Being a mom is one of the hardest roles a woman must play; you aren’t just a mom but also a chef, a nurse, a teacher, a birthday party organizer, an entertainer, a monster catcher, and so on. And, we do this every single day! Our kids expect a lot from us; heck even our husbands expect a lot from us. And for the most part, we fulfill their needs. We do our very best to take care of everything on that invisible to-do-list handed to us every day. And if we can not, despite our very very best attempt, we beat ourselves, we feel guilty, and we try it again.
Yep, that’s a mom alright! Amazing. Impressive. Extremely busy. One-woman army.
I am on the board of my daughter’s preschool. And, every month I must attend 2 meetings – 1 is the PTA meeting, and another the board meeting. My husband oversees taking care of the girls and playing “me” for about 6 hours each month – 3 hours per meeting. WhenI get home, he is always flustered and angry, or just exhausted and impatient. Why? Because he had to be “mommy” for 3 hours WITHOUT mommy being there! 😊
But of course, he never accepts the fact that I play mommy 24/7/365, often without any help from anyone. And I do it without breaks or self-care or alone time for weeks or months at a time.
I am sure all you mamas out there are nodding away now because you feel me!
For today’s blog, in honor of International Women’s Day, I have decided to write on how we moms can help each other out. How can you help a fellow mom out there who may be a stranger to you? What small acts can you do that might make another mama’s day a little better and brighter?
Here are some simple ways to help another mother today!
7 Ways to Help Another Mother Today
1. Give them way on the road.
The other day I was heading to pick up Arya from school and a car was tailgating me. Then it came out from behind my car and rushed past me. I noticed that it was a lady who was driving and I saw a baby-on- board sticker in the back window. Aah, a rushing mama, I thought. I was initially peeved at this rushing driver, but after I saw the sticker, I realized that she was a mom. It may be far-fetched, but I assume that she was getting late to get somewhere with her kids. I immediately let it go and just went on my way.
There have been many times when my baby had been wailing in the car due to hunger, diaper change, or just crying for no reason at all. During those times, I have done my best to get through the drive and reach home as fast as possible.
My thought is, if you see a mom (again not always deserving maybe!) rushing on the road, please just give her way. This obviously applies to other drivers as well. Giving way on the road encourages safe driving and decreases road rages, and who knows, you will also help a fellow mama who is rushing because of a crying baby situation.
2. Do not feed their children junk food.
During Valentine’s Day or Halloween or any other school function, when kids can bring things from home, avoid packing candy or other junk food. Pack small toys, pencil, erasers, bubble, or hand-made items that the occasion calls for.
Recently Arya had a Valentines’ Day mini celebration at her school. For the goodie bags, I packed bubbles, erasers and pencils, and 1 Kisses chocolate each. Her goodie bags that returned from school had all kinds of things including a ton of candy. I made some excuse and hid the whole thing so she wouldn’t eat them all in one sitting.
To help another mama, avoid feeding or giving their kids candy or junk food. Always ask for their permission or in goodie bag situations, try to find other creative things to pack instead of plain candy.
3. Avoid interfering during discipline hour.
If you hear another mom explaining something to their little ones, avoid interfering or saying something. If you absolutely must pitch in your thoughts, do so by asking to speak the mama in private. Families have their own rules, values, and regulations, therefore, if the kids aren’t being hurt, please stay out of it.
4. Compliment, encourage, and lift each other.
I don’t think I need to explain this any further, do I? 😊 If you don’t know where to begin, try Instagram 😉. You will find many mamas out there posting or sharing their stories on motherhood. Compliment them for their efforts. Encourage them for their brave expressions. And lift each other with positivity.
5. Avoid criticism or judgements.
One day I was leaving Basking Robbins with the girls. Arya was throwing a mini tantrum because I told her we could eat the ice-cream during the drive home instead of sitting inside the ice-cream shop. I was trying to talk to her while holding baby Aavya and their ice-cream in my hand. A young woman passed by me and then she stopped. She said I was doing a fantastic job right now. She said that I should be very proud of the mom I was. I guess she was referring to how I was trying to talk my preschooler out of throwing herself on the side of the road while shushing the baby and holding their snacks, all while I quickly walk towards the car. Her words touched my heart and in my tired, anxious, and slightly peeved state, my eyes filled with tears. I stopped and we chatted for another minute and I thanked her for making my day.
That brief encounter seemed to make everything better for the remainder of the day. On numerous occasions, I have had other women judge me or criticize my method of parenting. These women are moms themselves, and even though some of them include older family members with immense life experience, their criticism and judgmental comments always comes at the worst possible time. No matter how good your intentions are, avoid negatively criticizing other mamas; they are doing the best they can and if you can help, well and good, but stop mom shaming!
6. Smile and say hello.
Moms are very lonely. They may have a friend and family circle but between work, children, soccer and ballet, and cooking and cleaning, their social outings become limited. So if you see moms at school drop offs, or functions, or even during your errand, make eye contact and smile.
Every child is different, however, sharing your experiences as a mama with other moms can be quite beneficial. When I had Arya, I was a first time mom, and I was scared and worried. My husband and I lived in LA and even though I had the her near our family in Sacramento, I moved back to LA 5 weeks postpartum. I was very anxious. A new baby, no support, alone in a foreign city and a husband who was always busy with school and residency stuff. But, my mom, my girlfriends, and coworkers who had kids shared what they knew, and it helped me immensely.
Just remember to share when you are asked; giving unwanted advise can be condescending and annoying 😉
So there you go mamas! Are we ready to starting helping another mama today? Remember, she may be a stranger, but chances are, she is also balancing a plate on her nose, and trying to stay sane just like you are!
What are some ways you think would help another mother?