Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Mom, Busy Mom with littles and Seasoned Mom....

There is nothing a mom, deep in the trenches of parenthood, wants to hear less than, “It goes so fast”.
Of course it goes fast, we are so sleep deprived we have no idea what's going on must days. Must days we are just going through the motions in a yoga-pants-wearing-zombie-like state. 
But, the truth is, that’s not even close to what we want to hear. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear anything. When someone tells me "you'll miss these days, they will go so fast", I want to shake them and say, “TELL ME!! It gets better. For the love of everything holy it gets better right? RIGHT??
But, I’ve realized that every mom has to come to her own realizations about how fabulous parenthood is. How blessed she is. How amazing raising kids is. Because even when it sucks, it really is amazing. But, every mom has to realize this…
On. Her. Own.
Because, I have realized, that there is nothing...NOTHING I could say, or anyone else could say that has enough power to teach the lessons that every mother needs to learn by just going through it.
So, I’m willing myself to be that old lady that remembers with a clear perspective. And, remembers that while it was oh so beautiful, it was also oh so damn hard.
Tell me, empty nesters, to look forward, but don’t tell me how to do it.
I might just be that mom that stares into the eyes of a more experienced mom begging her to say something encouraging when my 2 year old is screaming in the parking lot because I didn’t let him buckle himself in. Tell me with encouragement, or tell me with a hug. I’m fine with either.
Maybe, as an empty nester, it’s hard to know what to do. Because the moms with little kids? Well, we can be sensitive. VERY. Shit I'm in tears just typing this blog. It may be because I'm so damn sleep deprived or that this is real raw emotions. 
So, here’s my advice to those well-meaning “experienced” moms that just want to shake me when they see me frazzled in the grocery store, not exactly appreciating every moment.
Say Nothing. While I know it seems like not much help to say nothing, sometimes that is just best. I know there are days where if anyone had said something even sweet, light-hearted, or joking to me on one of those I-want-to-run-away-and-live-on-a-deserted-island-and-have-a-volleyball-for-a-best-friend days, I might have not been so nice back. Instead, a kind smile, a nod, or even some sympathetic eyes can go a LONG way to healing a mama’s heart in a bad moment.
You’re Doing an Awesome Job. Every parent is getting something right. Promise. Trust that the mom who looks like her child is straight up lacking in discipline is probably doing a hundred things right at home that you can’t see. Instead of advice, simply tell her she’s doing a great job.
It Gets Easier. Now, this one, you have to tread lightly because…well, hormones. And, sleep deprivation. And, two year olds. But, letting a mom know that it will get better, without elaborating too much, can keep that mama from losing it. Say something simple like, “Oh sweetie, I know how hard it is. I’ve been there. But, just keep doing what you’re doing. I promise it gets easier.” It will be really tempting to throw in there that “enjoy every moment” sentiment too, but don’t. Just give her a light at the end of the tunnel and leave that happiness and hope lingering in the air.
Can I help? Most moms will probably decline this sweet offer, and that’s OK. Don’t come off as the creepy person that’s going to snatch the baby, though. Instead, offer to pay for her groceries, or push her cart out to her car, or maybe make faces at the screaming baby while she is checking out to make that kid be quiet. Even if she says no, an offer of help can go a LONG way. 
Share solidarity. I would love it, if just once, an older lady would put her hand over her heart and say, “There was this one time…” and share a story about their own rotten kids and the time they almost lost it in the grocery store. Don’t go into a 20 minute monologue. Nobody has time for that. But, instead, share a funny story about the day your kid shattered a giant jar of pickles in the checkout line or the time you lost your kid in Target. Even if that mom looks like a deer caught in the headlights, because you’re sharing your own bad day, you will make that mom feel better about whatever she might be going through.
You, my dear, experienced empty nester moms, you might be the only adult interaction that busy mom has that day. Use it wisely. And, as a busy mom myself, I promise I’ll try to be a little less sensitive, too. I said try, I can't promise much with the amount of sleep deprivation I'm living through currently.

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