Hey there, Mom Whom I Don’t Know, sitting/standing/squatting/storming in a parking lot/movie theatre/grocery store/fast food joint/neighborhood park, adhering/acknowledging/ accepting/admonishing the tiny people roaming ’round your ankles,
It’s okay that you walked out of the house without makeup, and your hair is disheveled, at least your scarf is cute.
It’s okay that you’re angry at your tiny humans for being disrespectful and undermining authority in public, the groceries can wait.
It’s okay that you feel like one more toddler question will make you insane–somehow I made it through that in some manageable way, too.
Because, I get you; I get it.
… You’re human.
And so I’m reaching out to you, because I want my lovingly compassionate side known for the entire world to see.
Random Other Mom Who Empathizes Without Knowing Your True Situation
So, um … . So, uh, … thank you for writing your letter to me, the mother you do not know, but felt the need to openly address. This may be wrong of me to say in response; this may be wrong for me to verbalize, but–at the end of the day–you’re not me.
You’re just not.
Have you stood in my shoes? Have you known my struggles? Have you seen me in my entirety? … Have you? Yes, you are a mom. In the world of Momdom that means something. You can notice my struggles; you can notice my weariness.
You might be a stay at home mom. You might have a husband that walks through the door, Superman cape blazing. He might switch off your time clock and give you a reprieve.
But I might be a teen mom. I might be in a marriage that is crumbling around me, trying to piece myself together for the kids. I might be a working mother who took time in-between work shifts to spend a little bit more time with my child before handing him off to a babysitter for the next 12 hours. I might not have anyone at home to help.
So, can you see me? Can you see the human in me? Can you see me in the midst of my struggles, and truly understand? Can you notice my strength of my character through the judgment of your understanding concern?
Because, at the end of the day, every mother is different. Every mother’s struggle is different. Every child is different. Every child’s behavior is different. Therefore, no mother approaches parenting the same way. Which makes us, as mothers, fluid.
We move to the beat of a drum that cannot be pardoned during our worst parenting moments. We, as the breeding society, live for moments of unmitigated joy, our payment actualized through kisses, snuggles, drawn pictures, and hugs. Our eyes breathe love; our souls were meant to guide, discipline, and bring structure.
So, why are we known for our moments in which we step outside without makeup, hair askew, eyes enraged, shoulders slumped with exhaustion, and tempers alight with the fuel of a thousand tiny, inquisitive hands? Why is that the image of a me, the mother?
When did motherhood become so patronizing?
Here’s the deal: you will judge me, you will look at me funny, you will make a comment on my most trying, exhaustive day, when I want to throw junk food at the situation and cave to an extra hour before bedtime. It happens.
And no, I do not want someone to condone my exhausted, makeup-less, tired, angry version of the person I truly am–because, I’m an awesome mom. But, can you–do you–see that?
You see me for a moment, a minute, half an hour, and you feel drawn in my plight to spew forth about my character in a way which tugs the heartstrings of millions–but you missed the entire point. You missed the me inside. I’m a divorced, working, single mom. I am strong. I am resilient. And what’s more: I’m raising a brilliant, loving, kind-hearted tiny human.
Yes, I slip. Yes, I falter. Yes, I cave on an epically horrid day. Yes, I holler at a tiny human and then stand alone, breathing through my nose, tempering my emotions. Yes, I underestimated the amount of time and patience it took in allowing my child to pour his own ketchup, eat his dinner, or place his dish in the sink. But, that is me at my breaking point, it is not me in my day-to-day.
I refused to be empathically judged in a moment when my child has wreaked havoc on my parenting skills, or upon me, the human. That is not my norm; it’s not my “regular basis.”
It’s my anomaly.
Do I gnash my teeth and pray for patience on occasion? Yes. Most definitely, unequivocally, yes. But you are right about one thing: I’ve got this. What’s more, I know I do. Do you know why? Because I am a mom.
And, … so are you.
So, what’s with the empathetic judgment?
You know, as I do, that we are molding tiny humans into adults in which we can feel proud to release unto society. Does that come without hardships? Does that come without moments? Does it come without a lesson in which we better ourselves as parents?
No, no, and no. We learn through trials and tribulations. We learn through the thousands of tiny hands, the sneaking of candy, and the tantrums for days. We learn who we are, as mothers.
And so did you.
So, please, remove my name from the placations. Remove me from the empathetic stares, knowing glances, and understanding nods.
I don’t need to be known for my moments; I want to be known for my normal.
And yet, maybe you were judged for your worst moment. Maybe you were sized up in a moment, and felt the claw of a thousand, vicious eyes from women that never stood in your shoes. Maybe a look, a glance, or a snarky huff on a bad day created the need for you to reach out and acknowledge your worth by talking at other mothers, telling them that “it’s okay.”
But the fact remains that there will come a day that I will pick up a screaming little person, tuck him under my arm, and walk him away from the park because he chose that point in time to willfully disobey. I will have a craptastic day of Momdom, bring him to the grocery store, and lecture him for over half the visit should he decide to sprout a thousand tiny hands and start touching things. I am going to lose my cool and time him out in the middle of a parking lot, standing to the side of the car, and learning how to see that the sky is, in fact, still blue.
I’m going to have a shitty day.
And so will you.
My worth, though … my value as a mother, as a member of society–as a human–is not in those moments. My worth is in the excitement beaming in my son’s eyes when he straps on a costume, and becomes a super hero. My worth is in the smile on his face when he tells me about his day at school. My worth is in his burgeoning vocabulary, cognitive leaps, and critical thinking skills. My value comes in his arms around my neck and the words, “I love you Mommy. You’re the best mommy in the whole world.”
In the world of Momdom, I look at that little monkey on a bad day, and know I’m raising him well.