Dear Moms - I don't know how we do it

In the female world of constant comparisons, side glances, put downs, labels, cliques, and just straight up "catty-ness" I figured it was time we all could use a good dose of empathy.

You know, EMPATHY, the ability to put yourself in another person's shoes and really understand what life is like for her. To understand that just because she has been called, gifted, created, or in some cases, just thrown into doing life one way, it is not okay to put her down because of our own insecurities. 


Maybe life does look different in her home than it does in yours and that is okay. What works well for her family doesn't mean it has to work well for your family too.


I've heard that when our first-born children were given to us, we also got a big suitcase full of guilt to take home with us. Oh the mom guilt! Could have, should have, would have....but I didn't. And in those cases where someone else did what we wish we could have done, we throw out snide comments and catty remarks because it makes us feel better to justify why we are not like her or why we are better than her. You know what I am talking about:


  • She obviously has way more time on her hands than I do.
  • She obviously has a more supportive husband than me.
  • She obviously spends more money than me, certainly doesn't budget as well as me and probably doesn't have a clue how much it will cost to send her children to college. 
  • She obviously doesn't care as much about her children's health as I do because they don't eat gluten, organic, range-free, homegrown, my child will never eat anything out of a box, products.
  • She obviously doesn't do things the way I do them. 


Oh we are so critical of each other and I think that these thinking patterns are so self-destructive and it just breeds discontentment. Let's quit comparing, arguing, and gossiping about one another and put ourselves in another mom's shoes for a minute. 


Motherhood is tough. Let's just agree on that one!


To The Working Mom: 
I don't know how you do it. You get up while it is still dark to get yourself ready then get your children ready, fed, and out the door. Many of you drop off a little piece of your heart every day when you take your children to the childcare provider. You put in an 8-10 hour day, pick your children up, have to think about what to do for dinner, then homework, baths, bedtime, only to realize that bills still need to get paid, lunches need to be packed, laundry needs to be folded, and things still have to be done to get ready for the next day so you can do it all over again. You enjoy your job and you are so grateful to have it but it is really hard to balance your energy at home and at work and there are some days where you yearn to just be at home. You cringe when you overhear comments like "It must be nice to earn your own money and get out of the house." If they only knew how hard it was to do this working mom thing day after day and be loaded down with the guilt of "Am I doing this right?"

To the Stay at Home Mom: 
I don't know how you do it. You say goodbye to your husband each morning knowing that it will be hours before you see him or maybe even another adult again. Your days are full of changing diapers, making meals, cleaning up meals, doing chores, commanding nap times, story times, play dates, and always caring for the kids when they are sick. And speaking of sick days, yeah right! For the stay at home mom, it doesn't matter how bad you feel or how sick you are because there is no one else to watch your children but you. The days are so long and you have to constantly be on your A-game because these little people will not give you a moment of rest. You love the sound of the garage door opening and hearing your children yelling, Daaaaadddddy! Hallelujah, the calvary has arrived! There is really no break after dad comes home, just more meals to fix, lunches to pack, laundry to fold, baths, playtime, and bedtime before you get up tomorrow and do it all over again. You even feel a little jealous of your husband who gets to leave the house and have adult conversations and business lunches. You cringe when you overhear comments like, "What do you do all day?" You love your children dearly and you are so grateful for the opportunity to be at home with them but the fuse gets short and you over-react because you are home with them all day, everyday, but then you feel guilty and you wonder "Am I doing this right?"

To the Single Mom: 
I don't know how you do it. You get up early each morning to get your children ready for school and yourself ready for work. There is no one to share the duties of morning drop-off, no one to kiss goodbye, no one to say to you "see you at home tonight, babe." You put in long days at work and when it is time for school activities, field trips, or sick children there is no one to tag team the duties with you. Whether you are single by choice, by death, or by divorce, you struggle with loneliness and think to yourself "This is not how I pictured my life to be." You planned to only be married once, to raise a family together, to grow old together, to share life with your partner for a lifetime. But you can only move forward and you have to keep going for your children because, quite frankly, you love them to pieces and you are all they have. So you earn the only income for the family, manage the bills, try to figure out how to be frugal yet still give your children what they need. You plan the meals, take care of the home, do the chores, pack the lunches, fold the laundry, do the baths and bedtime all by your self night after night but it is hard. Really, really hard. And you cringe when you overhear comments like, "Well at least you don't have to worry about answering to anyone else. Or if you share custody you've heard, "At least you get a break every other weekend." Oh my, if they only knew how terribly hard it is to be the only leader for your home, how isolating it is at times, and how you feel so guilty because you are not sure there is enough of you to go around and you wonder to yourself, "Am I doing this right?"

To the Empty Nest Mom: 
I don't know how you do it. Yes you have raised your children and they are moving out of your house but now you find yourself with thoughts of "now what?" What is this new season going to bring? Some days you miss your children so much that it hurts but you know that you have spent years upon years raising them for this very moment where they would now spread their wings and fly. You wonder if you did enough or maybe you wonder if you did too much? You are learning about this new concept of "boundaries" and parenting your grown children is just tough. When do you speak up? When do you shut up? How much do you help them? How much do they need to figure out on their own? While you thought that maybe this season would give you some of the freedom that you have so longed for, you just miss the days when you were so busy with life and family. You also now find that your aging parents are calling upon your help more and more and although you love them dearly, you also aren't sure that you are fully equipped to meet all their needs. You didn't really expect to have to parent your own parents so soon. You cringe when you hear comments like, "Must be nice to have so much free time on your hands." If they only knew how difficult it is to hear that. You have poured your time and energy into your family for years and now it is time to re-invent yourself, again, and it's a little scary.  You feel stuck between a rock and a hard place because you are grateful that you have some more freedom but you continually ask yourself, "Did I do it right?"


Oh dear sisters and mamas - Let's quit tearing each other down and comparing ourselves with one another. Let's keep our eyes focused on God's plan for us and make it our goal to measure up to what He has called us to do. And the next time you see your girlfriend doing something that is different than you and you start feeling insecure, give that girl a thumbs up and say to her, "Hang in there, you are a great mom, and you are doing a wonderful job!"


2 Corinthians 10:12-13 (TLB)
Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn't dare say that I am as wonderful as these other [wo]men who tell you how good they are! Their trouble is that they are only comparing themselves with each other and measuring themselves against their own little ideas. What stupidity! But we will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us, and this plan includes our working there with you. (Italics and parentheses mine)

Be Blessed!
Annah 


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