A few weeks ago, I was at the play place at Hulen mall with my little guy, Riley, who is two, and my four month old. It had been one of those mornings, and I felt EXTREMELY overwhelmed. Riley had JUST gotten over the stomach bug, so he was desperate for some play time with other kiddos and to get OUT of the house. He was SO hyper and busy that morning. So despite my fussy four month old, and knowing that I would have to breastfeed in public (which is an ongoing battle with this stubborn girl), I loaded up the car to head to the mall’s play place. I anticipated the fussiness from the baby and even the battle to get her to breastfeed in public, but what I did not anticipate was a horrible attitude from my two year old.
He was so excited when we first got there and even took turns sliding with a new friend. However, 30 minutes later, he decided he no longer wanted to play with the other kids, his way was best, and he was willing to push whomever he needed to so he could slide and play on “his” favorite cricket. (Seriously, the cricket just sits there, but it mesmerizes him.) I was traumatized, ya’ll. This is NOT usually my kid, but he was the obvious bully that day. (Just admitting that makes me nauseous.) So, while wrestling the baby to breastfeed, I tried my best to keep my sanity and discipline appropriately, but it was HARD. Eventually (after three offenses), I ended up putting the now screaming baby down in the car seat for a few minutes, while I disciplined my son and then left. As I was leaving, I noticed the stares, heard the whispers, and felt the shame.
I wanted to yell “HEY, I’m on YOUR TEAM!! I’m doing the best I can! My son is NEVER like this, and he really does love your kid. He is just getting over being sick, and I’m so sorry. My baby never cries; truthfully, she doesn’t. She just hates to breastfeed in public, and she’s hungry. But I’m a good mom, too. This BAD DAY does not define me, and I’m NOT your competition. I’m ON YOUR TEAM!!”
Ya’ll, why do we compare? Motherhood is a TEAM effort, and we need our team! There are SO many things for moms to worry about and plan for. We do NOT need the added worry of other moms judging us or competing against us. We need to LOVE other moms, ya’ll. They experience what we go through daily and truly know the deep desires of our heart more than anyone else. We are all created in God’s image for a beautiful purpose (Ephesians 2:10). We are EXACTLY what our child needs, and we can rest in that promise. The God of the universe chose YOU for your child, so don’t give up now, dear momma (Isaiah 45:9-10)! You got this!
At the mall that day, I would have loved for someone to have reached out. I don’t expect you to discipline my kid, but you could ask to hold my baby or even lend an encouraging word. Something like “Momma, we ALL have those days. You’re doing a great job.” Because the reality is: we do ALL have those days when we feel like we are a complete mess and a total failure at motherhood. But, we’re not! God has placed us here and given us these blessings (our littles) because He knows we are totally equipped for the job and He has a beautiful plan for you (yes, YOU sweet momma). While I was hurt that day at the mall, I was also EXTREMELY convicted because how many times have helped another mom? Not offered an encouraging word? Not stopped those AWFUL, judgmental thoughts from going any further? We have to take those thoughts captive. We are NOT better than “that momma.” We do NOT have this mothering thing figured out. We could NOT parent “that momma’s” kids any better.
So, whether you are “that momma” (like I was at the mall that day), or the momma that has it all together (for today), go in grace. Walk in love. Reach out to others, and love them where they are.
You are a wonderful mommy, & both children love you so much. This is a great page you have written. God has blessed you with so many talents. Motherhood has always been instilled in you. You are a people person–loving & caring. God could see into your future, before you could have any idea. So thankful God is always with you, & leads you in all things. I love you to the moon & back & back again. Momma
Thanks mom. Love you too!
Thank you Courtney!
[…] same: Even if you don’t share a person’s crazy, you have your own. Remember, being on team motherhood means the ability to say “Good for her, not for […]
THIS!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!
I first want to say, I absolutely understand this. I have two toddlers and my oldest is testingv the limits while out. I understand being overwhelmed, at wits end, and having to juggle two little ones with others looking on. But while you may be right about negative whispers, please consider that you may be wrong. As a society we have been taught not to butt in. We aren’t supposed to draw attention or it may be further embarrassment. Some of those whispers to other adults may have been “Poor thing, what a hard day.” Or a “oh man, I’ve been there.”
Once I was getting stares from a nearby table in a restaurant as I struggled to publicly (under a blanket) feed my newborn. I was so embarrassed and to top things off one of the elderly ladies came marching towards me. .. to tell me it was a beautiful thing I was doing. Sometimes our own emotions shift our perceptions of what is actually happening.
You are doing great. Keep it up!