Moms, there’s this thing we do and I think it’s about time we change it. We put on a fake smile and lock up how we really feel. We pass by each other every single day, yet never really speak. You know I’m right.
Sure, that’s ok sometimes. I get it, nobody wants a constant therapy session, but I also know we need to be a little more real. We’re too worried what they’ll think or if anyone feels the same way. Guess what? There will always be others out there who understand and go through the exact same things.
What are we so afraid of?
I see a new mom out with her new baby, loaded down with every baby gadget on the market. She looks unsure, she looks tired, she looks like I did not so long ago. I want to go up to her ask if she’s doing ok. I want to give her little pieces of advice, tell her things I’ve learned along the way. I want to tell her how beautiful the baby is and how beautiful she is. I want to tell her she will sleep again. What do I actually say?
I smile, silently think about all the things I’d like to say and immediately talk myself out of it. What if she just wants to be left alone? I’m pretty tired myself, it sounds like too much effort right now. What if she asks questions I’m not able to answer?. Maybe next time.
I see a mom with a toddler wrapped around her leg like a koala clinging to a tree. I hear the shrieking sounds coming as the tantrum begins. I see the defeat and humiliation slowly flush across her face as she struggles to wobble through the crowd. I see her look down to avoid the judgemental glares. I want to run to her. Hold her and tell her to keep that head up because she is a good mom. I want to say we’ve all been in her shoes. I want her to feel support and know she’s not alone. I want to tell her things that might help during this phase and that yes, it’s just a phase. What do I say?
With my heart pounding, wanting to reach out so bad, I move out of the way and let her pass without saying a word. She’s in the middle of a meltdown. It’s not the right time. She has friends to talk this over with, right?
I see a comparing mom, I see her struggling to plan that over-the-top birthday party. She’s stressed and frustrated. She tells me this isn’t “her thing”, but she has to do it for her child. I want to wrap my arm around her shoulder and tell her it’s ok if her party isn’t like others. If she wants to keep it simple, do it. I want to tell her to be herself and do what she feels is right, not what Pinterest or other moms say is necessary for a party to be good. I want to tell her other moms would actually respect her for this. What do I actually say?
It’s her life. She’s already made up her mind. I shouldn’t interfere, right?
I watch a mom care for her newborn with a very supportive husband. He automatically takes the bottle when the baby finishes eating. He hands her a burp cloth, then a pacifier. He gently rubs her back as she rocks the baby. I want to tell her to acknowledge this. I want to ask if she realizes how rare and significant it is that they run smoothly as a team without a word spoken. I want to urge her to embrace this partnership and nurture it so it will continue through the hard times. What do I say?
The baby just went to sleep. I don’t want to seem like a creepy people watcher. Maybe she already knows all this.
I could write of many more times, or opportunities, I’ve seen or personally experienced, but the whole point is we need to talk to each other. We need to drop our fears and reach out to each other. We need to praise each other. While being a mom is miraculous and rewarding, it’s also terrifying and lonely and humbling and hard.
Some of you may do this and that’s great, but far too often I see moms buried in their phones or not willing to put themselves out there or simply not wanting to get involved. What’s the worst that could happen? The other mom isn’t receptive or maybe she’s rude? Ok, at least you tried. What’s the best that could happen? You place a little spark of hope or relief or create a ripple of moms starting to actually communicate real issues.
Imagine the comfort and guidance we could provide and receive if we just open ourselves up to sharing the reality of motherhood. I don’t mean only with close friends, but with the girl in the waiting room, people at work or the mom at the grocery, Talk about the gross and dirty and exhausting parts along with the sweet and fun parts.
I think we can all agree that raising another human is hard, so let’s put on our brave faces, check our fears at the door and get out there with nothing but support and uplifting words for each other!