Every so often, I read a nice article or post about mothering on a blog or I read something funny about the catastrophe that can be the life of a stay at home mom or what it’s like to be a working mother. Then I read the comments. Oh, the comments. This is when seemingly well-meaning parents feel the need to criticize and bash the choices that other parents have made for their children and their families.
It makes me tired. Your choice is your choice. My choice is my choice. Some people don’t have a choice. I have two kids and a blog, parents that live pretty close by and a super supportive husband. You have four kids and no blog, you work outside the home and your husband works out of town. How in the world could we EVER compare our lives to each other?
I don’t care if you have been on both sides of the coin, stay at home AND working mom. While you may have a little more insight into the daily workings of both roles, you still can’t compare your life to someone else. Every kid is different, every spouse is different, every family parents differently, everyone has different expectations and priorities for how the day should go.
I think the majority of us try very hard to lift each other up, but somehow the anonymity of the Internet makes people have the “courage” to say things that are hurtful all wrapped up in a “well-meaning” little package.
Instead of telling a stay at home mom that she has 40+ extra hours to clean her house than a working mom (WHAT?), how about we just embrace and uplift each other? This job is hard, no matter how you slice it. How about instead of saying “Here’s what I do and here’s what you should do”, let’s say something like:
“How can I help you?”
“I’m here to listen, what’s going on?”
“I’m going to bring you dinner, clean your house, watch your kids, insert any other helpful thing you could do without being asked here”
Being a mom can be very isolating, especially if you are living in a new town and don’t know many people yet, if you have a colicky baby and feel like nobody understands what you are going through, if you are struggling with post-partum depression or are just having a rough Wednesday. What we don’t need in those moments is to read or hear something condescending, hurtful or just plain rude. We need to read or hear that others are going through the same thing, that we are not alone.
I have two challenges for each and every one of you:
- Find a Mom this week in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, at a restaurant, anywhere. Tell her how cute her kids are, how well-behaved they are, how nice her hair looks, how it looks like she is doing an amazing job at this business of Mothering. If you see a Mom who looks frazzled, offer to help her unload her groceries, hold the door for her, just offer her a smile.
- My second challenge for you is for yourself. If you start to feel down on yourself or feel guilty or start comparing yourself with the Mom next door who seems to always have her hair washed and actually brushed every day, stop. Stop your thoughts and tell yourself two good things you have done that day for your babes. Did you read a story at naptime? Did your kids actually brush their teeth today? Did you play outside with your kids, even for 10 minutes? Did you lay on the floor and put together a puzzle? Did your kids eat a piece of fruit this morning? Did you somehow manage a shower in the middle of the chaos? Did you take a little personal time? Anything. Derail those negative thoughts with a positive one.
While we may not be perfect 100% of the time, remind yourself of all the things you do well. What makes you the best Mom that you can be to your children? If nobody else is singing your praises, darn it sister, do it yourself.
Now tell me. Right now, tell me two things you do well. TWO. Not just one.
Happy Mother’s Day, my friends. Enjoy this day and every day after. Get out there and be the Mother that only you can be.
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