I’ve been at this mom thing for just a few short months. I’ve read a lot of articles on the Internet and heard more input than I really care to. My sisters have been at the job a lot longer. One taking it slow and steady with 4 kids under 12. The other going fast and furious with 4 under 4. The triplets tipped the scale for my family. We take pride in raising kids right and well. But when you have three thrown at you at once the truth is…some things just got to give. We learned where to slack from, where to let go and most importantly…we learned where not to come up short.
My mind was filled, as many first time moms are, with what I would NEVER do when I had a kid. However as you can imagine those thoughts have changed very quickly based on real life. This is some of what I have learned.
Never judge any mom ever.
This is for real. I did do this before. And even in the beginning with my baby. I handled things with my one baby pretty well. We got to most places on time, looking presentable and did well behavior wise. However based on my sisters and what I have learned thus far…the biggest lesson is you never freaking know the day anyone is having.
I remember the first time my family dropped the ball. My sister was visiting from Virginia and my other sister left her kids with us at my moms. I didn’t even have my baby yet. But the three of us had 8 kids to watch. 11, 9, 6, 3, 3 and 2, 2 and 2. It was nuts. And in the blink of an eye one was too close to the road and made a woman driving by slow to a stop for fear of hitting him…she scowled at us and had a few choice words…but she had no idea how full our hands were. How much we were just trying to let cousins who never see each other get a chance to play all together. She didn’t know we were trying to cook a dinner, that we were short one mom because she was trying to buy medicine for one of her babies and come back as quick as possible. She didn’t know that there were triplets in the mix…she didn’t know anything. But she was judging.
The first time I felt this way was about a month ago. My husband insisted we bring our two dogs to the “do it yourself” dog wash. It’s a 30 minute drive and a pain in the butt. I had worked that morning and was tired but decided to go because it needed to be done. My daughter was just beginning to show the signs of what would turn into terrible reflux. At this point we were still trying to manage it without a doctors help and by the time I got home, changed her and packed her up she was already drenched in drool and spit up. I packed extra outfits and we headed out. I grabbed a dish towel on the way to try to help with the puking because I was also trying not to trip over dogs, the car was running, we had to get there before the place closed and before my daughter was ready to eat again avoiding a meltdown in the car. When we got to the place and walked in I took a good look at us. Dogs too excited to behave. Two adults covered in dog hair and a baby in a dirty outfit playing with a dish towel that looked like it was three washes too late for the garbage.
I started really thinking about what we must look like to the outsider and realized.
This is everyone’s worst nightmare.
No one knew she was struggling so bad with reflux. No one knew the towel was clean. No one knew we drove 30 minutes in a small car resulting in everyone having SOME dog hair. No one knew any of this. But if they just saw us. They would think terrible things. I know I would.
But on the same note, I take too much to heart. Every glance or look I get, I feel the need to explain myself. When I’m at the grocery store and I run into a stranger who wants to say hi to my baby and she doesn’t smile I say “she needs a nap”. When they see her spit up clothes I explain how she JUST spit up. Or an old friend I haven’t seen in years, I explain how I just came from the gym (lies) or how it’s just been a “random” rough day. But I shouldn’t need to EXPLAIN anything…and I think half the time I don’t…I just feel the need to.
We as moms are programmed to want to be great. We want to be the best. And we have to let go of that. Think about your mom. Think about what you think of her and the job she did. You think there were moms who did it better? Sure. You think there were moms who did it worse? You bet. But I bet you wouldn’t trade yours for the world. And isn’t that the ultimate goal as a mom? To raise a baby who is happy, healthy and loves you unconditionally? So no matter how you get there or what it looks like…as long as YOU know your baby is happy and well taken care of…the rest fades away.
We have to learn that they don’t give out medals for parenthood. You don’t get a medal for the kid that cried the least, the one who advanced a grade, or the one who scored the most goals. They’re all the same…kids. Kids who just need to feel love and appreciation. So just as we need to stop glaring and judging other moms and learn to lift them up, we need to also stop taking every glare as a judgement and learn to take it as respect.
So with that said…I will now say this…
To the mom in the grocery store with three kids crying at once while you ignored them and kept shopping…I wasn’t judging you. I was wondering if you needed a hand and if you’re babies didn’t feel good. And I was respecting your resilience to get things done regardless of the distractions.
To the mom in target who had a baby covered in dirt. I was only thinking what a busy day you must of had and wanted to offer you my baby wipes in case you ran out. I think it’s awesome your munchkin clearly had fun outside today.
To the mom walking a stroller down my street while the baby just cried. My heart hurt for you. Are they sick? Do you need a break? Fresh air does always seem to help the most restless babies. Keep up the good work.
To the mom who looks all together dressed and ready. I applaud you for taking time for yourself. Everyone needs to.
To the mom who looks a mess in sweats trying to get her baby settled, I’m so sorry for the day you must be having.
To the mom who lets her young child ride their bike all the way around the block…I’ll bet you are creating a beautifully Independent child. And to the mom that keeps her young child riding circles in the driveway…I’ll bet you have wonderful peace of mind.
To the mom wearing her husbands shirt because it’s the only thing that still fits anymore, even though your baby is a year old….that’s what husbands are for…and if you’re
comfortable, your happier, making you a better mom.
To the mom letting her kid order Mountain Dew for lunch because you just can’t say no one more time. Who cares? The sugar rush means a sugar crash and hopefully you will get a nap.
To the mom insisting everything be organic. Good for you. Stick to your guns. Do what you feel is best.
To the mom who never breastfed, I’ll bet dad bonded better from the start.
To the mom breastfeeding her two year old. That’s some serious dedication. Way to go.
To the working mom, way to juggle…to the stay at home mom…that jobs no joke.
To the one texting on her phone while her kid says “watch me”….I’ll bet that’s the 23,986 time they said that today and this is the first time you didn’t look…and I’ll bet your actually googling “ways to make a tent out of blankets” for tonight’s movie night.
To the mom who missed the game…that must have been hard…and to the one that brought snack…that took planning and money.
To the mom who never calls the doctor…that takes confidence and to the one who always does…it must be a great peace of mind.
To the mom who lost her kid in the gorilla pit?!? You must feel terrible. Everything can happen so fast and now the world is looking at your worst mistake.
To the mom who lost their kid in the store…I hope we can all help you find them.
To the mom who lets her kid walk home from school so soon…way to go being strong and confident.
To the mom who picks her kid up until they graduate…way to be there every step.
To the mom who has a baby sleeping through the night at 8 weeks…nice job. Bet you feel rested? To the mom who still co sleeps with her 6, 4 and 2 year old…I’ll bet they love it.
To the mom who buys her kid the candy bar after the hissy fit…I wonder if they are having a really bad day and you just want to make it better?
To the mom who says no, no matter what kind of fit…I’m proud of you and I’m sure it’ll teach a good lesson.
No matter who, what, where…any kind of day your having. You’re a Mom doing the best you can at every turn.
And I want you to know, I’m not judging you, I’m admiring you and wondering if I can help if that’s possible. You are not alone.
We must all stand proud in the job we are ALL just trying to win an imaginary medal for. But who knows, maybe that medal will come in the form of a kid, who at whatever age just looks at you and says “I love you mom”…after all…doesn’t that mean that no matter HOW we did it…we DID it…and we did it RIGHT.
Picture: My daughter zoned out on t.v. so that mom can eat breakfast and go to the bathroom. To the mom that never lets her kid watch t.v….I don’t know how you do it, but props to you…for us…we watch.