Friday, September 05, 2014

What Mom's Really Need

I was at Target the other day, when I saw a new mom. Now, when you look at someone in a store, you can't tell how many kids they've got. This could be their third and the other two are at home with dad. But this mom, I could tell.

Wanna know how?

She had a new baby in an enormous stroller with the carseat inside, with a matching baby bag, that she had clearly packed with enough stuff to see this kid through High School.

All for a 15 minute trip to Target to buy carrots.

Was she afraid they wouldn't make it home? Like, ever? Nope. Just a new mom, terrified of being out of the house without some terribly necessary item.

And of course everything was matchy-matchy, because she's using all the brand-new super snaz gifts she got at her fancy baby shower.

I was like that with my first, too.  But by the time the seventh one was born, he was lucky if I remembered to shove a diaper and wipes at the same time (or either at all) into my purse before running out the door. A diaper bag didn't go anywhere unless we were spending the day there. And nothing was matchy-matchy. The best I could do was that everything was still intact. And even that might have been a little iffy.

What can I say? The standards changed.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Especially with our firstborn babies. We're still learning what to do, and we're so afraid that if we fuck up, the future therapy bills will be extraordinary.

The truth is that was the easy part. They eat, they sleep, the poop, and they snuggle. Largely in that order. It's really hard to screw that up, unless you're a complete asshole. Like the kind that ignore their baby all night, or something.

As they get older, the decisions get harder, and the answers are less clear cut. Do we wait a year before starting them in Kindergarten? Will they benefit from the structure of the classroom, or from more maturity?

Should we let her have a cell phone? Will she be responsible?

What do we do now that they've made a mistake? Do we treat it like a learning experience? Does he need gentle guidance or more serious consequences?

So, here's my thought: since the answers are less clear cut as they get older, maybe let's not judge each other too harshly. By all means, let's share our ideas and concerns, but more out of a way to make sure we moms have covered all the possible bases, and less like we know what's best for someone else's family, and someone else's kid.

Even if we do.

Because occasionally that happens, too. And since we don't get to make the decisions for that kid, the best thing we can do is make sure that we share our insights with honest concern.

Moms can be a judgy bunch. But for the most part, we judge ourselves harshly enough. So, how about instead of that, we make sure we show each other support instead? Honestly, yesterday when it felt like everything was going wrong, and someone on Facebook had told me that if I took Brennan out of Kindergarten, it would send him a terrible message about quitting, I felt completely emotionally drained. But one thing helped. Another mom brought me flowers. I can't tell you how much that small act of kindness meant to me.

Well, it meant a hell of a lot more to me that some judgey comment in the midst of trying to consider what the best thing for my kid was.

I think we moms need more of that.

Because what mom's really need, is encouragement. Let's Do it!


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  1. SO true! I can always tell if a person has more than one child (or no children) by their comments on my children's shoes. One or no kid "oh honey your shoes are on the wrong feet" two or more "good job dressing yourself!" I always say do what is right for YOUR family...and keep in mind, that may change over time!
    Stopping by from Top Mommy Blogs

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Prairie Wife!

      It's funny, those things are the difference between what I say to my kids, vs. what I say to other peoples. Granted, both would get a "Good job dressing yourself" but my kids would get the addes, "But try your shoes on the other feet, they'll be a lot more comfortable."

      And you're absolutely right. What is best for your family changes with time. And the more we can trust ourselves, the better off we'll be.


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