It strikes me lately that we moms can be really hard on each other. We veteran moms can be the worst. My kids are almost grown up, and I know how easy it is to forget the infant and toddler years. I need to remind myself how excruciatingly long those days could be, how hard I tried to be the perfect mom, how guilty I felt when I failed, how tired I was, how overwhelmed, how bored.
Truth is, we veteran moms tend to romanticize and sanitize our memories so much that we forget all about our kids’ tantrums at Target and the Cheerios that lived under the sofa cushions for years. Years.
We need to ask God to help us be kinder. Which brings me to that famous saying: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
That woman whose kids are a little naughty? Her dad was far too quick with the paddle when she and her sisters were little, and she’s trying very hard to break the pattern. She may be more permissive than you’d be, but considering where she comes from, she’s doing great. So let’s be kind.
That woman with the detached look on her face while her toddlers are rubbing mud all over her yoga pants? God made her an introvert, and if she doesn’t get a few minutes of alone time soon, she’s going to implode. So let’s be kind.
That woman who’s always late? She’s low in Vitamin D and can hardly walk down the steps in the morning. She feels emotionally and physically tapped out before she even starts the day. So let’s be kind.
That woman who’s gained so much weight? She’s not lazy. She’s not overeating. Cortisol is coursing through her veins because of stress at work, her gut bacteria are all out of whack, and the doc put her on a new med for her fibromyalgia—all of which led to extra pounds. So let’s be kind.
That woman whose house is dirty? God put music in her, and every time she starts dusting, the dusting turns to dancing and melodies fill her head. She puts down the dust cloth, sits at the piano, and scribbles on staff paper. So, yeah her house isn’t the cleanest, but—know what?—when she sits at that piano, that’s the moment she’s doing what God gifted her to do. So let’s be kind.
We need to pivot.
What would happen if we reminded ourselves that just because we all have two X chromosomes doesn’t mean we have the same gifts?
We have different levels of cooking, cleaning, and organization skills—and frankly, some of us don’t care that much about the surfaces at all.
We have different levels of patience and empathy. Different ways of communicating love.
Some of us are naturals with babies, and some of us fumble around until the kids can clearly express their desire for peanut butter in English. Some of us love dealing with the drama of adolescence, and some of us enjoy kids best when they’re adults. Honestly, some of us are uncomfortable at almost every stage of the parenting process.
What if we just stopped analyzing and comparing? We’re all human, and that means the calluses on our feet are not always buffed off, our bathrooms are not always swished and swiped, our e-mails are not always read, and our hot dishes are not always hot.
We lose our tempers. We’re a little frayed at the edges. We cry when no one is looking.
And we’re also amazingly gifted by God—every single one of us—some as administrators, some as teachers, some as healers, some as creators, some as communicators.
God made us, and he declares us gifted, precious souls through his Son, Jesus. That same Son forgives our failures and, being human himself, completely understands our weaknesses. He loves us and accepts us as we are.
Maybe we can try harder to do the same for each other.