I use to wonder who those moms were who didn’t contribute beautiful (and seasonally appropriate) cupcakes to their children’s class parties. Likely, I judged, they were the same ones who never came along on trips to the pumpkin patch. Why have children, I would quip, if you weren’t planning on being involved in their lives.
I would constantly shake my head at my kids pleadings for things like fruit roll ups or chips in their lunch, even canned fruit. “No,” I would remark, “you have homemade cookies and real fruit.” While in my head I also tallied the times I sent homemade buns and muffins. Who are these moms who clearly don’t care about the health of their children? I would perplex myself with the question.
I’m ashamed to admit that I could not (and I mean Not with a capital N) understand why library books wouldn’t be returned on time, why field trip notices weren’t fully completed and sent back to school the following day, why planners may have gone unsigned or why, on one of my many, many volunteer times in the kindergarten class a child would emphatically proclaim “Pineapple!” when asked if they knew the name of the letter I was pointing to. For the record, it was a ‘B’.
I, in my early days of being a mom with kids in elementary school, judged other moms around me. Harshly. I didn’t ever once think what there ‘at home’ time looked like and just assumed that life would be better for everyone if they were all a bit more like me.
I have a wicked heart and I know it. It’s just that I’m oft completely ignorant of this wickedness until I find myself being the very thing I once scorned. I started out with excuses. Life is so busy. We’re moving. We had to visit dad in the hospital. I’m working more now. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve become the roundabout mom. You know, the one that simply pulls up to the school and only slows down long enough to let the munchkins shimmy out and then waves and carries on with her day. The roundabout moms were the ones I was always the saddest for. Do they not realize what they’re missing out on by not getting out of the car, walking their child to the door and then giving them that extra smooch when the bell rings? I didn’t ever once imagine what the roundabout moms lives were like. Maybe they’re dads were in the hospital, or their boss yelled if they were in one minute after 9, or they had other important things keeping them from getting out of their car.
Without allowing myself excuses I will admit to all of you out there that more often than not my kids library books are not returned on time. I have, in the past few months, been known to stick a pack of welch’s fruit gummies in their lunches. Field trip notices require a weekend to complete. I no longer volunteer in the classrooms, partly because of my schedule and partly because as the kids get older their teachers need it less. I’m not on the PAC – though I never was, mostly because I’m scared of such things and the politics involved.
And guess what? I love my kids as much as I did when all of those things were done perfectly and efficiently. I know now that those other moms do to.
I don’t know when I’ll learn not to judge others. Every time I have a moment like this I think, “This is it! I am done with judging!” But it creeps back in ever so slyly as all sin does. I can only trust that God is and will keep teaching my ever-so-slow to learn heart day by day.