Dear Fellow Mother;
You don’t know me, but I have learned some things about you. I learned these things as I sat and watched you in the airport terminal. We were “patiently” waiting for our connecting flight that had been delayed, yet again. I learned that you are a mother of two beautiful babes. One is a boy about two years old, and the other a girl only a few months old. I learned that, like many mothers, you are patient and loving with them. I watched in admiration as you fed your sweet baby girl and corralled your rambunctious little man. I could tell your boy was restless and that made you exasperated. He wanted to run, but running was not an option at this point. I watched him play with your carry-on luggage and try to get into things. You lovingly redirected his efforts. I watched as you cradled your baby girl to your breast, patting her back gently, to relieve her of any gas in her belly. She smiled at you as you cooed at her. I learned that you are a great mother just in the few minutes that I was able to observe you.
At one point your active little man needed to be changed as he was not yet potty-trained. This was when I watched you most. Your patience and motherly experience shined bright in those next few moments. You were digging through bags to find the appropriate items to change your son, he apparently wanted to help. Like most two year olds, I’m sure this meant just dumping everything onto the floor. I could tell that was not the “help” you wanted or needed at that time as you tried your hardest to prevent items from overflowing the bounds of the suitcase. You continued to redirect him, but he was having none of it. I could start see frustration mount on your face as you now became “mean mommy” and sternly explained to your son that he needed to make a different choice. You did not yell or raise your voice. You simply grabbed him by the waist, leaned closer to his ear so he could hear you and spoke to him like any parent would have. I was close enough to hear you say “No! That’s not for you.” I was also close enough to hear your next comment as you gather the items and your son. You muttered “and of course, everyone stares!” My heart broke for you at that moment.
Then I realized, you were probably referring to me! And I felt awful!
I felt so bad that my admiring eyes made you feel that I was in some way judging your parenting. I felt awful knowing that it was me that caused the emotions and the self-doubt within you. For that I am so sorry. I am so sorry if my glances made you feel judged it worse – inadequate. I only watched you because I too am a mother, and I love to see moms in the moment doing what we do, raising our children. You were magnificent in your role! You shined as any mother would have. You are doing fantastically well and should be proud of your efforts. I know it seems like what you do is not appreciated, recognized or even admired but that’s not true. The world seems to scoff at the efforts of mothers and tells us that we shouldn’t focus so much of our attention on this tiny person we should focus on ourselves and/or career. For some women, this may be true, but for you and me – these tiny humans that call us mom are the MOST important job we could possibly have. I thank you for rejecting that idea and making your motherhood a mission, and something to be admired. You are amazing.
Keep up the good work. You are awesome!
A Fellow Mother
PS – I was traveling recently. We were delayed in the Denver airport. After realizing that she may have been referring to me about staring I felt so bad. When she returned, I took the opportunity to apologize if I had offended her. At this time she informed me that they have been delayed in the airport for over 8 hours due to the airline’s computers crashing. My heart went out to this woman. Her children were really well behaved after being stuck in a stuffy airport terminal for a day. So a secondary lesson to this, is to not judge someone based on a moment in time, you have no way of knowing what they are dealing with!