When I returned to work after having my third baby, I can’t tell you how many times people would shake their head and say, “I just don’t know how you do it!” As if I was crazy for trying to keep my job and raise children at the same time. These comments usually didn’t come from men either! I heard it from other women, even other moms! Perhaps it was my post-partum hormones, but I took it as a back-handed compliment—even though they probably said it with good intentions. The thing is, I didn’t feel like I was doing “it” very well at all (whatever “it” was). I felt like I was one bad day away from throwing in the towel. I was living in survival mode, and those cynical words were the last thing I wanted to hear! I craved support and camaraderie. What I so desperately needed to hear was, “You’re doing a great job, keep it up!” or, “Hang in there, you can do it!” And I wanted someone, another mom, to show me how it could be done.
If you’ve followed any parenting blogs, websites, or social media groups for longer than, say, 5 minutes, you can quickly see the issues that divide us. It seems an argument can be made out of any hot-button issue. Competitive parenting and judgmental opinions are everywhere. It’s at the playground, in the workplace, even at our kids’ birthday parties. And I don’t have to do a whole lot of soul-searching to know that I’ve been guilty of it too.
As you and I know, child-rearing is not just feeding mouths, changing diapers, and signing them up for little league. It’s constant effort. It’s the day-by-day, minute-by-minute conscious realization that we are preparing our little ones to someday take flight. Each and every moment will string together into the years which form the foundation of our children’s lives. The weight of their world is on our shoulders. The gravity of this does not escape us moms.
Truth be told, we’re all experts and yet none of us are. We moms go through battles and hope to come out victorious on the other side. We are in the trenches and we have the stretch marks, worry lines, and under-eye circles to prove it. These battle scars are won by serving our children to the very best of our ability. We have this newfound strength and power, so let’s own it! Let’s use it to encourage and uplift our fellow mamas! Show grace to another mom who is going through a tough time. Offer a smile, a hug, or an attentive ear. Take her out for coffee, or take her kids to the park so she can rest. Withhold judgment. Be genuine. Chances are you may need that same support one day! A mother’s job is hard enough, and being a supportive friend may make all the difference.
The truth is, we’re all good moms. YOU are a good mom! Perhaps you don’t hear it enough, and it’s time for that to change! You kiss boo-boos, wipe noses, and slay the monsters under the bed. You use vacation time when they’re sick, help them with homework, and coach their soccer team. You cook their meals, wash their clothes, and teach them to share. You instill morals, a sense of right from wrong, you guide them on their path. You’re a good mom, and everyone knows it.
This month, in honor of Mom’s Week, I will challenge myself to be better. I will not inwardly roll my eyes if I disagree with another mom’s parenting decisions. I’ll withhold judgment and unsolicited advice. I will give a smile and words of encouragement to my mom-friends who need it! I will show kindness and support. I will be helpful. And I encourage you to do the same! We moms deserve it!