Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Need to Explain*

I was doing the grocery shopping this week and needed to get some beer to make chili. Since I was shopping on Sunday I was only going to buy one of the loose 24oz cans (you know the really tall cans?). To save our budget and our waistlines we try not to drink during the week so this was the most economical way to do it. However at this particular grocery store the liquor department is at the front corner of the store and you have to pay for all purchases there. I did all my other shopping and then headed to go get my beer. As I stood in line, the tired looking, needing to shower mom, I started to worry. What does this look like. Here I am, not exactly dressed to the nines, though obviously not a bum. I didn’t have my children with me, so I am pretty sure that the young couple in front of me didn’t think I was a mom. As I stood in line my heart started racing as I though, “OH MY! I bet this people all think I’m an alcoholic and needed to get a quick buzz in” I even went so far as to pay with cash, which happened to be all change because it was only $1.50, which would give me time to chat with and explain to the cashier that we were making chili?.

Why? Like she cares?

Why the need for explanation and validation?

In my youth I never would have done that. This was me, I did what I did, what I wanted, who cares. Who cares what you think of me. I like me, I have people that like me you got a problem with me? Your loss. When did I start to wonder and worry so much? When did it start to matter what people were thinking of me?

I think part of it is just being a women. Maybe it's because of the way I was raised. Whenever I did anything, from the way I dressed to something I did my mom's response was "what kind of mom will people think you have if they see you like that". Apparently I have internalized that and worry about what people think of me because of that. I still honestly don’t care a ton what people think of me. But what people think of Monkeys mom? That’s different, that makes me more self conscious. I remember being teased about my parents as a kid and I don't want that for my son.

But is that really it?

Or does it all go back to an underlying lack in self confidence?

Who knew parenting would open up so many questions of self?

* From the draft archives, I wrote most of this in March, I still wonder, why do I (we) care so much what others think? I'm still working on it.


Andrea said...

I think we don't really CARE, necessarily, we just wonder. And when we do care, it's because we know so many people (sometimes ourselves included) who do jump to conclusions quickly, and/or end up judging. It is kind of funny that you paid in all change, though! ;)

Shell said...

Oh, I relate! When I was pregnant with my first, I went into the liquor store to get 2 different things that I needed to make a margarita cheesecake for my dh's birthday. I felt like I had to explain to everyone who I saw why I was in there. When really, why should I care? I knew I wasn't buying it for me to drink.

Erin said...

Every time I've bought a pregnancy test, I've handed it to the cashier with my left hand so she can see my wedding ring. So she knows that it was a planned pregnancy, but WHO CARES? I don't honestly care if a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, but why does it possess me to worry about people who may care? It's baffling, but I so understand how you feel. For the same reason, I won't buy beer for my husband when I'm pregnant--what if the cashier or a person in the store thinks it's for me!?

Otter Thomas said...

Good questions. You don't want to be the drunk mommy. I think you are on to something. I often say I am glad that I am Lutheran. That way I don't have to feel guilty about carrying a 30 pack through Wal Mart because you always see someone you know at Wal Mart.

I am disappointed though that you only need beer to make chili. Who eats chili without drinking beer. Not me. Then again I think beer and a turkey sandwich is a nice lunch too.

Melissa said...

I have the same problem, and I think it relates to my lack of self-confidance. After being married 5 years I am finally coming to the realization that I can do what I want to do and I don't have to justify my descisions to the public. But it is hard to change a habit. :)

Jamie said...

I've been there, okay, maybe not exactly there, for me it was a massive cart of candy. I had to explain it was for a party I wasn't going to eat it all (maybe just a little.)