Again, watch your toes.

“Now that I have a daughter I try to be more aware of my daily relationships, so that she knows what it means to be caring and to be cared for. I want her to see she deserves to be treated with respect but that she also has to give it.” – M.H.

I wonder how many moms begin to pay more attention to their daily relationships after they have children. In particular, I wonder how many moms become more aware of their relationships with other women when they have daughters. Surely, I can’t be the only one.

The truth is, we need to have close relationships with other women. We need our mothers, sisters, friends, cousins, and colleagues with whom we have the most common experiences. Those are relationships to be treasured, and they aren’t the kinds of friendships we can have with a man. And, I know some of you might start spouting some PC ramblings about how men and women are the same and therefore this blog is sexist and should therefore be stricken. Before you do that, please go find a man with whom you can swap episiotomy stories. I’ll wait here…

 …No? Ok, I’ll continue.

So, if we know how much we need these relationships with other women, why do we spend so much time comparing ourselves to one another, looking down our noses at so-and-so, being envious, gossiping behind each other’s backs, or making each other feel like garbage? I’m not saying that we do this to all the women in our lives, nor am I saying that men never engage in these same activities. (There’s an episode of Andy Griffith about that. 🙂 ) But, is there one of you out there who will deny having ever been catty?

How many times do we have lunch with one friend and complain about another? Or, to gossip about the other friend? “But,” you say, “We weren’t gossiping. We were questioning a choice she made that we felt was wrong for her.” If you didn’t bring it up with her first, and she isn’t participating in this conversation, it’s gossip.

How often do we look at another woman’s clothes, home furnishings, kids, husband, hair color, choices, etc. and judge her? “What would possess that fool to dress her child in an outfit that I wouldn’t have chosen for her?!” “Who does she think she is, not having an accent table in her entryway?” “She must be a terrible mother because she sends her children to public school. Clearly, my way is better.” “I think I’ll call Blanche and tell her how much I think Maude paid for her new purse. That’ll show her!”

I never said I’m not prone to judgment and gossip. But, my purpose here is not only to laugh at myself, but also so the other women in my life will read this and know how ridiculous we sound. I’m no Regina George, but I do compare myself to others a lot and I probably care too much what other people think. And, if you are rude, lazy, or lack hygeine, I might have said something about you. I’m just being honest.

And, if we’re honest with ourselves, the reason we judge other women who are different from ourselves is that we are either so narrow-minded and self-important that we cannot imagine someone else having a valid point of view, or we’re jealous.  More often than not, it’s the green-eyed monster. And, what a SHAME! How many great relationships do we miss out on because we can’t just accept people and keep our jealous mouths shut?

If we need each other so much, and we do, why do we say and do things that will destroy our relationships? I know you’ve been hearing this from your mama and your teachers since middle school, but I’m going to say it again. If someone will talk about other people to you, she will talk about you to other people. This isn’t the way we’re supposed to be treating the people we need to lean on when the guy has moved on to blonder pastures, or when we need our bridesmaids to get us through the pre-wedding jitters, or when we just can’t be pregnant for one more minute and we need encouragement. What a sad existence we would lead if we didn’t have other women to make us laugh about things that men just don’t get – or about men. 🙂 How lonely would we be if we didn’t have friends who had experienced the same tragedies to let us cry out loud? What would we be without Girls’ Night Out? And yet, sometimes these are the ones to which we are the meanest.

Because I have a daughter, I plan to start examining my daily relationships with the other women in my life more carefully. I will try my best to watch my tongue and my tendency to be judgmental, especially when she is within earshot. I will treasure my friendships and hope that she learns from my example. The last thing I want is for her to become a Mean Girl.

Because I have a daughter, I will pray for her to have a kind and gentle spirit, and that she will love herself enough to keep her words soft and sweet in case she ever has to eat them.

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17