This will be my third mother’s day as a mom, so clearly I am an expert on all things mother. I wish I could say it’s gotten easier, I wish I could say that the toddler tantrums and baby boy screams have molded me into a better version of me and while I’m sure they have, It’s also really hard. It’s really exhausting. Its hands on all the time and its weary work. It’s important, it’s a blessing, its godly work, but if at the end of the day you are bone dry and just really need a large glass of wine (yes I said wine) then you are not alone. If sometimes you snap instead of love and if sometimes you curse under your breath when you’ve been trying to get out the door for over an hour and the toddler is roaming the halls like a lost puppy… you are not alone. If you wonder what will get you through tomorrow and pray for friendships in the quiet hours of the night… you are not alone. If you feel a little lost in your own shoes, a little defeated by 5pm, or a little desperate by 7pm then you are not alone. If you cry for no reason, yell at your husband because of something completely ridiculous, or stare in envy at women whose bodies have not held babies you are not alone.
Isn’t that all we want to know sometimes, mother or not? Isn’t it true that life seems manageable when you feel like someone else is fighting with you, alongside you, or has been in the ring ahead of you? Don’t we breathe just a small sigh of relief when we know that we are not alone? So perhaps the greatest thing I have learned in my three tiny years of mother’s day is that we must champion each other, especially in the baby years, we must not judge for differing ways or hold strong to our opinions on the best sleep methods. No. The greatest thing we can do for any mother is to shut our mouth, ask how they are, and then care. Don’t care because you have the same way of looking at things, don’t care because you think you will get points in heaven, care because you know it will make an impact. Care because we are called to love and there’s nothing better than going from feeling alone to feeling cheered on.
My mom once told me that “unsolicited advice is veiled criticism” and it stuck. Mostly because I am a loud mouth and have a really hard time just listening. My mom listens first and only offers opinions when asked. My mom has a beauty and grace that just skipped right over me. My mom has been the single greatest influence in my life and I really believe part of the reason is because she listened first and offered advice later. She loved first and never demanded anything in return. My mom has cheered me on whether I’m on stages or in labor rooms. From newborn cries to post-partum meltdowns she has always lent her applause to cheer me on. Her love knows no bounds and it’s because she knows the greatest thing she can do is care.
What if we all did the same thing? What if we got off our mommy blogs (yes I see the irony in this sentence) and our soap boxes and just loved the hurting mom around us? What if we loved before we asked whether they do organic or regular food? What if we loved whether they let their kids cry it out or rocked them to sleep? What if the only real stand we took was the stand to love NO matter the method.
I realized early on that most baby decisions were not moral decisions but rather personal preference. I realized half of it was just deciding what was best for your family. With my first by the text book baby I had no mercy. I knew the best method and weary moms just weren’t doing it right (doesn’t God always humble the proud) then after having my son who doesn’t care whatsoever what “method” I use for sleep and still screams at night (at almost ten months.. pray for me) I realized I didn’t want advice I wanted love. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone and I really wanted to know it would get better. I wanted to know I was doing an ok job even if the results weren’t the same as my by the book baby. I wanted to know I could do it.
So tired mom, you are not alone. You are doing an amazing job and your kids will one day sleep through the night without assistance (or so I’m told). If you can’t afford organic, can’t stand not to rock them, or are just doing the best you can THAT IS OK. God says,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
You got this.
(Me and my babes… you knew it was coming… the one on the right is deceptively cute)