Have you ever been in a situation where you were going against the tide? Swimming upstream? If so, how did you handle it? Did you turn around and take the easy road downstream, or did you keep pushing forward, against the grain. What were the results? Did you realize at the time that sometimes it’s necessary to go against the flow instead of going with the flow?
I first got a real dose of this lesson when my kids were little. I had all four of our kids within 6 years, and the last three within three years. Once the youngest was walking, at about 15 months, you can imagine the craziness it was taking 4 kids under 7 anywhere. To top it off, the two youngest were always AWOL risks. You know; the kind of kids that would be there one second, and gone the next because they’d seen something cool a few hundred feet away?
To save my sanity, and to protect my children, I bought leashes for the 3 youngest kids, who were 1, 2 and 4 at the time. The 4-year-old was great about staying near, but she was quiet as a church mouse and always walked slower than the others, and without constant supervision, I’d never know if someone snatched her up or if she got lost in a crowd at the zoo, so I put a leash on her as well.
When I began using the leashes, I got more than my fair share of rude comments and snide remarks from perfect strangers about what a rotten mom I was for “treating your children like dogs”. For several months, these comments would pierce my heart. I wanted so badly to be a good mom, and the fact that someone else thought I was a rotten mom really hurt to the core. I started to question my actions:
Am I really treating the kids like dogs?
Are child leashes inhumane?
Am I doing them more harm than good?
In the end, I decided that the safety of the children and my piece of mind was far more valuable than what anybody else might think of my actions, so the leashes stayed, and after that, when people commented rudely on them, I politely gave them my classic (which I’m very good at, I might add) FU smile. 🙂
The result? My kids are safe and sound from being lost or abducted in a crowded mall or zoo, and I’m not in the looney bin.
I’ve found occasionally now that people respond in the same judgmental way to us, both about the existence of our debt, and about our choosing to sacrifice stuff to pay it off. The critics generally dwell in one of two camps:
Camp #1: You losers! How could you have been so irresponsible? We obviously are much too cool to associate with the likes of you. Seeya.
Camp #2: What, you think you’re better than us now? We’re certainly not going to stop having fun and join you on this ridiculous path. You turnin’ into some rich snobby person or somethin’?
Like my dilemma with the child leashes, these comments and attitudes would, at first, really, really hurt, even though they were the exception and not the rule among our family members and friends. Funny how the mean, hurtful comments stick out the most, isn’t it?
But after awhile, like with the leashes, I began to realize that this path we’re on is best for us, and that’s all that matters. Even if every other person we know in life were to turn their backs on us because of the mess we’ve created or our choice to get out of it, we’d still take this same path, because at the end of the day, what makes us be able to sleep soundly at night is knowing that we’re doing what’s best for our family and our situation. And I would encourage you to do the same. Choose this day not to put too much stock in the opinions of those who have little to no knowledge about your situation, or little to no regard for your feelings. You deserve better.
Have you ever had a situation come up where you had to choose between taking your own path and doing what others thought you should do?