May 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
I know I’m supposed to write about how amazing it is, and how wonderful of an experience being a parent is. I should write about how much love I feel for my kiddos and how they make me feel complete. I should write about how my life now has purpose and that I’d be wandering in the desert without them.
But lets be honest. Before kids, my life did not revolve around poop, snacks, barf, and hiding in my closet to eat chocolate without having to share. Don’t misunderstand me – my kids are great and I love them. But my life did not turn into butterflies and rainbows the moment they were born. In fact, my life went from being focused on myself and my husband to focusing on a tiny boy who pooped and barfed everywhere. My husband still laughingly tells the story of our first son shooting poop into the foot of his sleeper – and missing his diaper entirely. Or my husband changing the diaper of our tiny little newborn, and getting poop shot all over him.
Having a baby doesn’t suddenly turn you into an angelic mother with a glowing aura around you. In fact, having a baby brings out the worst in you. It likely brings out the best as well, but what you see is the worst. And then you have another baby. And another baby. And another baby. And you see a lot of “worst”. I’ve never been known for my patience. And then I added three children in 4 ½ years. While I have learned a lot about patience and mine has gotten much better, I doubt it’s evident to most people that I have grown in that area.
Being a parent stretches you in the hardest ways possible. Several days ago, we had “one of those days” at my house. By dinnertime, my oldest son, age six, was giving me major attitude, and I didn’t deal with it properly. I should have sent him to his room to remove one of us from the situation. But since I didn’t, everything that came out of my mouth, came out in “yell”. My husband was upstairs showering, and could hear everything I was saying. And he could also hear the neighbours, who were sitting on their back porch, talking about me. So not only was I being stretched to be a better me (which I obviously failed at), but now I’m being stretched to put aside what people may say. Was I in the right to be yelling at my children? Absolutely not. But were they in the right to talk about me, having no concept of the situation? Absolutely not.
I feel like as parents, specifically as mothers, our job is to support one another. If you hear a mother yelling non-stop at her children, she probably needs a five minute breather – not a lecture on how to “chill out”. That mother is probably on the verge of bursting into tears, and could probably use a “Hey, you’re doing a great job – we all have those days”, rather than pointing out the horrible wrongs she is committing. That mom could probably use a coffee, a big fat chocolate bar, and a good cry. Rarely would that mom need someone pointing out how she should “chill out”. In that situation, my husband asked me “Did you realize you had gotten to the point that everything was coming out in ‘yell’?” And I genuinely had not even realized it. My husband gently reminded me that in that situation, I should have sent my son to his room to remove him from the situation.
I believe as parents, we are far too quick to judge one another. We are too quick to point out each others wrongdoings and too slow to help pick up the pieces. There’s the working moms club, and the stay at home moms club, and those two clubs judge one another. Then there’s the public/private/homeschool mom clubs, who also judge one another. There are helicopter moms vs hands off moms. There are controlling moms and there are not present moms. There are moms of big kids and moms of little kids. And all these moms judge one another. Rarely do they help one another.
Where did the village go? The saying is, “it takes a village to raise a child”. And I believe that. But in today’s society, moms are left on their own. Rarely does the village stand with the mom to help her through the challenges of parenting. Instead, the village judges the mom. And through that judgment, the mother’s job becomes more difficult. Not only is she struggling daily to do the right thing where her children are concerned, but she’s also struggling with the knowledge that every decision she makes for those children will be scrutinized by people who do not care enough to lift a finger and help.
Let’s create a village. Let’s stand with one another as mothers, and help one another through the struggles and challenges that we all face. Let’s watch one another with care and thoughtfulness, rather than judgment and disdain. The village starts with you. Be the village for those around you.