You’re a mom, the same as me. But beyond that, our lives probably look different on paper. You might work a high-powered job while your kids are in school. You might have been up all night with a colicky newborn or a heart-broken teenager. You might be single, married, or somewhere in between. Your kids might play outside in the afternoon, go to gymnastics, or go to day care. You get my point. We are very different.
But you’re a mom, the same as me. I bet your day included a lot of the same joys and frustrations as mine did. I bet we both worried about making the right decisions or the right nutritional choices or the right comeback to an argument. I bet that in some corner of your mind you worry almost constantly about the past and the future of those pieces of your heart. I bet you sometimes want to get your child a cage so you can just have a minute of sanity. I bet at some point during the day, most likely when they are finally asleep, the little people your children are turning into amaze you.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m not a perfect mom. And guess what, neither are you!
At some point, society put increasing pressure on us as parents. A thousand different options appeared for every aspect of life: school, sports, lessons, diet, sleep schedules, and so on. Experts tell us how crucial each particular way of doing things is to a child’s wellbeing, even when they contradict another point of view. Now, parents are expected to rush from one end of the city to the other to meet each child’s individual need or risk squandering their unique potential.
It starts before that child is even out of the womb! Every fifth person has a food you have to eat or music you have to take or a yoga pose you have to learn. Then you give birth and helpful friends give you 16 books on getting babies to sleep and each one of them demands a different system. From there you move on to types of pre-school, wait lists, and competitive Kindergarten debate team. Okay, I might have made that last one up!
Is it any wonder we end up doubting ourselves? Is it any wonder Mom-guilt run rampant? We physically and emotionally cannot do it all. There is no way to know for sure if you made a good decision or not. One thing I’ve learned from being a mom and interacting with other moms for all sorts of differing backgrounds … in the end, the part that matters most is that you made every decision with love and care. With all our second guessing and regardless of the outcome, love is the very best any of us can do.
Do you think you can cut yourself some slack? I hope so.
Here’s the harder part. Do you think you can do the same for the moms around you?
As long as there have been options, there have been advocates. Moms get passionate about what they believe is best. And this is GOOD. There is always room for dialogue about decisions and progress. Nobody benefits from a stagnant society where everyone agrees. But while we discuss, research, and disagree, can we remember that the woman on the other side is a mom, too? The woman on the other side fears, fights, and gives for her children, too. She worries like you do. She’s up at night. She’s pulling her hair out at dinnertime. She simultaneously can’t wait for them to grow up and wishes they’d stay little forever.
She is a mom, just like me, just like you.
I saw this video and thought it perfectly represented what I wanted to say with a little bit of humor and a lot of heart! While I doubt any of us will be squirting milk across a playground, I think the end will feel familiar. “No matter what our beliefs, we are parents first.”