The other day I was careening around a corner, running late to pick up my daughter from school. I texted a mom whose kid is in my daughter's class. I asked if she could hang on to Vivian until I made it to the school. I was only a couple minutes late, and I pulled up to find my child smiling, waiting with her friend and his mom. If I hadn't had the mom's number, if she hadn't been the sort of person to help without hesitation, I would have pulled up to find a very scared and sad little girl.
I was so grateful for the help and it got me thinking about the other moms that have provided an assist along the way.
I remember last year around this time, when Vivian was still having trouble going to school. One morning I couldn't take the crying, I couldn't bring myself to pry her off of me, so I just sat down on a curb outside the drop-off gate and held her as she wailed. The gate closed, school started, and all the other parents dispersed. I was defeated.
Clearly I was horrible at all of this and by giving into her crying I was just setting myself up for an even more difficult time the next day, and probably the day after that. She cried, and I tried really hard not to. It was not a banner moment.
Then a mom I'd never met came up to us. I can't remember exactly what she said, but I remember she was kind. She talked to us for a long time, her tone was never judgmental. She made us both feel like this was just a little hiccup, instead of a roadblock. She was kind.
You hear a lot about Mommy Wars, and women shaming each other for parenting choices. And I guess I've experienced a little of that over the years. But what really stands out to me is the kindness I've always felt from other moms. The instant camaraderie I've had with strangers because we are both stumbling through the minefields of parenthood.
The frantic text messages I've sent asking for advice, the calming responses I've received. The mom who watches my son a few days a week since our nanny quit. The strangers who have given me reassuring smiles the times I've lugged my tantrum-ing kid out of a restaurant. The knowing nods instead of disapproving shaking of the head when I've shared a particularly harrowing failure.
I know we've all felt, as parents and as people, both sides of the War vs. Peace styles of human interaction. And I'm eternally grateful to those who have chosen peace. To those who have provided me a sense of community during what can feel like very isolating parenting years.
When you are given the choice, when you see someone who is struggling, do humanity a favor and err on the side of peace. You may just turn someone's crap day into a moment they remember because someone took the time to be gentle..
And if you are lucky enough to find one of these gentle people along the way hold on to them as tight as you can. Return their kindness as often as you can. Thank them, let them know that you appreciate the calm they provide in a very loud world.
Tag them below and share how they've helped you. Or text them. Or give them an old fashioned hug, if actual human connection is your jam.
Be grateful for the good, and make efforts to actively contribute to it. Let's all keep an eye out for each other. We are all members of #ClubMom. (It's like Club Med, but with more wine and sweatpants).
Ready, break! Go team!