Tonight as I awaited in the drive thru at my favorite Saturday restaurant, I watched a mom load her child into the car and then get in the car herself. As I was still waiting, I saw her pull up to another empty parking space and get out of her car to buckle her child in her car seat. I said to myself out loud “Been there. You got this momma.” Far too often, us moms feel like we are in this gladiator fight where the best mom wins. Each of us has our own challenges to our mommy-hood and it almost feels like it is the last great woman standing. In that moment, I wanted to channel my inner Katniss and kiss my fingers and raise them to the sky in honor of that defeated mom.
Why must we tear each other down as mothers?
I recently went to an event where another mom felt the need to talk about how awesome she was, how her kid was better than mine and to be honest how much better her life was than mine. Granted, I dropped the “I have lost a child” bomb on her that sometimes makes it awkward, but I didn’t need my nose rubbed in how awesome her life was. Despite our loss, we have each other and that still makes for a pretty awesome life. My kid is awesome and my gladiator battle tells me I am just as awesome as she is.
This is not the hunger games of mothering! It’s not the best mom wins. We cultivate a group of mom friends and talk through our battles with each other for help on how to handle it another way. We create opportunities for each other to learn and uplift each other in our darkest moments. When our child is melting down and we don’t know what to do that mom friend is there to help us try another way.
What happens when you don’t have mom friends or your life experiences alienate other moms from you?
It can get pretty lonely on that side. I will say I was there at one time. Only because I was afraid to let others in. After losing Jakob, I encountered a few different types: the ones that treat you like you have the plague, the ones that act weird around you because they are afraid they are going to crack you in half like an egg and the ones that let you be you. The latter was the hardest to find.
This honestly left me feeling like I was in the Hunger Games of being a mom. All the other moms were out there judging me, waiting for me to break and keeping their distance because it made them appear weak. Ready to pounce on my weakness, place themselves ahead of me and say “Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to handle that!”
But how do you handle that?
I can’t say that I have the right answer, but what I do for me works for me. The serenity prayer works wonders and I have learned to accept the things I cannot change. I cannot change that we lost him but I can change how I live my life. I can change how I approach others and look at the world with loving eyes. Those other moms have no clue what it is like to walk a day in my shoes and I wouldn’t wish it on them to walk in my shoes.
I am the best mom that I can be but every now and then I am going to make a mistake. I think if we spent more time cheering each other on through our mistakes and encouraging each other to try again and that we’ve got this we all would benefit and learn a new way to try it the next time. So to the momma who forgot to buckle her kid in, I’ve got you, I’ve been there.
Breath, you’ve got this. Being a momma is hard. You will get it the next time!