I’ve mentioned before how I was, essentially, the best parent I knew before I had a tiny person to parent. And then, on the flip side, how because of my own judgmentalism and unrealistic standards, I had a ton of insecurities about becoming a mom myself.
As these ideas have been rolling around in my head, Mother’s Day came and went. It was great, such a good first Mother’s Day for our little family.
But there was one sweet thing that kept happening all day that I wasn’t expecting at all.
All day, I got texts and Facebook posts and messages, mostly from women who are moms, wishing me a happy first Mother’s Day.
At first, that sounds relatively simple and normal and not all that significant. It was Mother’s Day. I am a mother. I like greetings. Happy Mother’s Day. Boom. Simple.
Except, it’s way more significant than that.
Mother’s Day was so sweet. It was a really sentimental, intimate and meaningful time between Stephen, Shep and me. And in my own heart, between me and G, it was something just so dear. So dear. And if you know me, I never say ‘dear’. That’s how uniquely special it was for me.
And it has come with a price. I’ve been honest about how we have somewhat of a crier (or screamer) and the adjustment into motherhood has not been at all what I thought it would be. Being a mom has been one of the best things that has happened in my life, hands down, but it’s also brought out so.much.junk. Pain. Insecurities. Frustrations. So while it’s been beautiful and sweet and has made me feel like I’m really walking in who I am made to be, it’s been hard.
And those women who texted and messaged me get it.
They get feeling like your heart is about to explode with the love you feel suddenly for this little baby and wanting to dig a hole and hide in it until that little baby can explain what they need or take care of themselves. They get feeling like you’re on top of the world and like your emotions are precariously held together by a thin, thin string. They get feeling like this is what you’re made for and like keeping your marriage and your relationships with friends in balance is literally impossible.
They get it.
And, their response?
To turn around, reach back for someone a few paces behind them and offer her a hand forward.
To stand next to someone and say, “Yes. I get it.”. To whatever they’re going through, to wherever they are in the process, to however they are muddling through it, simply reaching back for them and squeezing their hand.
These text messages and Facebook posts didn’t turn into conversations about camaraderie or anything more than the topic of the day. They didn’t need to. Because those women, some of them mamas, all of them daughters of mamas, get it.
They get needing someone, anyone, to turn back and lock eyes with you and, in some way, validate where you’re at and how you’re doing.
As I had been thinking about being judgmental, and how discouraging it can be to feel like it’s easier and way more natural to compare and evaluate our own and each other’s parenting, these hand squeezes on Mother’s Day felt especially significant.
Because we are doing it. We are getting it. We are seeing that we can be judgmental and mean to others and ourselves. We are understanding that it’s better for all of us if we decide to stand together rather than push each other down, clamoring for some unseen, unreal higher spot.
We are going through the hard beautiful things and stopping to help our sisters and brothers not stop while they’re in the middle. To encourage them the way we knew we needed to be encouraged.
To text them, because we know. Whatever they’re going through that we’ve once walked through ourselves. We know how important it is, how big it is, how painful it’s is and how proud we can feel to have gotten to this point- whatever point it may be. To that person, at that time, it feels big.
As it did to us when we were there.
So we’re not shaming or judging or comparing. We’re just nodding in agreement, reaching back and giving a hand forward or a firm squeeze.
And on Mother’s Day, all I could think was, “This is how to be.”