In my very short time being a mother I have learned a myriad of things, one of the main things? We mothers need one another. I have been able to use the knowledge of so many beautiful women to help me with pregnancy, labor, infants, nursing, sleeping, teething, basically any and all parenting questions. I think when we encounter other parents we naturally want to be helpful. We want to give them support and laugh together about the challenges of parenthood. However, there is one phrase that I know I have used in the past, that now makes me cringe. That dreaded phrase, 'just wait until....'. Maybe you've experienced that phrase too, in the midst of a conversation about a cholicky infant and someone, in hopes of maybe making you feel better about your current situation says something like, 'oh just wait until they start teething, it's horrible then.' Or 'just wait until they start tantruming, that's the worst.'
I realize now that saying that, even if it's meant to help the parent a bit, actually can make the situation worse. If a new mom is venting about her lack of sleep, her fussy infant, or her mastitis and we insert the future challenges that may or may not come her way, it does not communicate support. Sometimes it even feels like we hope that they struggle like us. Almost as if we are wishing that our challenges are inflicted on others. Why do we do this? I remember being told horrible things about parenting that were in my future when venting about my daily challenges. It did not help my current situation. What I needed was someone to validate my struggle and support me in my worries. That validation and support is what most moms need. We are so concerned about the minute by minute challenges that accompany children, that we do not need yet ANOTHER thing to worry about in our distant future. Is teething challenging? Yes. Are tantrums overwhelming and often embarrassing? Yes. Does a mom venting about her sassy daughter or over active son need to hear about that? No. Offering support to our fellow moms is what the Mom Revolution is all about. That support may come in changing our language and the way we approach moms who reach out for help. I have been very fortunate to have so many women support me in my own shortcomings and doubts as a mother.
Recently I had a very challenging day, of a napping toddler and a very fussy baby who was set on waking that toddler up. In my exhaustion and frustration I just started crying. Not knowing the best way to soothe a baby when I myself felt overwhelmed, I reached out to a dear friend who has children several years older than my own. She simply reminded me that I was in a moment of struggle. She supported me, prayed for me, encouraged me, and reminded me that I CAN do this motherhood thing. Her words were like salve to my very raw emotions as a mother trying to learn how to have two kids. The transition has been very challenging for me, and her love and belief in my abilities were exactly what I needed. Imagine if she has said, 'just wait until they are in jr high...'
So let's change that language, dear mothers. Let's create a safe place for one another that is only support and encouragement, uplifting words and empathy. We are fortunate to have one another to help us navigate motherhood and even, dare I say it, love and relish in the gift of motherhood. Just wait until we all start loving one another unconditionally, because that will actually be something wonderful to look forward to.
Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Karen Padilla. All Rights Reserved.