As I've worked through my own feelings, my thoughts have drifted back to experiences I've had in the past and to the stories friends have shared with me. I find myself thinking about one question.
Mothers, when did we stop supporting each other?
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The True Story of Sarah and EmilyA few months ago I was in the craft store waiting in line to check out. There was a mother with her daughter who was probably about five or six years old. We'll call the mother Sarah and the daughter Emily.
Sarah was almost finished checking out. Her cart was filled to the brim. Emily was not doing well. As the two headed for the door to exit, Emily went into a full-on meltdown. Sarah was helpless.
She could not carry Emily and push the cart out of the store at the same time. It was not an option to carry Emily to the car and come back into the store to grab her cart load. Nor was it okay for Sarah to take her things to the car and leave Emily in the store.
As this all went down there were several people in line waiting to be checked out. There were multiple people at different check out counters paying for their things. Cashiers and other workers were watching this poor woman with her child.
Yet no one did anything to help. Sure some stared. Other shook their heads. There were some that just turned away. But no one was there to support this mother.
I don't know how long I waited before I took action, throwing my purchases on the counter and telling the cashier I'd be right back.
I quickly walked over to Sarah and asked if I could help her by pushing her cart to her car. With tears in her eyes she expressed immediate thanks, picking Emily up off of the floor as she kicked, hit and screamed. We walked to her car, Sarah apologizing profusely for the behaviors of her daughter. After struggling to strap Emily in the car, Sarah took her cart and I went back inside the store.
QuestionsMonths later I can still feel the heartache I felt as I watched this mother struggling helplessly with her child. She was doing her very best and yet no one would help her. There was no support. Instead, only judgment and ridicule.
When did we start thinking so much about ourselves and so little about others? Why do we have to judge each other so much and so harshly?
I don't know if Emily has special needs.
I don't know if she had been out shopping with her mother for hours and this was the final straw.
I don't know what kind of mother Sarah is.
But I do know, if I were in that same situation, I'd be saying silent prayers that someone would offer to help me.
Why would others not help this poor woman?
Why would fellow moms only stare, shake their heads or turn the other way?
Mothers, when did we stop supporting each other?
JudgementAs a parent to four children, all with special needs I am very familiar with the judgments and lack of support from others. Name a scenario and I'm pretty sure I have a true story to go along with it. Perhaps this is why I helped Sarah. I knew how she was feeling and couldn't bear to watch the torture she was enduring.
But seriously? What's the deal?
We teach our children that if they don't have anything nice to say to not say anything at all. Yet we have no issues telling a fellow mother what we think she's doing wrong. Or worse yet, we talk about her to others in negative ways.
We teach our children to show love and compassion to others, yet we can't take a moment to help a fellow mother in need.
Perhaps we should stop with the unsolicited advice about how we think fellow mothers should do things and just listen with love and a sincere desire to support one another, offering advice only when it's asked for.
Every child is different and therefore needs a different kind of mother.
Only I know the kind of mother my child needs. And if I'm struggling with that I know how to seek help. I know to whom I can go for help.
We are so used to making snap judgments about the decisions of fellow mothers, yet we do not know the circumstances behind the decisions. In most cases we will never know. Yet we still don't hesitate to judge. What happened to trust?
No ExcusesAnd sure you may be saying, but there are really bad mothers out there! Just watch the news. To that I say, do you know the whole story?
My two daughters are adopted from foster care. Sunshine and Princess are now mine because their mothers were incapable of caring for them properly. But here's the thing, not a day goes by that I don't doubt that their birth mothers loved them and did the very best they could.
Yes it wasn't good enough, but it still doesn't mean that they didn't try, and that they don't deserve all the love and support that each and every other mother deserves. Heck, they need it more! If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have my two beautiful daughters. They deserve respect.
In some cases you say you are just concerned and are trying to help. I ask you only one question. Did the fellow mother ask for your help? If the answer is no, it isn't your place. Instead of judging, be an example. Express your love through kind words, thoughts and deeds. Provide service. Offer to help. This is the best way to show concern.
In the situation of Sarah and Emily, some may say, it's not my place. That's her issue. May I ask when it became wrong to show kindness and support to another, especially a fellow mother who is struggling?
Imagine!Mothers! We're all doing the very best we can with the circumstances we have been given. Imagine what that best would look like if we all supported each other? What would happen if we stopped judging? Imagine if we only showed love and kindness towards each other?
The world would be an unbelievable place to live in.
We would look forward to venturing out of our homes with our children in tow.
We would not live in fear of expressing our most intimate parenting doubts to others.
We would ask for help without shame.
We would smile more.
We as mothers would rid ourselves of those horrible insecurities.
Let's start showing support today.
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