Sunday, May 13, 2012

What a Mom Wants

I've been thinking about writing a Mother's Day post for a while...but I wanted to share something profound. I was hoping to sit down and have brilliant words of wisdom flow elegantly on to the page, nearly summing up my experience so far, and inspiring others with my life lessons. After all, I've been a mama for six months now...surely I have some smarts to show for it. But as I attempted to actually put my thoughts on motherhood into words I've realized that being a mom isn't synonymous with being wise. (well, at least not yet). So far for me, it's actually been a bit of the opposite.

Everyone says babies don't come with instruction manuals, but I think when they hand you a baby at the hospital, they might as well be handing you an endless book of questions. In my brief experience, I've found that nothing shows you what you don't know like being a parent. I'm only six months into this gig, and I can already fill novels with problems I couldn't solve, messes I didn't anticipate, and answers I don't have. And if that isn't enough, as soon as I gained a daughter, it seems I also acquired a substantial amount of fear, guilt and self-doubt.

But the bright side is that with every failure or struggle or worry I encounter, it brings with it a dose of perspective regarding moms that surround me and a helping of gratefulness for those that came before me. Before joining this sometimes confusing, often exhausting club, I didn't have a clue how demanding, and sometimes isolating motherhood could be. It's tough work, even in the best of circumstances, and all moms have moments when they need encouragement and support.

But the good news is, that while I haven't exactly perfected this whole baby raising thing, it's actually my own weaknesses, insecurities, and limitations that have shed some light on what other women might need as well. And though Mother's Day is a perfect day to lavish your own mom with love (you already called her, right?), it's also a great reminder that there are millions of moms in the world, that could always use a little extra praise. So my challenge to you, is this week, take an extra minute to encourage a mom in your life whether it's a first time mom who is still knee (waist, neck!) deep in diapers, or a veteran mom who seems like she's got it all together. Some ideas to get your started:
  • Tell her she's doing a good job. Mean it.
  • Get real with her. Be willing to be vulnerable about areas of your life where you may not have it all together. Be honest that you rely on frozen pizza at least once a week just to avoid starving. Tell her that your baby struggled to sleep through the night for months too. Confess that you actually don't do it all- and share your cleaning lady's number! 
  • Lend a hand. Hold her baby while she eats, open a door for her when she's bogged with bags, wipe her toddler's messy hands when she's tied up with her other kids.
  • Allow her to be the expert. Ask her advice. Let her turn her experience into lessons for you, while helping her gain confidence in her own authority as a mom. Win-win!
  • Give her specific, and authentic praise. Every mom is great at something, whether its singing kid songs, making awesome classroom snacks, or making hilariously silly faces. Take a moment to notice how awesome she is.
  • Ask to see pictures of her baby. Chances are she offers them up often, but knowing people actually want to sit through an iphone slide show is priceless.
  • Volunteer to babysit. But not in that vague, "call me sometime if you need me" kind of way. Actually suggest a kid-free outing, or a date-activity for her and her man, and offer to watch the little one.
Now go forth and love.

Hey mamas- 
If you need an extra boost of cheer- Piper, her piggie toes, 
and teeny bow are always available. She's thinks you're just swell.

1 comment :

  1. aw, love it.
    the term "flying by the seat of my pants" has occurred to me a gajillion times over the past week... (2 head injuries for 2 of my kids in one week?!? really?)

    I think you're a super mom, Courtney and that little baby Piper is one sweet and stylish little girl. Man she is looking all grown up in her 6month self in that picture! love it