The other day, I was at the gym and a woman began speaking to me about how her 2-year-old daughter recently wrote all over her bedroom walls. "It was so out of character," she said, "She has never done anything like this before and has never gotten into trouble."
I am a mother of two children under 4 and I simply don't buy it. Furthermore, I don't think you are an amazing mother just for saying it. In fact, It makes you look foolish.
I pride myself on being a good mom and having great kids, but they are in "time-out" every single day and being disciplined constantly. Kids have to make mistakes in order to learn from them.
This conversation brought me back to the ongoing societal struggle to be the "perfect" mom. What I've learned is there is no such thing. Just because some of us go on "Pinterest' (me included) to find creative indoor crafting activities, make organic baby food from scratch, or never turn on the dreaded television doesn't mean you are the best mom ever.
On Facebook and other social media outlets, moms are always bashing each other for rear facing their kids too early or not breast feeding and it is so silly. I have learned to give my opinion when asked or when I think it would really benefit my friend, other than that I keep to myself.
Making the decision to go on childcare leave 2 1/2 years ago was not easy for me. I have always been a devoted teacher and valued my job. But unfortunately, the price of school, daycare/nanny for two kids and everything else just didn't add up. My kids are only young once and I am taking this time to help them grow into happy and kind individuals. I also know many moms who would love to stay home with their kids and I have the luxury of doing this, (I also tutor full time and work for my father's company) but it is not as easy as it looks and the "stay-at-home mom" stigma needs to go away.
I have worked full time with a child and been at home and BOTH options are extremely hard. Getting up early, making breakfast, going to work and skypeing with your child if you have a chance, coming home and making dinner, bath time, bed time ...repeat is no easy thing to do! Waking up and not having a free moment to think as a stay-at-home mom is just as hard. You are a mom, a teacher, a chef, and a million other jobs in one. My alone time consists of going to the gym which I can only do for an hour, because than I start to feel the "mommy guilt" about my son being in the daycare for too long.
I recently went to Florida on a trip with my kids and after the plane landed we had to wait another 25 minutes for another plane to be de-iced. Everyone was edgy and frustrated at that point. My 1 1/2 year old son decided it was time to be hyper and yell (with delight). In order to keep him distracted, my cousin started asking him, "what does a duck say? What does an elephant say?" etc. Well, some jerk to my right chimes in, "what does a mute say?" Of course I told him to buy a shirt, because he was wearing an Adidas outfit unzipped to his mid-chest with no shirt under it in the dead of winter. I am not saying that is what you should do or that I was right in my approach, but you want to know the best part? Not one person laughed at him and than a mom turned around and looked at me and said loudly so the man could hear, "we are all uptight and want to get off of this plane right now, but we cant act out and the babies can..your son is just expressing how we all are feeling." In that moment I felt "mommy support." This was a moment when one mom gave another mom a moment of clarity and made it all feel better.
Aren't our jobs as moms to make it all okay? Fellow mothers- I say we all come together and make it all better. If you are on line for a coffee and you see a mom with a baby who is crying, try to make her child laugh. If you see a mom is having trouble opening the door to a store while pushing a stroller, open the door for her. If your out to dinner and hear a child yelling or giving their mom a hard time, look up and give her a knowing smile. These little "mommy acts" can go a long way. Let's start today!