Writing to you about “mom-shaming” is tricky because I kind of feel like I’m mom-shaming the mom-shamers. No one needs all that chaos. But like, don't the moms who shame others get spit up all over their clothes and drown in laundry like the rest of us? We all know the answer to that.....so instead of picking apart the many shamers....I want to talk to about the encouragers. It’s too overdone to point out “the bad mom” or “the mean girl” in my opinion.....
I used to work in retail and on the bathroom door hung a sign with an acronym that I literally can’t forget...I think it about it at random times and the way we used to say it pops in my head like a song I learned in grade-school.
I’m referring to the “teamwork” piece here....although in my mind, they’ll always go hand in hand. If we thought of motherhood like one GIANT team that we are so privileged to be on...how would we operate together in comparison to how we are currently doing? I definitely think there would be room for constructive criticism as opposed to the passive art of mom shaming. There would be “practices" where we learn together and from each other (did you know those actually exist? Moms meet all the time to learn how to properly breast feed or how to carry your baby in a carrier!), and definitely lots of hard work and communication. I mean, it sounds ideal....personally, I feel like I’m on a team like that already for about 90% of the time. My circle of friends/community is made up of just about all moms or mother-figures in one way or another and we really do uplift and love and support and walk beside each other in this thing called motherhood. Some days I Marco Polo my experienced mom friends (Hey, Jen!) crying and asking if a certain behavior from my 7 year old is normal and how to best handle it from a Godly mom perspective. Some days I’m on my soap box making youtube videos about how I homeschool in the summer and “nail” it! (And by nailing, I mean...we do it on the days we aren’t busy and everyone cooperates for about 30 minutes and then we eat lunch and nap.) The cool thing is that I have the freedom to go to my friends and ask questions, cry, vent, brag...whatever...and they listen and offer advice or congrats depending on what I’m sharing. The other day one of my best friends (Hey Katie!) couldn’t get her little baby into the doctor’s office at a decent time and seeing her distress (posted faithfully on FB so we can all keep up with her busy life) several of us from the same bestie group commented asking question, offering prayers, etc....keep in mind we also share a group text and group Marco Polo that we use more than we probably should considering our daily tasks..........anyway, the point is that we all dropped what we were doing to read through a FB post and comment, even though we could have waited for a text or MP explaining personally. There’s something to be said about taking immediate action when a fellow mom is in the trenches. TAKE THAT GIRL A COFFEE! COMMENT ON HER FACEBOOK POST!
Ok, so take a second and picture the most encouraging mom friend you have. (Dog moms count! We have a dog mama in our group too...Hi Emily!) What is it about her that’s encouraging? Making time for you? Praying for you? Building you up when you feel down? Maybe she makes you cool playlists to listen to in the car? Ok, I’ve got my person. Actually, like 7 came to mind....either way, my person(s) listen to me when I’m hurting/frustrated/doubting my mom skills. My job is to take their examples and pour that into someone else...as many “someone else’s” as God places in front of me.
I really don’t mean to mom-shame the mom-shamer here, I just want to throw it out there.....when you see a hurting mom what she needs more than anything is encouragment. I’ve been at the airport before with all 3 of my kids and I’m over here trying to get my diaper bag back from the security people because they have to check ALL of the sippy cups, while Sam is trying to unload everything from the conveyor belt....and the kids are just going wild....crying, laughing hysterically at a metal fan, having a blowout, unpacking every single hot wheels car from his luggage....when a woman approached me gently and said “I just want you to know you’re doing a wonderful job and your children are adorable.” I don’t even know what came out of my mouth...I was SO speechless. Do you know how fast my attitude shifted after that? If you see a mom at the grocery store and her little one is having a melt down...at the most you could stop and pray for her and at the very least you could smile at her or offer an encouraging word. If all moms made this one simple change in how we view/interact with each other....well.....
Being in the realm of motherhood is such a blessing...if you aren’t grabbing it by the horns and taking full advantage of the sisterhood it offers...you’re really missing out! I mean, who else can you go to dinner with and have drinks, appetizers, full size entrees, AND multiple desserts with? Here are a few of the mom’s from my tribe...I love them all so dearly and wouldn’t be the woman or mother I am today without them!
my mama + my tiniest babe
work bestie (she worked with the sign too! Now we are both SAHM's)
Gospel community girls!
more community girls!
my mama + more community girls + the ones who made me a mama!
all my sister in laws + my mother in law!
my lifelong best friend (aka...dog mama to Bonyek!)