To the Stay-at-home mom, working mom, single mom, student mom, new mom, old mom, circus mom, and all of the moms in-between —
Let’s start off with a brief grammar lesson. Not all nouns need modifiers.
During my time as a student, I’ve experienced several types of moms. Some that stay late on campus, some that are never there past five, some who just show up for class and go home right after, some that always make it home for bedtime or family prayer, and some that never miss family dinner.
I’ve also encountered several perspectives on what a mom should be like, many times shared by those who either don’t have children or don’t have the appropriate plumbing (sometimes those with neither of the above). Some things I’ve heard have had merit and some are downright hilarious.
To explain where I’m coming from, I’ll provide you with a brief background.
I was a pregnant first-year law student. The only one in my class. I hid my pregnancy fairly well during my first semester but by winter there was no hiding it. I was GLARINGLY pregnant. I have had the opportunity to go to an amazing law school that holds family in high regard and with that, many of the students did also. I’ve had people that were extremely supportive and some that tried to be supportive but their support came out like this– AND I QUOTE — “Bless your heart! If I were pregnant during my first year, I would die” and again “I thought I was pregnant and panicked, don’t worry I’m not, thank God. That would’ve been awful.” To set the record straight, pregnancy for me was awful. So was the first year of law school.
Now we’ve all heard stories about women in law school being told that we’re taking a man’s place. Does it happen? Yep. Do I care? Nope. But not too long ago I sat in a library studying frantically for my finals. While there, I overheard a mom talking. It was late at night and there were only a few poor souls left in the library. This mom was arguing that moms shouldn’t be at the library late at night (while she, of course, was there late at night). That men “are supposed to be the ones who stay at the library late at night because their grades matter, they’re the ones that are going to be supporting families.” And “shut your face” almost slipped through my lips like the waters of Niagara…on a calm day.
Here’s what I’m getting at – STOP.
First off, everyone has a say in the type of mom moms should be. When I first moved out west I met a woman at church. She was young and out of the entire group of 50+ married women, she had been married the longest. A whopping one year. She was also the only one with a baby. She asked me why we had moved. I told her it was for law school, she automatically thought it was for Seth and asked a follow up question only to find out that my husband, bless HIS heart, had followed me across the country so that I could go to law school. Shocked, she responded, “Oh, I wanted to go to law school but then I found out I was pregnant with this little guy so I decided being a good mom was more important than school.” – Shut your face.
Why do people seem to think that being a good mom means being a stay-at-home mom? And why do people think that being a stay-at-home mom means being a sub-par member of society? Stop. DROP THE ADJECTIVE. Being young, single, married, older, biological, a student, working, not working, whatever, doesn’t make you a great mom. If you are not a bank or the IRS, you should not care. We’re ALL moms. Let that be the one thing that connects us. Stop trying to convince the world that you’re on the best path in life and that it’s the only “best path” for everyone. There are no two lives exactly alike and you will NEVER truly know what someone else’s life is really like until you’ve lived it. And I have never personally met anyone that has experienced Freaky Friday in real life (if you have, let me know where that Chinese restaurant is, I’d like to swap lives with Taylor Swift for a weekend).
I bet that library mom didn’t know that I was at school late because I went home for dinner and stayed throughout bedtime. Just like often times people don’t realize that sometimes women work because they want to and sometimes they work because they have to. Guess what? Both reasons are just fine!
Want to know the secret of being a GREAT mom? That little (sometimes large) worry in the back of your head that’s constantly making you think you need to be doing better, that makes you a great mom. That sigh of relief when you see your little sleeping through the night, that makes you a great mom. That glowing pride bursting within you when your terribly uncoordinated little dances with absolutely no skill or rhythm, that makes you a great mom. Watching them sleep, creepy as it is, that makes you a great mom. Sharing the last peanut butter cup, letting your little steal the last drop of your drink, feeding them from your plate, still loving them fully even when they ate, scratch that, LICKED the last cupcake all over after throwing theirs to the dog, THAT makes you a GREAT mom.
Stop the fat shaming, skinny shaming, judging from your couch (because that’s all stay-at-home moms do, right?) or shaming from your lounge of an office chair while you’re laughing at your child’s desperation for your love (because that’s real life). Just stop.
If you must judge a mother for the type of MOTHER they decide to be, judge yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all entitled to our opinions about schools, rules, when our daughters can have boyfriends and wear make-up, when to let our kids out of the house without overbearing supervision, vaccinations, and whether or not it’s insane to think that getting an epidural is practically passing your kid a doobie (pass it around TWICE, I say!). Just remember that most of us are just trying the best we can to be good people and love our kids. And you can’t shame someone for that. Even if it means their personal decisions are different than ours.
So, if you MUST label yourself try one of the following: loving, caring, fun, patient, active, even overbearing. If you’re having trouble coming up with one, ask your little. Because in the end, what they see is all that matters.