By now, if you are a mom I am guessing you have seen the recent articles about what not to say to SAHM’s and the inspired equivalent piece, what not to say to working moms. In my Facebook feed I have seen all moms like and share “their” post with the comments, “amen!” “yes!” and “finally!” I am not surprised at all by the enthusiastic response these posts have received. The subsequent blog posts that have emerged also do not surprise me: What not to say to a single mom, what not to say to a mom with twins, what not to say to a mom with one kid. Why am I not surprised by the passionate responses?
I am not the least bit shocked because I have witnessed firsthand that unfortunately as moms, we so often hear unsupportive thoughts that we never, ever want or need to hear again. Unfortunately, as moms, in the absence of frequent, positive support, we passionately rally around the more “negative thoughts.” Okay, maybe not all moms feel this way, but I know that I do! Some days I am passionate about what not to say to me because I question my decision to stay home. Some days I am passionate about what not to say to me because I question my parenting. But most days, I am passionate about what not to say to me because I am putting every ounce of energy and every bit of my heart and soul into being the best mom that I can be and I just want to hear “GOOD JOB.”
Which got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to read a post about what to say to moms? I believe that behind all this passion about what not to say are some moms that are doing a great job and who just want to hear that; who just want unbiased support and understanding about how hard it can be to parent. At the end of the day, ALL moms, no matter what kind of mom you are -- SAHM, working mom, single mom, mom of boys, mom of girls, mom of quadruplets -- are working hard and we all need and deserve support and positive reinforcement. Parenting is hard. Period. So lets start supporting each other more by saying the following things to all moms.
1. You are doing a fantastic job. I don’t know one mom that wouldn’t LOVE to hear this. Because lets face it, who hasn’t ever felt like they were doing a crappy job? Who hasn’t felt that their mommy friends were better moms? I am pretty sure we have all been there and in those moments, especially those moments, we need to be told we are doing a great job. Even when we are struggling, we are showing up and doing our best and that deserves credit.
2. I admire you. I know I admire every mother I know -- each for different reasons. I learn so much from all the moms around me. Sure I am a little jealous too sometimes but in those moments I tell the mom how much I admire them. Again, who doesn’t need to hear that? You never know how much a compliment might help another person.
3. That is a great outfit, but um, you have handprints on you’re a*s and food in your hair. This is a must. If you forget to say all these other things please, just say this! As a mom of four boys I always have handprints on me in the worst places. Please tell me and save me from embarrassment.
4. It’s hard, isn’t it? Don’t you just want to run and hide some days? I know I have but I have been afraid to admit it. Motherhood can feel so lonely at times. When someone said this simple phrase to me, I finally breathed and felt understood and not alone. And when someone said this to me in line as we waited for coffee and I balanced two kids on my hips and felt two tugging loudly on my legs, I felt supported and not judged. It was a beautiful thing.
5. Here, let me help you. Yes, I confess I am not good at taking help but whenever someone offers to hold the door as I push a double stroller through with one more kid on my back and one holding my hand, I’m grateful. I often am too proud (foolish?) to ask for help, even when I need it, so when someone blatantly helps, it’s wonderful.
6. Do you need a friend, someone to listen, or perhaps a tissue? I clearly remember when I walked into a store frazzled beyond frazzled with tears in my eyes. I had fought with my husband and was trying to still keep calm with the kids and someone offered me a tissue. Did I want to tell this stranger how hard balancing everything was? No. But it was so nice to know that someone cared. It gave me strength to keep going.
7. I know you love your kids; I can see it in their smiles. Whenever someone reminds me my kids are happy, I feel that of all the things I am doing “wrong” at least I am doing something right. It is the greatest gift to point out to another mom how happy their kids are. Trust me.
8. We are all in this together. We have all had good days, bad days, totally terrific days and beyond horrific days. But that’s the point. We ALL have, no matter what kind of mom we classify ourselves to be. And if we all start saying the right stuff to each other, those bad days won’t feel so awful. And who wouldn’t love that?
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