I walked into the grocery store…
I walked into the grocery store the other day while babywearing my 6 month old and walking hand-in-hand with my 3 year old. We made it to the store in one piece, easily braving the snowy parking lot, and went in the store. It was rejuvenating, after the sleepless night we had before, and the crazy departure from the home that took 2 hours. My 3 year old asked politely to get into the cart, my 6 month old on my chest was all smiles, and I even remembered my shopping list and bottles to return. I was feeling optimistic and relaxed.
Within 3 feet of me, also near the cart corral, I saw you. The Mom in the yoga pants. You were sporting the wild mom hair (likely you ran out of time to brush it), your toddler was having a meltdown, and your baby was crying hysterically in the carseat carrier. Your toddler was climbing you, throwing her toy, screaming, and doing all of those things that normal toddlers do who are having an “off” day. You looked panicked, exhausted, and at the end of your mama rope, but you were patient with your screaming children. I glanced over and saw that you had dropped your shopping list, so I picked it up for you, gave it to you, and said “hang in there, mama. We all have these days. You are doing great. You are a great mom.”
She hugged me, she thanked me…
You would have thought I told this woman that she earned a 3 week vacation to Bermuda. She hugged me, thanked me, and began to cry. I didn’t say anything more other than “I know these days are hard. You can do this.” She then told me that nobody has told her she was a good mom, and she feels like she’s constantly terrible at this parenting thing. Shockingly during our conversation, her toddler calmed down, got into the cart, baby stopped crying, and all was well. I think they may have realized that mama had enough.
I told her that they give cookies to kids at the bakery during every shopping trip. She was thrilled and surprised! We walked over to the bakery together with our crew. The toddlers each had a cookie for 10 minutes or so, and we chatted more. This mama needed to chat. She needed someone to validate that she was a good mom, doing her best, and was surviving this tough parenting stuff. Turns out, our kids were almost exactly the same ages. All terrible sleepers, with intensely intelligent eyes, and immense awareness and sensitivity to the world around them. I understood her, she understood me. We both read the books: Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic We knew each other’s parenting world and bonded quickly.
We have amazing days and we have hard days. We have days that are so long (and the nights even longer), and we have days that go by in a blink, as we fully engulf the amazingness that is our children. That’s parenting. I found out that she was a single mom, with a small support system. She felt like she was doing it all wrong, when in fact, she was doing it all right (or as right as a Mom can do it all). She had nobody reassuring her that she indeed was a good mom.
To the Moms in the Yoga Pants
So all you moms in the yoga pants, I challenge you to this. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some grace. Help each other. Give a tired mama a hug when she looks like she needs it. Pick up that shopping list off the ground of a mama who looks like she’s at the end of her rope. Distract her screaming children for a second, to help that mama gain some temporary sanity. We are all in this together, yoga pants and all.