With a cart full of groceries and an open cashier on the horizon, your child unleashes a scream of epic proportions. Apologetic, you look around for a friendly face from other parents or an empathetic smile from a clerk, and you meet the sides of heads or the dreaded…dirty look.
Who are these people? Have they never dealt with a public tantrum? Where is the village it takes to raise these kids? Our only choice as parents in this scenario is to quietly work through the problem with the child, but how great would it be if a fellow mom gave a somber head nod, cosmic high five, or some indication that you are not alone?
Parents, we have got to hold each other up. In a world where mom guilt is born along with a child, we’ve got to create communities where moms do not feel alone in their parenting struggles. None of us are perfect, and none of us are raising perfect people.
If you see a fellow parent in the grips of a toddler tantrum, send over some good vibes. If your friend is crying out on social media for some mom support, by all means respond to her with a mom-fail story of your own or comforting words. If you see a teammate’s mom struggling to get her kid on the field to get the most out of her $100 enrollment fee for t-ball, send your child over to invite that sad kiddo on the field. In addition, if your friend or family member has a successful parenting day, set aside the jealousy for another day, and celebrate with her.
I remember when I was having a tough time nursing my firstborn. It was creating so much negativity between my son and me that I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Feeling like a failure as a mom already, I sought advice from girlfriends. One in particular made all the difference. She was a successful breast feeder, but she said, “If this is the only reason you're stressed, then cut out the stress. Try formula so the baby is happy, and try breastfeeding again only if it works for you.”
The weight she helped lift off my shoulders was epic. My son is now a thriving 11-year-old, and I learned a lot during that time. Because my fellow moms were so supportive, I learned to let things go that seemed forced. If they had mom-shamed me, if they had turned their backs, I would have felt so alone.
No matter what, do not leave your fellow moms hanging out to dry. Life is tough, and raising children is even tougher. Together we can bring up the next generation of amazing humans. Think about a time when you were held up by another parent. How can you step in and support your fellow parents out there? We are stronger together, and we should be here for each other.