We’re All on the Same Team

On Same TeamI still remember the day clearly. It was April and my first-born was a mere six weeks old. I was exhausted and overwhelmed, but we needed groceries. So, I lugged the 30-pound carrier holding a 12-pound baby into the store, hoisted it awkwardly into the shopping cart and began making my way down the aisles. We hadn’t made it through the produce section when Piper began to wail. I pushed the cart faster, frantically searched for the pacifier, and tried to remember what I was supposed to buy.

We were in the breakfast aisle when a terribly unhelpful woman looked at me with pursed lips and said, “You need to feed that baby! She’s obviously starving!” I wavered between wanting to punch her and wanting to dissolve into a puddle of tears next to the Frosted Flakes. Instead, I settled for walking away.

I finally made it to the checkout. With Piper in one arm, I fished my wallet with other to pay for my order, which was missing half the things I had intended to buy. After paying, I hurried out to my car, desperate to get home. As I was putting everything into my car, another stranger approached me. She smiled and asked, “Your first baby?” I nodded. “Well,” she said, squeezing my shoulder, “motherhood is hard. And you are doing a great job.” I mumbled my thanks as she walked away, got into my car, and cried the whole way home.

As moms, we are hard on ourselves. We look at the images in the media, the posts our friends write, read articles about all we should and shouldn’t be doing. Then we create impossible standards for ourselves. We constantly feel we are being judged…by strangers, haters on social media, and by each other. Why have the words of that woman in the Ingles parking lot stuck with me for 11 years? Because in a moment when I felt like a complete failure, she encouraged me. That is powerful stuff.

No matter how we spend our days, we all have nights where we lay our heads on the pillow feeling like rock stars. And we all have nights where we fall into bed feeling like utter failures. Whether we are working moms or stay-at-home moms, if we breast or bottle feed.  Or we have a supportive partner or are going this path alone. If we take our kids to a pediatrician or a chiropractor or send them to public school, private school or homeschool. If they are reading at four or barely tying their shoes at 10.  The vast majority of us are doing the best we can.

We love our children so desperately it hurts. Waking up every day overwhelmed by the daunting and beautiful task of being their moms. We make hundreds of decisions every day, we doubt ourselves, and we crash into our beds every night certain that the this is the hardest and best thing we’ve ever done.

Motherhood is hard. We all know that. So let’s encourage each other in this amazing, impossible task. Next time you see a mom in Target pushing a cart with a screaming 2-year-old, pat her arm and tell her it’s going to be okay. Text that friend with the newborn and tell her she will sleep through the night again eventually. Hug the mom in your office who just returned from maternity leave. Let’s tell each other that we see the struggles, we understand the hard choices, and we are all on the same team.

And if no one has told you today, let me be the first to say, motherhood is hard. You are doing a great job.

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6 Responses to We’re All on the Same Team

  1. Emily Hassman
    Emily Hassman August 15, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    Love this, Paula! I had a moment when my son was 2 months old, and I had him at the craft store to buy a last minute bday present for my friend… He was in his car seat in the stroller, and he started to fuss, and I just tried to keep the stroller moving because I knew it would turn into a full blown cry if I took him out… and I just still wasn’t that confident as a mom. Anyway, someone in line told me, “I think he just wants to be held!” Soooo helpful. I wanted to cry and say, NO, all he wants is BOOBS! And do YOU want to wrangle him back into the car seat that he currently hates, or do you want to just let me handle it?! ? (But I’m sure I just smiled and nodded.)

  2. Brittni August 15, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    So sweet. That first year is definitely a game changer. I remember a stranger’s offhand comment to me that resulted in tears for 2 hours as I held my (very confused) babg. I was a mess then and really could have used a kind word. It takes so little to encourage a new mommies, I wish more people knew that.

  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer August 15, 2016 at 8:30 am #

    YES. I despise all of the mom-shaming and criticism out there. That saying, “it takes a village” is the absolute truth! It takes all of us helping one another and supporting each other to demonstrate what it means to be a good, helpful, and loving person to our children.

  4. Alison
    Alison August 15, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Beautiful post!

  5. Joy August 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    From my experience, even when your children are grown, the guilt, shame and need for encouragement are all still very real. I wish it weren’t true…

  6. Annie
    Annie August 19, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    This post hits the nail on the head! That encouragement, particularly from an outsider, can be so powerful. I’ll admit, though, I did not feel “on the same team” with other moms AT ALL until my firstborn was about two…around the age that people were more interested in what my daughter was doing and learning vs how I gave birth, how I fed her, whether I let her cry it out, blah blah blah. Once I had my second and third babies, I was a lot more confident that even if I what I was doing wasn’t working for my child, that I could figure something else out that probably would be.