Last week, my husband and two of our three kids returned from a grocery run and my husband was positively glowing. He said the errand had gone well. So well, in fact, he had been stopped on two separate occasions by impressed onlookers who wanted to congratulate him on what a great job he was doing.
Now. Hear my heart on this. My husband is a rockstar dad–the best dad I’ve ever known. But I was both jealous of the random compliments being passed out at the grocery store and also a little insulted on his behalf.
I have been a mom for 12 years. I have been grocery shopping with my kids approximately 12,407 times. I have been complimented on my mom skills exactly zero times.
What exactly had he been doing that was so impressive? Keeping the buggy in his lane? Knowing what kind of milk we buy? Keeping the kids from climbing the shelves?
The majority of dads are smart, talented, responsible human beings who are definitely capable of all of the above plus so much more than we apparently give them credit for. These are some the reasons we married them, after all.
I was so fascinated by this whole situation, I conducted one of my super scientific research studies. I polled moms on my Facebook and Instagram. The results were just as I expected.
The responses fell into two categories. These incredible supermoms had either 1) never received a single parenting compliment in public or 2) had received a compliment and it was such a rare experience, they still remember every detail of what was happening and exactly how it made them feel.
A single moment. One quick verbal pat on the back from a stranger and those brief moments of time live on forever in the back corners of a mama’s mind.
The other side of the coin? Moms who responded to my oh-so-scientific poll could also remember in vivid detail the less-than-kind comments offered.
From my own experience, I’ve been told my kid’s meltdown is why that person “is never having kids.” I’ve heard all about how a good “belt whoopin'” would fix that autism right up. I’ve also been drawn into a conversation about how martial arts classes would help my kid because then he’d be able to beat up the other kids who are undoubtedly going to “pick on him for being so weird.”
Insert heavy sigh and exaggerated eye roll here.
Our words have power. We have the power to build each other up and we have the power to tear each other down. Why on earth would we want to use our power for harm and not for good?
We are on the same team. We are sisters in the trenches of motherhood. We are battle buddies through this crazy #momlife. When we recognize each other out in the wilds of Wal-Mart, it would be the easiest thing in the world to offer up a quick “good job” or “atta girl” when things are going well. Or maybe even more importantly, an “I’ve been there” or “hang in there” for solidarity when things are obviously not going well.
Let’s be the woman who lives on in a mama’s mind as the bright spot in an otherwise terrible day.
When was the last time your mom skills were complemented by a stranger? Share in the comments!