An unasked-for, yet totally needed note to the young mamas out there:
We live our lives connected through pretty smiles and cute workout clothes. We wear leggings and drink our wine, or we work too many jobs to discuss soccer schedules and PTA meetings. Some of us have more children than we would have planned for, others find their arms empty for too long. But women: we are all mothers.
And pardon my language (if you're offended by such things), but even on the shitty days, you are doing a damn good job.
I decided when my kids are grown, I'm going to be that mama in the grocery store that tells the frazzled young mom that I've been there and they're doing a damn good job, just showing up day in and day out. There's no vacation from motherhood. I'll be the older mom offering you to go ahead of me in the check out line when I see your hands are full and your kids are melting down.
I'll be the mama that shouts out to you across Target when you have one kid refusing to leave while you're carrying your second like a football to high-tail it out of the store before it gets even more crazy. "You're a great mom!" I'll shout. Because she is and so are you and so am I. I'll tell the mama with the pile of kids what a blessing each of her kids are. That her hands and heart are full to the brim.
Mamas, it's time we sit back and realize something: our children are not accessories.
They are not stepping stones that we can use to get us from one place to another. They are not ladders we can climb to prove we are real, we are capable of being seen. We're all gloriously and painfully human. We all hurt. We all inflict and receive pain. We all are doing the best job we can. We all think everyone else has it all together. We don't.
Some moms go to the gym. Some moms are excellent room moms. Some moms work long, hard jobs for their kids. Some moms are losing it. Some moms feel entirely fulfilled by their children. Some women wish they were moms.
It's time we stop seeing each other for what we are not
: not baby wearing, not breastfeeding, not formula-feeding, not co-sleeping, not cry-it-out, not organic, not processed, not baby-lead weaning, not weaning at a year, not spanking, not gentle disciplining, not private school, not public school, not name brands, or vacations, or privilege, or grades or sports, or any other created thing we use to climb a ladder and beg it to tell us we are worth something.
It's time we see each other for what we are: humans.
Women entrusted with the care of other humans to nurture, love and protect and one day (all too soon), they'll leave. But they'll still be humans and that is always our job: to love other humans. So mama, you needn't cling to every last baby bootie, and small handprint as if it decried a death knell.
No, we are in the business of raising and seeing humans. That is all. When we erect walls and make this motherhood thing about how we can do it correctly
, we lose the ability to nurture because our children's behavior is what justifies. When we judge the workout mom when we're the hot mess, we fail to recognize her gifts that she is offering to her children.
And we never, ever know anyone else's full story.
We do not know what goes on in heads, hearts and behind doors.
So let's get about our work -- to love, cherish and protect our children. But let us hold them all loosely because they are humans after all, not some sort of machine that we input all the good and assume that only good will flow out of it. For we are all such a compilation of dark and light, and we do not even know our own hearts at their depth. Let us simply be about the business of seeing one another. That, I think, would be the most lovely of Mother's Day gifts.
So mamas, as you prepare for Mother's Day, and as it may bring much pain, hurt, confusion or just plain exhaustion -- know you're doing a damn good job. I'll yell that to you in Target when I see you.
And I'll buy your latte.
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