Monday, August 10, 2015

Mamas: How About a Little Kindness?

Look around the mothering community—both online and off it—and you’ll see it everywhere: Judgment. Mockery. Contempt. Resentment.



Mamas, what are we doing to one another? Motherhood is supposed to be a force that unites us, not one that divides us.

Perhaps even more importantly, what are we doing to our children? Kids are impressionable. They do as they see, and they look up to us as role models.

Although, sometimes, perhaps we should be looking up (or down) to them.

What kind of precedent should we be striving to set?

Here is my challenge to you (and to myself, because I’m guilty of some of these transgressions as well): Next time you disapprove of another Mama’s actions, next time you are tempted to pass judgment or pick a fight, why not take a step back, lower the boxing gloves, and show a little kindness?

When you see a Mama struggling with a tantrumming toddler at the grocery store…

Instead of shaking your head, staring, or murmuring about how she can’t control her own children, how about a simple nod of solidarity, and an offer to push her cart through the parking lot while she wrangles her kid into his car seat?

When a Mama acquaintance shares a status on Facebook, praising her kid’s potty-training conquests…

Instead of rolling your eyes, or calling her out for “bragging,” how about sending her a private message to let her know how awesome she is, and asking if she has any tips?

When you see a Mama picking her kid up from daycare in Daisy Duke shorts and a crop top…

Instead of whispering “trashy” behind her back, how about telling her how great she looks, and how much you admire her body confidence?

Or when you see a Mama at a restaurant in sweats and a t-shirt…

Instead of muttering the word “lazy” under your breath, or accusing her of giving all moms a bad rap, how about telling her how much your son would love her Star Wars t-shirt?

Or when you see a Mama at the playground dressed in business attire…

Instead of staring at her like she’s the star of Sesame Street’s “One of these things is not like the other” segment, how about asking how her day at the office went, and commending her for looking so put together, despite working a full-time job on top of being a mom?

When a pregnant Mama in your kid’s playgroup goes on and on about her upcoming gender reveal party…

Instead of scoffing, or calling her an “attention-hog," how about thinking, That’s not for me, but it’s nice to see a Mama so excited about her pregnancy, and then asking her if she’s got a hunch about the baby’s gender?

When you take your kids out for ice cream, and you run into a Mama you went to high school with, who seems to be toting around a few extra pounds…

Instead of snarkily whispering to your husband, “No wonder she hasn’t lost the baby weight,” how about inviting her and her kids to join you, then asking her what she ordered, because “whatever it is, it looks freaking delicious”?

Or when you see that fit Mama who runs by your house every morning, jogging stroller and toddlers in tow…

Instead of labeling her as “selfish” or “obsessive,” how about telling her what a total badass she is?

When another Mama’s toddler pushes yours at the playground…

Instead of tweeting about it on the spot (#disciplineproblems), or making her feel guiltier than she probably already does, how about reassuring her with, “I know, it’s frustrating. Mine went through a pushing phase, too,” and then exchanging numbers so you can plan a play date?

When you drop your kid off at an elaborate birthday party that looks like it came straight off a Pinterest board…

Instead of mocking the hostess with your friends later, or grumbling that she’s setting an impossibly high standard for the rest of you, how about popping your head in to compliment and acknowledge her hard work, then maybe asking if she’d ever be interested in helping you plan an event?

When you see a Mama covered in tattoos at your daughter’s kindergarten graduation…

Instead of trash-talking her with the other moms, or making snide remarks about how “she’ll regret those when she’s a grandma,” how about looking at them—really looking—and asking her the story behind one you find interesting?

When your pediatrician is behind schedule, because the harried Mama in the slot before you showed up 20 minutes late, a baby strapped to her chest and a couple of whining toddlers in the stroller…

Instead of making offhand remarks about how long you've been waiting (loud enough, of course,so that she can hear you), how about giving her an encouraging nod as you say, “Rough morning? Been there, sister.”

We are all different. We have different interests, different bodies, different minds, different parenting styles, and different ways of looking at the world. 

But when we look at each other, here is what we should see: Despite our differences, we are all Mamas. We are all human beings, and we all need to feel loved, supported, and appreciated from time to time.

So when you see a Mama who does it differently than you—who "helicopters" instead of "free ranges;" who offers bottles instead of breasts; who's "crunchy" or chewy or just downright sticky (as most moms of toddlers are); who works outside the home, stays home with her kids, or cries and eats tubs of cream cheese at home when no one else is around—instead of cruelty, instead of judgment, instead of ridicule:

How about a little kindness?


  1. That's beautiful and should go for everyone in every situation, but especially for women among other women! I really try to NOT roll my eyes at the mom whose baby is crying on the bus or the train because she is trying her hardest to make it stop and one day, that mom will be me and I would also appreciate some kindness then, I guess. Instead, I try to politely smile at her, even if I cannot help!

    1. Totally get where you're coming from. There are things I used to scoff or roll my eyes at that I find myself doing all the time now. Like...parents with super rowdy kids in public. Lol. Yup, that's me, every time I take my boys somewhere.