In the spring of 2006, I was pregnant with my first child and attending my first Women's Foodservice Forum Leadership Development Conference. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of highly educated, accomplished attendees and also my looming motherhood, I found great comfort in attending a panel discussion of industry leaders discussing work/life balance. There were several great insights shared but the single piece of wisdom that still sticks with me (a day after that baby turned 11!) is this from Angela Hornsby: No one can judge what's right for you and your family.
Now, people certainly try to judge others' family dynamics, but Angela's point was that their opinions really don't matter. Every family is different, and that is a point for celebration, not consternation. So what if the family next door rarely eats dinner together? They have breakfast together many days of the week. (And even if they didn't, is it really any of your business?) In that family the woman earns more than her husband and they're both okay with it? Terrific.
As the primary breadwinner in my family, this mindset has felt comforting when other moms with more traditional arrangements make comments such as, "I don't know how you do it." Often I will remind myself, "They're not judging you; they admire you." And if they really are judging me, there's not much I can do about it anyway.
Angela's sage advice has also repeated itself when I'm about to judge someone else - maybe the woman who's nursing a child who looks far too old for that sort of thing, or someone whose house is even more discombobulated than mine after a long week. Instead, I try to give them the grace I hope they'll give me.
I appreciate this sentiment from Steve Maraboli, “How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”
I'd like to suggest that type of life would be pretty darn good. Let's give it a try.