I SAW YOU…
I saw you today and I judged you. I saw you in your tight, size 0, lululemon black leggings and your tied-up, sheer, white t-shirt. You were rocking your long blonde hair extensions (like I once had) and your trendy hat, as you pushed your young child in his ride-on toy.
I saw you and I confused you for his Nannie — you couldn’t possibly be his mother. No way – not with that body, that hair, and that lackadaisical attitude. Your little backpack purse was cute too, but it could barely fit my little pinky, let alone diapers and wipes or a child’s change of clothes. And your kid, well, he wasn’t behaving like most kids do — your kid was peacefully enjoying his stroll, being pushed by mom in his first Mercedes, munching on a snack, with not a fuss or a tantrum anywhere in sight.
Like I said, I saw you. But, you didn’t see me. Do you know why you didn’t see me? Because I was in a van driving down the road. Yep, the dirty Chrysler Town N’ Country — the one that hasn’t seen the likes of a car wash in six months. Yep, I saw you from the driver’s seat.
BUT, YOU DIDN’T SEE ME…
And, why would you? I was completely not memorable with my old shirt, loose maxi skirt and ponytail. My makeup had been sweated off and the bags under my eyes were beginning to make an appearance (as if they ever left).
I silently yelled “I want to be you!” But you didn’t hear me. How could you? My children’s backseat fussing made it impossible to hear anything.
You kept walking and I kept driving.
AN EPIPHANY OF SORTS…
But then do you know what happened? As I continued to drive I realized how ridiculous I was being. Yes, absolutely ridiculous. Embarrassingly ridiculous. Ridiculous for thinking anything unbecoming of you, and ridiculous for judging you. Ridiculous for being jealous of you, and ridiculous for not recognizing and appreciating all of the ways in which I, myself, have been blessed.
— What I didn’t see during my drive was the fact that you get up every morning at 4:30am, so that you can work out to make your body as good as it looks.
— What I didn’t see during my drive is the fact that you have been working super hard with your child on behavior modification, and he is just now successfully implementing some of your lessons.
— What I didn’t see during my drive is that you make sure to take the time for your own self-care, as you are aware of the importance of that for promoting your own mental and physical health.
–What I didn’t see during my drive is the fact that you had to work hard and wait for three paychecks in order to purchase your son’s favorite ride-on.
— What I didn’t see during my drive is how truly amazing, respectable, and admirable you really are — and for many more reasons than just your appearance and my perceived impression of your balanced attitude.
You work hard to do and be you, and that is something that you should never feel ashamed of. Even more than that, it is most definitely something that I should never judge you for.
— What you didn’t see when you didn’t notice me, is that I wear the same clothes all of the time because I choose to spend my money on my children and not myself.
— What you didn’t see when you didn’t notice me, is that I drive a van because that is what comfortably fits three children — three healthy children that I am so incredibly lucky to have birthed.
— What you didn’t see when you didn’t notice me, is my children smiling and laughing, two minutes after their whining ceased.
— What you didn’t see when you didn’t notice me, are the same things that I don’t see in myself every day. What I don’t see is how truly amazing, respectable, and admirable I really am — for many reasons that have nothing to do with how I look, what car I drive, and whether or not my children are behaving all of the time.
YOU KEEP MOVING AND SO DO I…
I’ll be sure to notice you next time I drive past. However next time, well, I promise to shout out to you words of encouragement, instead of an expression of jealousy. Or quite possibly, maybe, just maybe, I will be so content with myself and my life, that the only thing I will be paying attention to is the road and my children. See you soon.
Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole’s work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Women on the Fence & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter