A few weeks ago we showed up for church a little late (again). In a rush to get in before the sermon started my husband hurried the oldest two to their preschool class and I struggled to carry my giant baby to the nursery.
As I approached the nursery, I slowed down a little bit when I saw the smiling face greeting me at the nursery door. It was a woman whose name I still do not know. She was lovely. She wore a flowing skirt, with a flower print top, and her bare feet peeked out below her skirt. There was no makeup on her face and yet she didn't need it. She glowed as she patted the baby she wore in a sling wrap around her chest.
She greeted me with the warmest hello although in my mind I was already coming up with excuses. Her dress and behavior had me already categorizing her as kind of a "granola" mom. One who baby wore, breastfed until the toddler years, practiced attachment parenting, babyled weaning, and used cloth diapers. I was sure she used only GMO free products in her home, made her own organic baby food, and helped cure little sniffles and coughs with essential oils and elderberry syrup.
And here I showed up. With my hair in a frazzle, lipgloss thrown on, and wearing whatever outfit from Target I had in my closet that fit me. My baby hadn't even been fed real food yet that morning besides some Cheerios thrown in his highchair table and in his bag was a container filled with formula and a bottle full of water. I had just given him a dose of Tylenol before we left for the house for his teething and, although I have cloth diapers in the house, his diaper bag was filled with many Pampers. And I wasn't even holding him close but instead I was lugging around his heavy carseat that he snugly sat in as I was hoping he'd fall asleep in the car.
Despite her warm welcome, and even a nice comment on the braid I had tied up in my hair, I felt embarrassed handing over my son to her. Because in nurture vs nature, I felt she had all of it. And I was just scraping by on this journey we called motherhood.
In spite of my embarrassment, I handed my sweet, chubby boy over to her, knowing he was in good hands and went into service where I pretended the whole encounter never happened. I would forget a moment that perhaps she could be a better mom than me and just try to ingest the Word spoken to us in church.
But I couldn't forget and still can't. Because I was wrong. I was wrong to feel embarrassed. I was wrong to label her. And here's why:
We are on the same team.
We are all on the "Mom Team."
We are all captivated by our children and grateful for their presence in our lives. We are all nervous when they leave our hands and run off to play on their own. We are all tired from hours of taking care of little runny noses, losing sleepless hours at night, and running around nonstop. We are all excited when we see them learn new things and come to tell us about new discoveries. Our hearts all overflow with joy when they come to show us a picture they just drew for us or to hand us a little flower they picked. We all get frustrated when they won't listen to our instruction and we struggle to figure out how to parent best for that child. We all have to ask for forgiveness and grace on the days we don't parent as we should. We all try to teach our kids to love big and respect others. We try to show them through our actions how to love Christ and accept His mercy. We all wonder which paintings to put on the fridge, tie shoelaces over and over, and give out so many hugs and kisses lavishly each day.
We are all just moms.
Mom's with full hearts, overwhelmed hearts, tired hearts and excited hearts.
Mom's just wanting to do their job in raising their little ones to be courageous and make a difference, no matter how small or big, in this world.
We are all just moms. On the same team. Fighting the same fight and enjoying the beautiful gifts we have been given.
I am sorry for the days I have labeled you my fellow mom. I'm sorry for trying to "out-mom" you or feeling I could never measure up to you in your mom glory. I'm sorry for not looking at you as team-mate, supporter, and friend.
Because, my fellow mom, whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a single mom, a working mom, or even a mom-to-be, you are just that: my friend. And I promise not only will I start looking at you as such but I will also start supporting you as such.
You are a beautiful, loving, courageous mom. And I am so glad we have each other to do this role of motherhood together.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Blithe, a Blog. It has been republished here with permission.
Tammy Moyle writes about her real-life struggles and joys (as well as her passion for cupcakes, lipgloss and coffee) from her home in Las Vegas, Nevada where she lives with her husband Zac and their 3 kids. She has written pieces for various online magazines and currently blogs way too much about her personal life at Blithe, a blog.