So, you may or may not like me after this, and this may come as a shock to you, but I don't care. Sure, I'm not about to change your life, but my life has certainly changed since I stopped caring about what other people think of me. Ever since I became a mom, I've gained a brand new perspective on the thoughts of others and I quickly realized I don't care if other moms like me. The best part, though? That epiphany is amazingly refreshing.
I'm typically an easy person to get along with. My best friend teases me constantly because I "like everyone" and she "likes no one." But while I do generally give everyone a chance, I have stopped caring if those same people don't grant me the same courtesy. I have always taken secret (or maybe not-so-secret) pleasure in the fact that, generally, people like me. I am personable, relatable, empathetic, and I'm easily adaptable to most situations. I know these things about myself, but I also have many flaws which may turn some people off. I'm not in denial of who I am, and know I can come off as condensing and pompous and annoying. (So if you're nodding your head in agreement right now, dear reader, I don't blame you.)
Before I had kids I cared about whether or not people liked me. I aimed to please, constantly compromised in friendships, and did what everyone else wanted to do, mainly because I'm rather easy going. I was heartbroken over failed friendships, spending a significant amount of time trying to figure out whether or not the break ups were my fault. Then it all changed. With the arrival of my daughter I started to realize there is way more to life than other people liking me. Obviously, right? When my son was born, I officially crossed over into the IDGAF category of being liked.
Let me tell you, it is beyond invigorating to not care about what other people think of me. While I always knew women were most critical of each other, it wasn't until I became a mom that I realized moms are probably the worst to each other (although there are more than a few mothers lifting each other up, supporting one another, and going to bat for one another, too, and that is absolutely worth mentioning). We are constantly judged for our parenting choices and we bring that judgement into our circle of friends, which is beyond unhealthy. So, I kind of stopped caring. No, I don't run around being a garbage human while simultaneously not caring if I hurt anyone, and yes, I do make sure I am aware of how my actions and words affect others. It's just that, well, I also know that to a certain extend and always, I will be unable to please everyone. I know that, in the end, some moms will either like me or not like me, and I'm fine with either result and for the following reasons:
Because I'm Not Here To Please
Honestly, I'm not here for you. I'm not here for other people to like me. I'm here to live my life and to do right by my family and my friends. I will not change my personality to please other moms (especially moms I don't know) because, frankly, that's ridiculous. I am not here to make anyone — outside of my immediate family— happy.
Because I Do What I Want
I'm done compromising my comfort for people outside of my family. Don't get me wrong, I will always help a person in need, but I will no longer constantly sacrifice myself for others. This kind of mentality has only caused me disappointment and melancholy and I will no longer do it. I owe nothing to anyone.
Because I'm An Acquired Taste
Many people like me, but plenty of people don't, too. Hey, that's totally fine. I can be loud and obnoxious, blunt and opinionated. I'm a bleeding heart liberal, and not everyone likes us these days. I care about real world issues and I don't care about a lot of things other people care about. I'd rather discuss politics and history than shoes and handbags and celebrities. I'd rather focus on my kid's education than their social status. You can take me or leave me, and I honestly won't judge you for whatever decision you make.
Because We Don't Have To Be Friends If Our Kids Are Friends
My daughter has made friends all over the place, including day care, school, camp, dance class. That doesn't mean I have to be friends with all of the moms, though. Sure, I wouldn't mind getting along with the parents, but I am not going to make some grand effort to do so. I've tried and it hasn't worked out. So from now on, I'm sticking to my comfort zone. I'm more than happy to arrange playdates where the parents drop their kids off and go on their merry way.
Because I'm Confident Enough Without Anyone's Approval
I have a gift many do not have and many want: confidence. I am borderline cocky-confident, actually, and I just don't see a problem with that. As a woman living in a society that constantly tells women they shouldn't take up space or love their bodies (unless that body fits some ridiculous and unhealthy social standard of beauty) I think the ability to remain confident is nothing short of a success worth celebrating.
Confidence in myself and in my choices makes it easier for me to not care about whatever it is our society tells me I should care about, including but certainly not limited to the size of my pants or a number on the scale. I don't need other moms to like me in order to feel valuable. Other's opinions of me don't define me.
Because I Have Friends
My friends are freaking amazing. So why would I care if other moms like me? My friends seem to like me enough, some may even love me. I'm good with that. I have seasoned friends of over 20 years and I have new friends whom I love. That's plenty for me and I am thankful for that.
Because I Have Other Things To Worry About
Everyone has something they are dealing with, myself included. I have two very different kids (a boy and a girl, an introvert and an extrovert), a job that takes over my entire life 10 months out of the year (teaching), a husband who is a hazard to himself (like, if he is holding a saw I know we'll end up in the emergency room that night), and a family full of expectations. That is just the stuff I am willing to share publicly, guys. Privately, let's just say the struggle is real.
Because I Want My Kids To Follow My Footsteps
I want my kids to be confident and not care if someone likes them. I want my kids to focus on important things in life rather than their social status. I want them to be good people, to be true to themselves, and to not let others take advantage of them. I want them to be kind people, but at the same time to be the kind of people who care about their self-worth enough to not demean themselves just to fit in. I want them to reach a balance.
Because I Can't Please Everyone
There will always be people who don't like you no matter how hard you try and no mater what you do. So, at some point you have to realize that is OK. There is no point in agonizing over why someone doesn't want to be your friend (I've done it and, trust me, it sucks).
I don't like everyone I meet either, and maybe the people I don't like are perfectly great people and have many friends, but they are just not my cup of tea. You can't be everyone's vision of perfect and it's pointless trying. We don't all have to be best friends and get along. I strive for civility and, honestly, that's good enough for me.
Because My Ultimate Goal Is To Be A Honey Badger
I'm sure by now you have all watched the viral "The Crazy Nasty*ss Honey Badger" video. If you haven't, go watch it now. I'll wait.
You see, based on this video alone, I want to be a honey badger. You guys, I want to be a honey badger so much. Why? Well, because in not caring about what others think of me, I'm pushing back against the idea that my worth is intrinsically tied up in someone else's perception of me. As a woman, that's what I have been taught my entire life, right? I'm only valuable if someone finds me attractive. I'm only [insert whatever positive quality someone thinks of here] if I am [insert quantifier, usually given by a man, here]. Trust me, taking a page out of the honey badger's book is both calming and freeing. Don't let others dictate how you feel about yourself. Only you are in charge of your self-worth. Be unapologetic.
Because I Like Me
I like the person I am. I care deeply about the wellbeing of others, I stand up for people who may not be able to stand up for themselves, and I am a great listener. I mean, people actually come to me for advice. I am kind and thoughtful and fair. I fight for what I believe is right. I am vocal about injustices in our world. I am a great partner, a good parent, a considerate friend, and a decent teacher.
In other words, I'm a catch and I like me. I'm more than enough.