I’m not great at keeping the refrigerator stocked.
I let more than a week go by without going to the store. I feed the kids the same oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and milk because they love it, and because it’s easy. On Saturday mornings, I let my husband prepare breakfast and I sleep in until just a little past eight.
There are many things I probably do wrong as a mom. I let my daughter roll down the hill tonight, in the pitch black on a property that I wasn’t too familiar with. She laughed the entire way down as she tumbled, and ran back up to me with leaves in her hair and the biggest grin on her face.
I’m probably most aware of my shortcomings when I’m at preschool drop-off, or at the playground. I’m the one coming into the classroom the second it starts and not a minute before. I’m wearing yoga pants with no intention of doing yoga, my hair hasn’t been washed in a week and my post-partum acne that I thought was a fluke one year ago is still hanging on.
But before she runs to see her friends, my girl leans her body into my legs and wraps her arms around me in a huge bear hug. Then I turn to the 19-month son on my hip. He grabs his face in my hands as if he’s holding the crown jewels, then squeezes my cheeks and rubs his nose against mine. These kids adore me, and I them. Isn’t that all that matters at the end of the day?
Wouldn’t it be so liberating if the answer to that question was, unequivocally, a resounding, “Yes”? How much gentler and kinder would we treat each other as moms, as women, as human beings, if we could see each other with the same beauty and admiration as our babies have when they look at us?
I saw a mom outside the preschool last week. She was walking alone, and walked right through about four cliques before she got to her car. She looked like me, wearing comfy clothes and oversized jackets and last night’s eyeliner. I wanted to run to her and hug her but I couldn’t. My son was taking his sweet time coming down the steps, and she was already halfway in the parking lot, her little girl in tow.
I finally got to my car, but before I drove away, I saw her. She was loading up her daughter in her car seat and laughing with her about some beautiful secret only they know.
I thought about how many times she’d walked in those doors, delivered her child to school, then walked out without saying a word to another adult. Why I hadn’t spoken to her yet. She was new, but weren’t we all at one point?
I think it’s time we start looking at one another in a different light. As moms, it can be so easy to get caught up in the rat race of competitiveness, even when we swear we’re going to be different and not fall prey to that petty trap. But we do, and we become so immersed in it it’s hard to see anything else.
My daughter was recently snubbed for a friend’s birthday. She switched classes last year and isn’t in the same class as this girl anymore, so every one of her old friends got a coveted invite, but my girl didn’t. Thankfully, she’s still three and blissfully naïve and had no idea about the oversight. Oh, but I did. Maybe it’s the fact that I binge-watched Pretty Little Lies last week, but the drama sent me reeling.
I was hurt, embarrassed, and more than a little ticked off. I didn’t tell anyone but my own mama, of course, but the jealousy raged in me like an ocean at midnight. Then you know what happened? The other mama messaged me on Facebook, telling me she handed the invites to her daughter’s teacher to pass out in class and totally forgot that my girl was in a different room. She was sincere, kind, and apologetic to a fault.
Nothing will belittle you like realizing that you’ve been mad at someone for no reason for too long. So let’s change our perspective a little.
We should raise each other up. Make sure you're courageous; be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.
— Serena Williams
Instead of judging you when you show up at preschool with your Lilly on, and your hair done just right, and not a smudge of makeup awry at 8:30 a.m,
I’ll appreciate the fact that you got up early and took the time to take care of yourself.
Instead of wondering if my house is clean enough to invite you over for a playdate,
I’ll remember that you’re just as harried and probably messy as me. You also love your kid just like I love mine, so come on over, girl.
Instead of immediately thinking that you have it out for me,
I’ll trust that your intentions are pure.
I’m looking at the best in you, mamas. The parts that your babies see when they hold your face mere inches from their own and breathe you in like you’re a field of daffodils on a warm spring morning. I’m holding onto you for support the way they grab your hand instinctively before entering a parking lot, or when a stranger approaches.
I see your beauty, and I’m in total awe of your grace. Do you see me?
You don't inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are. You inspire them by showing them how amazing they are.
— Robin Benincasa