Recently my good longtime blogging friend Heidi started a Facebook group called Mamas + Coffee and recently the topic of mom on mom judgement was brought up. We’ve all experienced it, we’ve all caught ourselves doing it, and we all know better! So today I thought I would talk about the importance of sisterhood in the mommy community and how “mommy shaming” has got to end. Now!
I’ve heard it all. In the mommy community I’ve had so much going against me, so much to be judged for. I’ve been a teen mom, a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooling mom, a crunchy granola mom. My journey has always been an unconventional one. I’ve heard the whispers. I’ve felt the glares sent my way by women who decided I was less than or wrong because of the path I have chosen to walk. I have felt defeated. I have felt guilt. I have questioned my choices time and time again.
It’s easy to get swallowed up in the negativity that the mommy world can create. It’s easy to look at a mother and tear her down because you aren’t feeling 100%. It’s easy to tell a mother she’s wrong because you don’t personally agree with her choices. It’s easy to be envious, it’s easy to be catty, it’s easy to throw sticks and stones. Sometimes we don’t do it intentionally, it just happens because our society conditions us to praise perfections and tear down flaws. Sometimes the need to feel accepted leaves us hanging another mom out to dry. Sometimes we are just wrapped up in our own messes and we can’t see that mother in need.
We’ve all been there. The house doesn’t get clean, the kids are a mess, you’ve skipped shampooing for the third day, you’re on your last thread of sanity, and you feel so defeated. Those are days we need just a little bit of forgiveness, a little slack to keep us going. Those are the moments when we realize how wrong taking the easy road is. We realize how much we need the encouragement, support, and love from other moms. We realize we need each other.
When I think about motherhood, I think about all of the women who have held a space for me, who have shown me true compassion, who have taught me patience. If it were not for those women I would not have the skills to be a mother myself. I needed their knowledge, I needed their honesty, I needed their guidance. These women came in all forms; teachers, family members, friends. They painted beautiful pictures of all the different paths I could take on my journey through motherhood. They helped me decide what kind of mom I wanted to be and for that I’ll be forever grateful. When one mother assaulted me ten more would come to my rescue and assure me that I was doing the best I could. You see ladies, we all need each other. We need the support and understanding that only a mother can give. We need all of the wisdom from the mothers who came before us. It takes a village, it really does. Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood; we are all bonded by our love of our children and the sacredness of our role in the family. No matter the path we take at the end of the day what matters is the end result. Are our children loved and well cared for? If you’re answer is yes then congratulations, you’re doing alright!
When I see that mom, the one who is pushing her shopping cart through the grocery store, a baby screaming, her hair and clothes a mess, I don’t look at her and see a mother who is less than. I see myself on those days where I’m falling apart. I see a sister in need and I send her all the positive energy and love that I can. I tell her she’s not alone. I hold a space for her.
As sisters we must walk along side one another, no matter what path we take. We shouldn’t try to “fix” each other, we should celebrate our differences and give unwavering support no matter what our personal preferences may be. We must learn that family, parenthood, and motherhood are not “one size fits all” and that just because it works for you doesn’t mean that it’s “right”. We must recognize the importance of respect and empathy. We’ve got to be kinder to each other, and ourselves. We’ve got to stop tearing each other apart.
The next time you see her, that frazzled mom in need of encouragement, be the one who steps up and tells her it’s going to be okay. Give her a hug, buy her a coffee, cheer her on, let her know that she is not alone. The next time you see her, don’t take the easy road.
And the next time you are her just remember,
Sister, it’s going to be okay.
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.” -Jill Churchill