(It’s Guest Blogger Week here on KNOX-esque. Today’s post is by my new gal pal, Joe @ “20 to Life”)
You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m a 30 year old Mom to 5 kids, one of whom is 14. (I’ll save you the math. I was 15 when I got pregnant, and 16 when he entered the world kicking & screaming). His father & I, while obviously too young, weren’t destined to last from the beginning. Although my mother tried like hell to get those nuptials to pass our lips, we both refrained, I think sensing we weren’t going to be growing old together.
I was young. I was stupid. So why, 14 years later, am I having to pay for this lack of
judgment? (although I wouldn’t change one thing. My son is definitely a blessing)
I’m a Mom on the PTA, I do “play-dates”, I even bake our neighbors cookies every Christmas – even the grumpy elderly couple who don’t return friendly waves and calls of “How’s it going?”. I consider myself a good person.
But every now and then, I meet that one person who grounds me with a harsh dose of reality all because 14 years ago, I had a (beautiful) child.
The conversations always start off nice enough “Where do you live?”, “What does the Hubbs do for a living?” the small talk that may or
may not turn into a friendship, if you have enough in common. Inevitably the “How old are you?” question will pop up, & this is where my
stomach will start doing flip flops, because I’m waiting for the look of concentration as they figure out that I’m 30 and my son is 14 so that
would mean … *GASP!* I GOT KNOCKED UP AT 14! That’s the part where the small talk dies, suddenly the dirt on their shoes just got
really interesting, & they “fake” an “Oh – I forgot! I’m supposed to be … where you aren’t.”
By now it shouldn’t hurt my feelings, but it does. And I get angry – because my son is a fantastic human being – kind, boisterous, the best
big brother EVER, so why should his birth be something to be ashamed of?
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t agree with teenagers going around having unprotected sex – but sometimes these things happen. And in my
case, I made the very best of it – married the man of my dreams eventually, and continued with the family I had already started. So why
the judgment? The hard part is – my son knows. He see’s the “look” in his friends’ mothers faces whenever I run into them at football, or
school, or when he’s hanging out and needs a pick-up. And it makes me irate, because I know he’s not embarrassed of me, he knows
the details of everything that went down, but it’s almost as if – to be accepted, he should also condemn me. I feel like I should be sporting
some kind of Scarlett Letter.
The funny thing about it all is, now – I’m one of THE most non-judgmental people on the face of the planet. So, other than this great guy
I have as a son, some good came out of it huh? But should you happen to run into someone who has done something you would never
have guessed possible of them, I suggest a quick top 10 list of what & what NOT to do.
1: Don’t ask questions if you’re not prepared for the good the bad and the OMG! (Because you never know)
2: Cover your look of surprise – and if you’re not quick enough, fake a sneeze. No one likes feeling like they’re being looked at as if they
accidentally broke wind.
3: Keep smiling and nodding, even if you’re mind is racing and you’re adding 1 and 1 together – bring up the weather if you have too!
4: Ask questions. Maybe they aren’t the axe murderer you now feel like they are. There may be more to the story than what they’ve decided
to tell you in the 3 seconds you’ve been talking.
5: Sympathize! Imagine you’re the bug squirming under the magnifying glass & what you would want someone to say to you to make you
feel less like you want to throw up lunch.
6: Consider the person. How do they interact with their kids/other people. Are they berating them, being rude & dropping F-Bombs? Or are
they playing Peek-A-Boo endlessly, just to delight a 2 year old & her friends?
7: Realize that everyone is human. Have you never done something you would just DIE if someone else found out? Would you want people
knowing how you secretly enjoy watching MTV reality shows with a bag of popcorn & some soda?
8: Go with your gut. You held a conversation in the first place for a reason, no one held a gun to your head. There must be something you
liked about that person before “Confessions of a 30-something Mom” started. Stick to your first impression.
9: Change the subject. There is nothing better than feeling like a crisis has been averted, and it lets them know you could care less.
And hey – while you’re at it – throw in a compliment about how fabulous her hair looks, or how jealous you are of how thin she’s gotten.
10: Take a deep breath – you’ve made a new friend, and she’s not perfect, but you score brownie points for not judging someone
And you have one more person whose closet you can raid!