Leave No Mom Behind

 

leave no mom behindThe military has had the “Leave no man behind” motto for generations. And you know what? I think they’re on to something.

We moms are in a special club – battling to keep our little ones safe, warring against the temptation to compare ourselves to our friends, or to the pretty moms we follow on blogs who seem to live such perfect lives. We fight daily for our children and our husbands in so many ways. At the end of the day, we have to wash bottles and pack lunches and do laundry and gird our loins for the next day.

Sisters, we need to leave no mom behind.

To that friend who is a brand-new, first-time mom, who in public is posting Instagram photos of her beautiful baby, but who is secretly afraid to tell people how overwhelmed, scared to death, and maybe depressed she really feels, look her in the eye and tell her it’s okay to be completely terrified. It’s okay to not be overflowing with joy all the time, considering she hasn’t slept more than 45 minutes at a time for the past three weeks. Tell her it’s okay that she can’t watch the news without crying, that she spends her nights worrying about how in the world she’ll ever keep this tiny child safe. Ask her point blank if she might be dealing with post-partum depression, and if she is, tell her it’s okay to tell her doctor. Be the one friend in her life who will make it safe for her to be vulnerable. While everybody else is gushing over this baby, be the friend who cares about HER.

To that mom who didn’t immediately bounce back to her pre-pregnancy weight, who thought she’d burn calories through breastfeeding and instead finds herself unable to fit into any of her clothes, who feels homely and tired-looking and so far from the perfection she sees in all those Pinterest fashion photos, tell her that she’s normal. And beautiful, and that life is about seasons, and then hand her a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine and tell her about your own struggle with your figure, or your complexion, or that hair that just won’t curl right. Laugh about how your feet no longer fit into any of your old shoes. Tell her she’s not the only one who is sometimes insecure.

To that friend who is a working mom, trying to juggle childcare and her boss’ requests and a schedule that is balanced so delicately that one tiny little change can make the whole thing come tumbling down, tell her that she can call you anytime she needs last-minute help with the kids. And then remind her of it again and again. Be that safety net for those awful days when she has nobody else to call. Tell her she’s doing a good job.

To that friend whose house is a wreck, and she’s still in her pajamas, and her kids are watching television instead of playing developmentally appropriate games, remind her that you have hard days too. And that your life doesn’t look like something you’d find on Pinterest. And that sometimes it’s okay to just survive. And that life can be messy, but it’s okay, because behind closed doors, everybody’s life is secretly messy.

To that friend who makes the off-hand comment that you have it all together, tell her the truth. That you, too, are going through something hard. That for every happy picture you post on Facebook, there is a secret struggle, a hard day, a worry or a need for prayers, or simply a messy car and expired milk sitting in your refrigerator waiting to be thrown out. That you cling to kind words like rare jewels, that you need the “me too” reassurances just like she does.

Let’s leave behind all those judgmental thoughts, those “I vaccinate” or “I don’t” debates, the breastfeeding wars, the does-she-work-or-stay-at-home pitying, the arguments over schooling preferences and sleeping preferences, the political divides, and anything else that separates us. Let’s put those aside and instead leave no mom behind.

This motherhood thing is the toughest thing we’ll ever do. It is filled with joy and laughter and unexpected delights, but it also requires grit and sleepless nights and copious amounts of caffeine and supportive girlfriends who can reassure us that we’re not the only ones.

Because “me too” are some of the most reassuring words we moms will ever hear.

Bethe
Bethe enjoys laughing at the parts of life that everybody experiences but nobody else will admit to (like setting her hair on fire at the Christmas Eve service at church). She works full-time as the creative director for a national non-profit, and in her spare time runs an Etsy shop featuring her graphic design work and modern quilts. She and her husband, Mr. Right, love to discover new restaurants, and they volunteer together, teaching English as a Second Language to refugees from around the world. She became mom to a big-eyed, giggly baby girl named Wrenn in the summer of 2013. For shameless baby pictures, you can follow her personal blog, Texas Lovely, or check her out on Instagram.

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