Last week, I went shopping with my two-year-old daughter at a department store. I had a few gifts to pick out for an upcoming baby shower. My daughter had been great while shopping; she sat in the cart and excitedly talked to everyone she crossed paths with in the store. When we finished our shopping, I decided to put back some bath bombs, and things quickly went downhill from there.
My daughter had a huge meltdown over the “balls.” I tried to calm her, but she was becoming more upset and we were stuck in line. A very long line — I might add — which had even more “baaaaallls” on the checkout shelves (just my luck).
When my efforts to console her tantrum were failing, and I’m sure exhaustion and embarrassment rising on my face, two ladies stepped in. One talking to my daughter about the freaky bunny suit Minnie Mouse she was clawing for (I was obviously not taking that away from her too) and the other lady asking Lily questions and remarking on how she had a granddaughter named Lily too.
This got me thinking of how nice and loving some strangers can be. They don’t know us or our stories, but they know grace and love — just what mamas really need. And I really needed both during that moment.
This was so refreshing because more often than not, it seems we’re hit with eye rolls and judgment while out with our kids. Often in the worst of times too, like when we’re running on little sleep and fumes, our anxiety is high, or one of us is sick and we’re just trying to make it out of the grocery store without experiencing the 100th meltdown of the day.
Oh, and let’s not forget about all the online haters and mom shaming (boob vs. bottle, that kid never wears a jacket, organic vs. fast food). As fast as we can type a Facebook post or comment, I believe we can also forget how hard parenting really is and how each family and culture is so different.
These encounters had me thinking about what moms really need and don’t need. And guess what? We don’t need a side stink stare or eye roll in the grocery store. We need a “I’ve been there too” and grace. It’s easy; just give us a simple smile. But if that’s too hard, just look away and keep to yourselves! We’re secretly hoping no one will notice us and our three-day-old hairdo anyway.
We don’t need backhanded comments from other generations about how we are raising our kids and if we did “xyz” like “blah blah blah” our children wouldn’t be the way they are. Instead, we need your helpful guidance and support. Offer a mom a break; let her take a nap or go out for an hour by herself.
We don’t need other parents to compare their child to ours and “one up” us. We need parent and mom friends with whom we can be real, who admit mistakes and share wishes about being able to pee without an audience.
I’m sure there’s a lot more that I could name that moms don’t need. But, I think we should focus on what moms really need.
We need support, love, and grace. We need mom friends. We need alone time. We need to unwind and take part in self-care. We need to stop being shamed for every decision we make by family, friends, and even the internet. We are doing our best. Truly, we are. But if you’re concerned, just ask us what we need.
Your support means more to us than you will ever know and I don’t know a parent who has too much support, do you?