Seeing the Plank (or, “How I Realized I’m a Judgmental B****”)

Sometime over the course of this pregnancy, I grew a plank in my eye.

I know it happens to everyone–I mean, that ish is contagious–but I spent a little time this morning meditating and doing yoga and I realized that there it was, front and center, its splintery rough edges propping me up like a leg stand in my crow pose. And I think it’s time to go ahead and take that beam out.

Me, balancing on my plank (dramatization).

So how did this massive chunk of wood grow in the center of my face without me noticing? We can start with the obvious: Daniel and I are [eccentric, hippie, granola, crunchy, whatever]. I want to breastfeed, we plan* to co-sleep and cloth diaper and, much to the confusion of  many of those around us, Daniel plans to parent our child. Not just “babysit,” not just serve as triage for when I’m on the edge of a mental breakdown, but legitimately take on the role of main caregiver for our baby.

We are unconventional, yes, but I’ll be damned if we are not a team. We’re 12 years into this romantic friendship of ours and, over that time, we’ve become a well-oiled machine of quirks and idiosyncrasies and shared interests. And I’m proud of us. I’m proud of the individual strength and confidence that I’ve built throughout this relationship and I’m proud to watch him continue to grow to the size of the challenges he’s met with. It’s been slow and steady, but we’ve been able to add more to our ship without sinking and I’m pumped about adding this next big thing (which is, ironically, a tiny little baby). Our plan is to fold this baby into our lives, destabilize a little, and then figure out what our new normal looks like. That’s it. No other real plans.

Needless to say, I knew we were doing things differently. I knew that my personal desire to make things harder on us short-term for (what I believe will be) long-term results would be a slap in the face to modern convenience. What I didn’t realize is that this would be offensive. 

So back to the plank.

I’m happy to say that I’m a feminist. I believe that the best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them and let them choose their own path. No decision made is wrong and there is nothing anti-feminist about wanting to be hyper feminine or a stay-at-home mom or anything of the sort, just as it’s perfectly fine to be a working mom, or a lesbian mom, or a stay-at-home dad. I’m proud of my fellow women (and men!) who do what works for them/their families and what makes them feel validated as the person they are… which is why I caught myself off-guard. You see, just as the offense that my “granola stubbornness” has caused surprised me, so too did my defense. In wanting to just have our wishes as a family respected, I began to criticize others’ for the same thing. I started comparing and contrasting “our way” with other ways, developing a small twinge of elitism in my own ideology. I started (mentally) pointing out specks in other people’s eyes.

Oh, hello, Plank.

There’s nothing more humbling than realizing that you’re part of the problem… and it’s time for a tonal shift. So this is me, opening my heart and my eye (the one currently healing from plank extraction). This is me, apologizing for any judgement I cast in defense of my own choices. We’re all just winging it, right? Doing the best we can to figure out how parenthood fits into our lives? Let’s give each other room to breathe, to experience the trial-and-error of raising kids, to step back and say “this isn’t working” without losing face. Let’s rejoice in each other’s successes and support one another in failure.

So you Mamas and Daddies out there to kids young and old and biological and adopted and step (and all the other mish-mash of ways we come into each other’s lives), I salute you.

I support you.

I’m not judging you (you’re doing the best job you can, and that’s a damned good job).

I’m proud of you.

And we’re all going to be just fine ❤


* Plans can change.