Perceptions

Something that has struck me lately is how two people can have such disparate views of one situation. Neither is right or wrong, per se, but their backgrounds have led them to make judgements and decisions that are yards apart from each other. I vaccinate my child, and I know others who do and others who don’t. Some parents abhor the idea of daycare; my son loves it so much that I feel bad when he is sick and unable to go – he loves his little bestie so much.

The way that we perceive things leads to these “mummy wars” – and yes, despite the fact that I’m aware that that is a very heteronormative term, I feel that it is far more prevalent amongst women who identify as mothers – that could easily be avoided if we realised that our decisions are the product of a dozen different experiences that made us who we are today. Explain why you make the decisions you make, but don’t expect people to conform to your point of view. I think this poem by New Zealand poet Glenn Colquhoun sums it up perfectly:

The word as a memory

Not everyone agrees that blue
is the correct word for a fine sky.

For parents of children who have drowned
in deep water blue is the colour of dying.

For lovers undressed silently by the light
of the moon blue is the colour of desire.

For travellers who wander the edges of
mountains blue is the colour of horizons.

For the lonely left aching by scandalous
lovers blue is the colour of music.

For soldiers who have died in defence
of their flag blue is the colour of glory.

For children raised on a street of brick houses
blue is the colour of rebellion.

For thieves who have been asked to empty
their pockets blue is the colour of policemen.

For women who love men with indigo eyes
blue is the colour of swimming.

For undertakers who apply lipstick to the
mouths of the dead blue is the colour of ice.

For dogs who have been fed from blue plastic
bowls blue is the colour of a full stomach.

And we’re just talking about a colour here – imagine how complex it is when we’re discussing intricate social issues. For my part, I’ll be trying to share my experiences but I’ll never tell you that I’ve got it right and you’ve got it wrong. We’re all in this world together and none of us are getting out alive!

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