By Guest Blogger Aprille Donaldson, author of the blog Beautiful in His Time
I read a post on Scary Mommy the other day that basically said this:
We have become so quick to be offended about the things people say to us as moms (and we have been so verbal about it) that we have made it so other moms don’t feel they can risk talking to us.
It stepped on my toes.
But also made me feel like I’m making progress in being less offended.
I was thinking about this while driving yesterday afternoon – how the internet has a million and one posts about what we shouldn’t say to this kind of mom or that kind of mom. And I asked myself this question:
What does every mom – more than anything – need to hear?
My mind immediately drifted to the previous night when the manager of our local Chick-fil-A helped me carry my infant in his car seat back out to my car.
Sure – that’s just good business.
But what he said, without words, was this:
I see you.
I see that you are a mom. And that, no matter how you cut it, dress it up, or describe your role, it’s a tough job. Here’s something I can do to let you know that you are seen. You are recognized. You are affirmed.
We may never completely be able to put ourselves in the shoes of another mom whose life circumstances differ from ours. That can build walls and divide us. But underneath it all – all the opinions, all the lifestyle choices, all the controversial parenting decisions that we all have to make – we are women. We are people. We are human. And we all need to be told…
I see you.
I may not understand you. I may not agree with you. I may not like you or even know you.
But I see you.
We say it to the mom across the waiting room, the grocery store aisle, the park in those silent moment when our eyes meet and we exchange that look of solidarity. We say it when she posts the fifteen millionth photo of her baby on Facebook or Instagram and we share our likes and comments.
We are saying, “You are a mom, and that matters.”
She said it to me, my son’s therapist, when I was explaining our evening routine to her and how we have had to be stricter about it to work with my son’s medication. She gave me a side hug and words of encouragement.
She said it to me, the nurse that held doors and helped me navigate through the doctors office without running into walls and doors with the stroller.
She said it to me, the mother-in-law who offered to take the boy for a sleepover this weekend.
He said it to me – our assistant pastor, when he told me that they want to be there for us as special needs parents – whether it’s to rejoice with us in the good moments or cry with us in the bad ones.
He said it to me – my husband, all the mornings he sets coffee on the nightstand while I’m still struggling to wake up.
It’s not that we don’t need to be complemented in other ways. We do need to be told we are good moms – but the truth is, sometimes we are flubbing it up in big ways and the words sound more like a platitude. And yes, we need to feel pretty and attractive – but that won’t always be a truth either.
But we NEED to be seen. We need to be recognized. We need to not be invisible because many times invisible is just how we feel.
Moms, lets find ways to start showing other moms that we see them, rather than being so defensive that they don’t “get” us. We’re all in this together.
*This post was originally published as “What Every Mom Needs to be Told” here on Aprille’s blog.