Recently, my husband and I were traveling on a vacation without our kids. As we spent time in airports, I saw many moms with kids. I saw the stress on the faces of moms rushing through the airport trying to catch a flight with kids in tow. I saw moms worrying as they boarded the plane that their kids would be the ones getting the evil eyes from annoyed passengers. As I made these observations, it became very apparent and obvious to me that motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes.
Even more than that, it occurred to me what if instead of judging other moms for how they raise their kids, we rally around each other and learn from each other?
Motherhood is the most rewarding job we will ever have, but it is also the hardest. What can make it hard is the isolation, judgment, and lack of support and empathy from others.
I remember a time of preparation before my first was born. My husband and I excitedly signed up for every class possible to ensure that we would be well-equipped to be the best parents we could be. We studiously took notes and listened on the edge of our seats because we did not want to screw this up. We had high hopes for our soon-to-be first baby. I remember rubbing my belly as he kicked and I realized I wanted to give this precious baby the world. I wanted to be sure that we were setting him and any future kids up for success through the parenting choices we made. Talk about pressure!
After his birth and the subsequent births of my two daughters, I realized that moms are very passionate and have strong convictions about the choices they make for their kids. Breastfeeding versus formula feeding, diapering, hospital epidurals, when and where to send the kids to school…there are so many very strong opinions on all aspects of motherhood. The chances are highly likely that there has been a time that you and I have been so passionate about why we do the things we do that we have come across as judgmental, even if that was not our intention.
What if for a moment instead of judging, we actually had a meaningful conversation with another mom who does things just a little differently than we do?
We might even learn something or gain a perspective we did not otherwise have.
Another thing I have learned is that each and every mom I have encountered is doing her best for her children out of LOVE for her children. Moms are pulled in so many directions and are pressured to take a stand on hot button issues. If we can remember moms are doing the best they can with what they have, it will help us come to a point of understanding. It’s hard to find fault when you know that someone’s actions come from a place of love.
The next time you come across a mom who has a different view on something, remember that mom is doing her best and loves her children fiercely just as you do.
I challenge myself and you, our readers, to start up a conversation with another mom. Whether it be in a busy grocery store or at a local library or in an airport, speak to another mom. That one conversation could be the world of difference for that other mom and for us. Maybe she is having a horrible day or maybe she is feeling very lonely. Maybe by that one conversation, it will reassure her she is not alone in this journey. That one conversation could make the world of difference. No matter what the conversation looks like, we can all glean a little bit of wisdom from another person who is traveling the same road. You may even make a new friend to share the journey with.
Being a mother is such a beautiful job. Let’s all do our job to the best of our abilities and empower others around us to do the same. Let’s appreciate different parenting styles, because diversity creates a richer world in which to live.
If we can band together and love others despite our differences, we can create a more peaceful world.