How This Mom Regained her Faith in Humanity
Sometimes I forget I’m a new Mom.
I mean, it’s not like I’m an astronaut or a nuclear physicist or something. I don’t have a job that I walk around with and feel slightly more evolved than the person next to me. I don’t tell people I’m a new mom and they gasp and say “How do you do that??”.
Because moms are everywhere. It’s not a new, breakthrough thing.
I was reminded of that today when I was at a festival downtown in my city. I had my three month old daughter strapped to my chest (like a “Thanksgiving turkey” a friend remarked) and I was doing the dance of “Don’t let the baby get sunburned”, running from one shadowed alcove to another.
When I finally stopped under the trees in front of the main stage where some gospel singers were praising Jesus, I looked around and nodded to about four other moms. All of them had their babies strapped to their chest like Thanksgiving turkeys and all of us were perpetually swaying back and forth.
One thing I’ve noticed as a new mom, is that now I see all the moms. They are absolutely everywhere, and I suppose they always have been, but now it’s like I have mommy-vision.
Down the sidewalks of the event ran children of all ages, in the audience dancing and stomping and laughing were more kids, and always within five feet of them- the mom.
The most common job on the planet.
And, as I’m learning, the most tiring, stressful, emotionally draining, beautiful, psychedelic, deep, powerful, and love filled job on the planet.
But we moms, we’re so common that to those who don’t know what it’s like, we might as well be the grass, or the stars in the sky. Beautiful when you look real close, but so many that we can easily become the taken for granted background.
And we become used to being the taken for granted background. Not in a bitter way, but in the way that we ourselves can forget how important and how hard our job is.
After being at this festival for several hours, I had parked us underneath the shade of a tree where I sat with some friends. I had whipped out my boob as stealthily as I could (I’m still paranoid someone is going to point at me one day and yell “PUT AWAY THAT BOOBY!!!”), and was feeding my daughter. I was wearing a skirt, so mulch from around the tree was going up my butt and ants were having a field day trying to sneak their way into my underwear. Meanwhile, I was trying to prevent milk from choking my baby and wrestle the water bottle out of my purse and still hold up the conversation with the friend I was sitting with.
“Hey mama, do you want the rest of this portabella wrap?”
What? Me? Is this person talking to me and offering me food???
I turned around to see a woman older than I sitting on the other side of the tree, and she was extending her plate to me.
“Here, have it. Mamas gotta eat!”
I accepted the plate gratefully, stomach rumbling, and with my one free hand started chowing down. When I was done, the woman took the plate from me and threw it in the trash.
“Have a great day, mama!”, she called as she walked away.
It was this one moment, out of all the great moments that happened today, that I am the most grateful for.
I was acknowledged in my motherhood.
Someone noticed me, and not only that, anticipated my needs. And they were a stranger!
Being offered food seems like the simplest thing. But as a new mom, it means I didn’t have to pack us up, stand in a long line beneath the sun, and juggle baby, diaper bag, and and plate as I walked back to a shady spot that was hopefully not taken by someone else.
It was a big deal, today, to be noticed.
So I wanted to encourage you people out there. Please remember to notice the moms. When you see them in public, see how you can help them. Hold doors. Clear their table. Give them the rest of your sandwich. Give them a smile of encouragement. Tell them their children are beautiful and that they’re doing a great job.
Let moms know they’re not invisible. What might seem like a small action of generosity or kindness will most likely stay with her the rest of the day or week. She will reflect on it when the baby is crying for three hours in the middle of the night or some stranger pushes by her in the grocery store.
These little acts of kindness to mothers will become their fuel, their proof that what they do is important, the encouragement they need to keep going when times gets tough.
And moms, lets keep looking out for each other too. Because the woman who gave me half her wrap? I’d bet a million dollars she was a mom.
And even us moms need some mothering, sometimes.