Opening ourselves to the judgment of others

I ran across a brief article today about a breastfeeding mother sipping a beer in a bar while breastfeeding. When she ordered a fireball, the bartender closed her tab. Of course there is debate. The right to breastfeed in public is not my concern, nor really is the right to breastfeed and have a beer simultaneously. My issue is the poor judgment of pushing the envelope of drinking while breastfeeding in a public place. If you want to do that, there is no law on the books that stops you. However, if you want to avoid controversy and having a bartender refuse to serve you, perhaps you should do your drinking and breastfeeding in the privacy of your own home.  

For the record, I am a complete non-drinker; growing up with an alcoholic father is a pretty powerful deterrent. I also did not breastfeed any of my three children. Despite that, I still do not think it feeding a baby diluted beer via breast milk is a sound idea. If you cannot wait until your baby is done eating then perhaps you have bigger problems than what we are discussing here.

When we open up slivers and slices of our lives publicly we open ourselves to the judgment of others. It is simply a fact of life. As a blogger I love, Love, LOVE receiving comments from readers, even those that are harsh, critical, or tell me I’m an idiot. I have been fortunate to receive primarily supportive, constructive, encouraging words. Mine is a little blog, personal and about me and my life. Most days I am not a cautionary tale or an inspiring Lifetime movie. Most days I am normal, average, pedestrian in my circling the ballpark of normality. I write to relax, to process, to note events for future recall. Someday, when I am older and wizened I hope to be reading these entries with a smile and a laugh at the goofy things I said, did, thought so important or worth sharing. My target audience is future me, and I sure hope she appreciate my efforts. Until then, I am delighted to share with anyone else who cares to hang out and follow along.

Through the years of reading blogs I have watched some close up shop because they could not cope with the frank, disagreeable, or outright negative comments. In truth that was a concern of mine as well … what would I do the first time said not nice things to me? What would I do if no one ever said anything at all? To date I really don’t know, but I expect I would simply delete the unconstructive criticism and continue on my merry way. Hey, if my next door neighbor can tell me M should have an affair because I am “plain” and I can laugh about it later I can cope with an anonymous someone being mean spirited, right? I like to think so. I surely hope so, anyway.

I do not track my statistics. For the first 4 or 5 months of writing here I was completely unaware I even HAD statistics. Other that the wavy little bar graph at the top of the screen I rarely even think about readership, and if and when I receive comments I try to respond directly and promptly. I am gratified that I have readers, especially now in light of my egg boiling failures. Oh well. I am still a very nice person despite this flaw. 

Tonight I guess I am recognizing and acknowledging that my behavior and the things I talk about here leaves me vulnerable to judgment by other people. I accept that as part of having a public blog. My posts are not usually controversial, and there is nothing I say here that I would not repeat out loud in a personal, public setting. Anyone I speak of about here either reads my blog or knows from conversation with me what I think, how I feel, where I stand. M and both my kids both read my blog and know I talk about them endlessly, but if I liked C’s fiance less or could not stand G’s girlfriend, I would probably speak less about them or be more diplomatic in my language. Thankfully that is not the case – love you both, A and K!

Like everyone else, my life is never all rainbows and sunshine, yet my focus tends to be on the optimistic and the positive with minor forays into the frustrating, the angry, and the whine-worthy. In this it is not because of fear or concern about what others could or would say or think or the ways they might judge and shame me. This is just the way I am anyway. I like the positive and the hopeful aspects of life far more than the soul-sucking Very Bad Things.

Ah well. It’s been a long week and I am mentally listing the good things to avoid dwelling on all that went wrong somehow. And at least I have good health, zoomed through my exercise fueled by anger and frustration, and had a great gluten-free brownie my son’s fabulous girlfriend made just for me. Thanks K! 

Have a great weekend everyone.

2 thoughts on “Opening ourselves to the judgment of others

  1. Common sense isn’t as common… though I have to agree you put it best: it’s pushing the envelope. Why? What do you hope to accomplish? It reminded me of an article I saw a LONG time ago: an expecting mother would sit in her porch, and complained about the “noise pollution” of a construction site 2 blocks away. The kicker? She would sit in the porch and have interviews every single time about it, while she smoked a whole pack of cigarrettes! Oh well… priorities.

    I have received a mixed reception of comments, but hey, those are bound to happen. I don’t think I push the envelope very often, but it does make me wonder of the people that do. Wont pass judgement, but it just makes me wonder as to why.

    • Completely agree, Tania. I have come to the conclusion people really do not think their decisions/actions through completely and are then surprised when people react differently than they expect. I’m not out to be controversial in what I talk about; I’m just sharing my thoughts and day-to-day experiences. In the PF community there can been some harsh judgment that is, in my view, merely a dose of tough love. Have $20,000 in CC debt and nothing in savings? Maybe this is not a good time for that $648 Coach bag. But so many seem to expect unconditional support and positive affirmation 24/7. Or so it seems, anyway.

      I actually don’t mind if people disagree with me or have a different opinion. We are not clones of one another, after all. I am surprised by the level of vitriol very rarely thrown my way (and never published). Sure, it’s probably fine to tell me I’m an idiot, but please do not tell me I am an idiot who is going to burn in Hell for the sin of being a disinterested cook. I have read comments on your blog from people worried about you not eating enough because your grocery budget is so low, and I think the spirit of those concerns is good. Big difference between that the sanctimonious judging.

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