When I first entered motherhood, I had zero idea of what to expect. I didn’t know that becoming a mother was going to blow me away and change me to my core, and I didn’t know that shortly after experiencing that, I was going to be entering the world of mommies, whether I liked it or not.
In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like high school. There’s cliques and groups, the cool girls and the outcasts. The losers and the overachievers. The choices you make in motherhood are equivalent to high school outfits. It’s a badge stamped across your forehead and either allows or denies you access to different circles of moms.This is of course is especially true for first time moms with small children, when the stupid crap matters more because we have no idea what will and won’t affect our children in the long run, so every decision we make feels so important.
Since becoming a mom, I’ve found that the people who are the hardest on me are other moms. But on the other, better side of that, I’ve found that the people who have lifted me up and supported me the most have been other moms. They’re the only ones who completely understand me.
When I’ve been in tears and overwhelmed, other moms have been the ones who stepped in and picked me back up, dusted me off and sent me back out there. So I wanted to share six different instances when other moms touched my heart greatly when I was struggling and taught me invaluable lessons I’ll never forget.
- The seasoned mom who cheered me on. As a newbie mom, I felt like I had crap figured out and I felt really passionate about it. I had a mom friend with older children than mine, and every single time we talked, she praised me and my parenting skills as I excitedly told her of my “parenting style”. She never once judged me, never once put me in my place, never once told me “oh just you wait”…she let me enjoy the phase of parenting that I was in. She made me feel so good and confident about myself as a new mother when I had only been in the game for a few months. I’ve since thanked her for her kindness and she said, “We all have to experience things on our own.” Touché!
- The mom with more kids than me that validated my struggle. I have a friend who has four children, who at one point had two year old twin toddlers and a baby (ie, much more on her plate than me). Yet she never rubbed that in my face when I complained about a long day with my two boys. She could’ve said “Try surviving with two toddlers AND a baby.” Instead she said things to me like “You really have your hands full, Jess”, and “I remember those days, they aren’t easy.” When I told her she could’ve totally called me out since I have it easier, she said no mom has it easy. She taught me that it’s important to acknowledge every mom’s struggles, whether they have one child or ten.
- The mom of all girls who patted me on the back. I’m a mom of only boys. I don’t really have any idea what it’s like to have girls, besides what I witness when around my friends with girls. All I know is that, with two little boys close in age, my main goals are keeping them from killing themselves and the destruction level as low as I can. My friend of all girls said to me recently, “You are so calm with them, I don’t know how you do it. I would never be able to leave my house, you’re a saint.” Obviously she was being complimentative and trying to lift my downtrodden spirits, but how nice of her to praise my efforts raising boys. Her life with girls isn’t easier, but she took a moment to give me a pat on the back dealing with something she doesn’t have direct experience with and without downplaying or minimizing it. I realized that day that it’s so important to give moms a pat on the back, even when and especially when, we can’t completely relate to their experience. Moms don’t get enough pats on the back anyway.
- The mom who bought me coffee when I was in tears. I was having one of those kinds of mornings and was in tears before 9AM from sleep deprivation and losing my cool with my toddler. My friend told me to check my email and in there I found a $5 gift certificate for Starbucks. I cried. I literally cried over that $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. She took care of me. She saw me struggling down on the ground and she took action. She didn’t act superior or give me advice on what I should do. She stopped to help pick me back up so we could continue the trek of motherhood together. I want to really see my mom friends and their good intentions, skip the passive judging and assumptions and just be there for them when they need a helping hand. Moms are always giving themselves away, it’s nice to be cared for every now and then.
- The hospital birthing mom who defended my homebirth. I feel like it says a lot about someone when they defend a choice or a lifestyle that isn’t their own. It’s not what they choose for themselves but they respect you nonetheless. It’s been very humbling when I’ve gone into a conversation with my guns drawn and pointed only to be showered with kindness and support. Only to be shown love and admiration. Thank you to those moms who have shown me it doesn’t have to be a competition or a debate. We can love each other no matter what choices we make.
- The mom who let me use her as my scapegoat: my mother. When I had my first son, I was determined to do everything different from my mom. How she ever lost her patience with me when I was a precious, innocent child I just didn’t understand. I told my mom of my parenting methods I was going to imploy. I told her I wasn’t going to do this and I wasn’t going to do that. I told her of the statistics of such parenting practices in a passive aggressive way, never actually calling her out for what I perceived to be her mothering flaws but letting her know nonetheless. She never said a negative thing back to me and only told me how proud she was of me for going about things in a different way. And now, every year that my son gets older, I understand my mother more and more. And I see what patience she actually did have. She did crafts with me and played dolls, sat through my tea parties and took me to the library and zoo. She defended me from every bully in the world and is the only person who has had my back ever since the day I was born. We may have our own opinions and views on some parenting aspects, but I can only hope to be that supportive and great of a mother to my two boys.