on not caring what other people think (and grocery shopping with kids)

IMG_8720I have a confession: I care about what other people think of me. Too much.

Whew. It felt good to get that off my chest.  Because, for some reason, that feels like the dirty little secret that people carry around with them, doesn’t it?  Everyone is constantly telling you that you shouldn’t worry about what other people think of you, that if you’re confident in yourself, it doesn’t matter. If you have your eyes firmly fixed on God, you won’t even notice what others around you are whispering.  If you’re a good mother, you’ll do what’s best for your family and not even notice when the old lady at Trader Joe’s throws you some serious shade while both of your kids slam their mini-carts into the banana display.

Well.  Those people are probably right.  No, they are definitely right.  We shouldn’t care.  If we were closer to perfection, we wouldn’t care.  At some point in my life, I hope to not care.  I’m getting better at it all the time.  Like, for instance, that little vignette about the lady with the pinchy, angry mouth at Trader Joe’s?  Yeah, that happened and I was kinda like, “Ha! At least they’re not crying!” (There was crying, later, but we were already halfway to the car when it happened, so I consider that I shopping victory.)  It’s getting easier for me to not care what strangers think of me, and for that, I’m grateful.

But if I’m being perfectly honest (and that’s what I’m going for here), I still care way too much about how those closest to me perceive my actions.  Even when I’m acting in a way that I know is right, I let worry fester. Did they misunderstand?  Do they understand what pressures I’m facing in my life?  Did they realize that I’d prayed long and hard about this decision?  Do they know that I didn’t mean to offend? Do they even get how hard it is to keep both of my children fully clothed and diapered and fed at the same time while also trying to clean the house?

I hope you’re not like me.  I hope you don’t care and that that comes easy to you.  But maybe it doesn’t.  Maybe you’re just a little bit like me?  Maybe you care a little more than you want to admit?  If that’s the case, my point is, there’s hope.

Detachment from the judgement and misunderstandings of the world isn’t something we can expect ourselves to master overnight.  Or over the course of a year.  Or, really, over the course of a lifetime.  I mean, this is stuff that SAINTS struggled with, people!  There’s a reason why you hear so many people say later in life that they give little mind to the judgements of others… maybe because they’ve had a lifetime of practice?  It takes work to continue being you and purposefully detaching from the harsh criticisms (real or imagined) of others. So what I’m saying is, it’s ok to own it.  We don’t have to pretend we don’t care when we do.  Acknowledge it, put it in its place, and move on. Be open and honest and let others worry about their own thoughts. I can’t control the mind of that grumpy lady in the grocery store any more than I can control who my kids take out with their shopping carts. So one day at a time, I’m going to have to practice letting it go.

10 thoughts on “on not caring what other people think (and grocery shopping with kids)

  1. Ha, I’m laughing. How many times has B slammed into SOMEONE with the Trader Joes cart? Ah, too many.

    I think this whole ‘not caring’ thing comes with age. I was way bad at it in my 20’s – way bad – but now at 34 I honestly could care less. Not to the point of being rude or anything, but honestly, if B melts down and someone gives me a look I just smile and tell them ‘they are happy to try and help.’ 😉

    1. They seriously need to make a special kind of insurance for toddler shopping cart accidents because I feel like there is definitely a lawsuit lurking somewhere in my future. 😉

  2. I think, for me, it was a perspective shift. Once I told myself that what other people thought was none of my business, my shoulders relaxed. Their thoughts and perceptions are more of what they internalize, their truth than colored with your lens or what’s actually happening in the moment. Come with me mama, let’s mind our own business. xo

    1. Yes! I think I need to work on consciously shifting my perspective- I suspect that means taking it easy with social media and media in general- where EVERYONE has an opinion on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE and they have to tell you about it! 😉 I find that when I re-center on reality, I’m in a much better place!

  3. Oh gosh – it is so dang hard to detach from what others think of us – even the snarky people at Trader Joes – why do we even think we need to justify our parenting skills in front of them???? One of the imponderables of life and one, I suspect, that we will know the answers to when we are wise old Great – Grandmothers!

    I really like your blog – love the clean design and the heartfelt writing! Best wishes on your endeavor! Blogging is such fun!

    1. Debbie, so true! Grandmas don’t care because they’re too busy adoring their children and grandchildren! 😉 Thank you for your kind words, they mean so much! I’m transitioning over from the world of food blogging, and I really am having so much fun stretching my legs! Thank you for stopping by!

  4. I have gotten to a point where I don’t care if other people like me as long as *I* like me. But that doesn’t exactly mean it doesn’t bother me if I feel people disapprove, especially if it’s people in my family.

    1. Yes! That’s the crazy part- I like me! I know I make good choices for my family! But it’s so hard to let go when it’s people who are close to us, isn’t it? Keep on truckin’, eventually we’ll get to the point where we can master the smile, nod, and walk away. 😉

  5. I love this. It’s so hard to mother authentically in public without fear of judgement for how our life must be at home, the decisions I’m making with them in the store, etc. it’s a constant internal battle for me not to feel like I have to apologize for my kids’ behavior when it might inconvenience someone. But hey, babies gonna cry and toddlers gonna hate and that’s just the way it is! Thank you for sharing your heart; I needed this reminder. 🙂

    1. LOL, “Toddlers gonna hate”… so true! I saw a cartoon the other day that showed two pictures of a toddler and mom in a store from the point of view of another shopper. In one, the mom is portrayed as a wet noodle as she tries to talk her child down from a tantrum, in the other, she’s a hulking monster because she’s letting her kid cry without comforting him. I had to laugh, because it’s true- it seems like those are the only two options in people’s minds!

Comments are closed.