feel sorry for me or pity my stage of life, know that I don’t need or want your sympathy, but that I will take your empathy and kind, encouraging words of support.
I know you see me. I know you see me starting my own business and raising respectful children. Before you judge me and envy me, let me make it clear that anyone can do anything. Let me make it clear that you can do and have the same. Let me share with you that how I arrived at the place I am presently is not due to luck or chance, but is the result of hard work, motivation, and a steady moral compass.
I’ll let you know this, too…
I see you.
I see you struggling, and I see you juggling.
I see you reaching and teaching.
I see you working, and I see you playing.
However, before I judge you, I vow to take into account the fact that what I see is just a small snippet of who you are—as you, and all of us, are so much more than the brief moments people see us in.
And oh yeah, those small snippets that I witness from every one of you are what inspires me, every day, to be a better woman, a better wife, a better parent and better at ALL that I do.
Thanks for being my inspiration.
Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole’s work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Motherly & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter!
This article was previously published on jthreeNMe.