I’m a proud sponsored blog partner and happy panelist for the Sisterhood of Motherhood program. That said, I’m pretty pigheaded about being told what to do, so all the opinions shared are 100% authentic “Heather” thoughts. Keep reading for additional disclosure.
First impressions. They happen.
It’s impossible to NOT have first impressions about people.
Our brains are wired to do them automatically. It’s tied to the whole “Fight/Flight” response.
For example, if I was walking down the street and I saw Jason in a hockey mask wielding a chainsaw, my first impression would say “This person isn’t looking for a hug.” (Probably saving my life.)
First impressions are like Netflix binges: they’re just going to happen.
The key is what you DO with that first impression once it happens.
Does it sit around in the back of your mind, growing stagnant and smelling up the place? Or do you toss it out with the wash and disinfect the area with grace?
To test our auto-response, I’ve created a little 5-second quiz. Here’s how it goes:
- Read the quotes from the mother’s below.
- Pay attention to your first responses to each of them.
Which ones stir up compassion? “I could be her friend.” Which ones stir up…something else? “I think I’ll sit somewhere else.”
No one else will ever know, so be honest!
The Teaser Trailer vs. an Epic Movie
So how did you do?
Here’s the thing: those brief quotes only contain teeny-tiny snippets of a much larger narrative. These quotes are the teaser trailer to a 45-hour epic film.
Now that you’ve got your first impressions figured out, take a few minutes (beats 45-hours!) to watch what’s really going on behind those statements:
Anything surprise you?
Did your first impressions change?
My favorite part of that entire video is at the end when they’re all sitting around working through their crap.
“I judged you, and I’m sorry.”
“I feel ashamed for judging you.”
As mothers, we have so much more in common than we think.
We’ve all felt judged before.
We’ve all experienced epic mom-fails.
We’ve all had those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.
Today’s little “quiz” was good for me. It reminded me that I have to stay vigilant. I can’t just assume that I’ll be gracious to those who parent differently than I do.
There’s a me-monster inside that wants to PROVE TO THE WORLD THAT I’M RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING.
We need to be our own personal Beowulf.
We need to show that Grendel who’s boss.
You do that by assessing those first impressions, and then deliberately setting them aside. That doesn’t mean you can’t know right from wrong, that you can’t have opinions on things.
It just means you start from a place of grace and understanding first.
You can have still have judgments but not be judgmental.
I’m a strong Christian – I believe in absolutes, good and evil, right and wrong. But I can also step back and have grace for others, knowing I don’t know everything. (Personally, it’s my submission to Christ that enables this apparent paradox. I know who’s really in charge, and it ain’t me.)
I don’t know your story. I don’t know your heartaches, fears, failings, and needs. You don’t know mine.
We have to trust each other.
A trust that starts by sharing with one another. Sharing when we’ve judged. Sharing when we’ve been judged.
Listening to each other’s stories, and then allowing that information to lead us to compassion. Then forgiving and moving on.
I love that this revolution has begun.
I love that we don’t all have to hide behind smiles anymore. That we can be real with each other about the things that really matter: our kids.
Ready to whip off that mask and start trusting each other? Ready to stand firm in your choices and stop cowering under the opinions of strangers?
Start something new.
Similac partnered with bloggers such as me for its Sisterhood of Motherhood Program. As part of this program, I receive compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guideliness and social media engagement recommendations.
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.