This journey we call “motherhood” is a difficult one. There are times when you actually feel like you might have a handle on things. You hit a phase that’s going smoothly and you think, “Wow, excellent– I think I’ve got this figured out!” Then, as you probably know, something happens that throws you off your game again. And the cycle repeats.
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in some different “small group” situations with other mothers. In all these circumstances, we are moms with children of varying ages. Some only have one kiddo. Some have several. Some are young. Some are older. What we have in common? Sports. Or our faith. Or our interests. And, in every case, we are all mothers.
It is a beautiful thing to witness the newer moms looking to the more experienced ones for advice. I think it is hard-wired on our XX chromosomes to seek one another’s support and to look for guidance. And I think that’s a fantastic thing. But, I must admit, I’ve been a bit dismayed as of late to hear statements such as these from the mouths of the “more experienced”:
- “Ha! You think two is tough? Welcome to three– this is what it’s like.” (as a child throws an all-out tantrum)
- “Just wait until the teen years– you’ll wish you had it this easy.”
- “Yeah, yeah, my kid ate veggies as a baby, too. I’m lucky to get anything in that kid now that he’s in kindergarten…”
- “Ha, yep, I know just what you’re thinking. I totally thought I’d keep my kids away from soda and video games too. But, trust me– it’s not gonna happen.”
- “You’re gonna try to potty-train now? With a boy? Hah, hah, good luck with that.”
And it just makes me SAD. And kind of mad, too.
Here’s the thing. My oldest is only seven, but I still have more years of mothering experience than many of these mommies. And I definitely have my own opinions and life experiences. I get asked a lot of questions, and I don’t believe in lying. I’ll admit if I think a certain stage is harder than the one before it. I’ll ‘fess up that two of my children weren’t really potty-trained until age four. But I work very, very hard to not, well, THREATEN. Because that’s how those statements sound to me– like threats.
“You think you’ve got this all figured out, but you don’t.”
“You think life is hard now, but you just have no clue.”
Who is that helping?
I have to think that, when we say things like that, we’re trying to justify the fact that we feel like we’re currently floundering. And, while it’s understandable that some phases are just flat-out challenging and exhausting, that’s never a good reason to try to undermine other mothers who are seeking guidance.
Let’s come together and all admit that this motherhood gig can be tough. Let’s all reach out to one another and offer strength and support. Let’s offer tips, if we have them, and empathy, if we don’t. Let’s allow other mothers to enjoy those phases of self-assurance and vow to be there for them when, inevitably, the next stage will knock them off their game.
And let’s not threaten those we mentor.