I love your dirty laundry, the dishes in your sink, the mud on your floor.  I love the lawn that hasn’t been mowed, the ice remaining on your driveway, the hair that is unkempt.  I recently received this text and picture from my spouse:

Text: "I'm hitting myself over the head with a magazine."

Text: “I’m hitting myself over the head with a magazine.”

We recently started dog-training with our foster-turned-adopted 6-year-old mutt, Challenger (Challie).  On day one, the instructor tells us, “don’t be mad at your dog for being a dog.  Roll up some magazines, tape them off or use elastic, and place them in every room in the house.  When your dog gets into the garbage or pulls food off the table, run to the nearest magazine.  Now, start hitting yourself over the head with it.  The problem isn’t them, it’s you.  They are dogs.”

There’s a lot of freedom in that, isn’t there?  We can’t train the dog out of our dog.  We can’t “love” the Autism from our daughter.  We can’t “over-perform” the humanity out of our parenting.  We can, however, have a really good laugh at ourselves and enjoy each other’s companionship along the way.

When we went to one friends house, and for the first time saw dirty dishes in the sink, I was honored.  I felt I’d been promoted to the inner circle, that place where you no longer perform for each other, pull out “all the stops.”  Paper plates are acceptable.  Not having juice is okay.  The dog jumping on your toddler will be forgiven.  Freedom to be ourselves is here!

Recently, I started running races with a friend of mine.  Since December, we’ve run one per month together.  There is something about being freezing cold, sweating anyway, not being able to breathe or speak, getting a red face, wanting to eat EVERYTHING, and stinking up a car together on the way home that proves your friendship is going to last.  Seriously, running, especially winter running, is just not attractive.  If I can let you watch me pant, you have arrived.

The judgment free campaign is about a lot of things, but someone dear to me summed it up this way, “We are all (mostly) doing the very best we can, and it would be so powerful if we honored ourselves and each other for that.”  I work in the field of family violence, and so I know and see daily that no, we don’t ALL do the very best we can.  Some of us hurt each other deeply, profoundly, and repeatedly.  The impact of that kind of abuse is far-reaching and potentially devastating.  That’s where “mostly” becomes quite relevant.  Some of us choose to harm others through power, control and abuse.  Let us save our need to act for those situations where someone is at risk and let’s let go of the small stuff.

For the rest of us, then: for those of us striving to create safe, nurturing and loving homes for our families, aren’t my dog’s garbage mess and your dirty dishes just another way to welcome each other into our lives and hearts?

Now that that’s out-of-the-way, we can face the big stuff, hand in hand.

 Join CT Working Moms & The Bump for Moms for Moms Day on March 4th. It’s a (mostly) virtual day to promote judgement-free motherhood. Get all the details here.

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