Becoming a stay at home mom is a huge transition. When a woman works in any other capacity, there is validation in the form of a paycheck, and often in the form of words of praise from others. Babies don’t have money, and babies don’t talk.
When a woman completes a project, the project stays done. Then she moves on to the next project. No matter how many times a diaper is changed or a mess is cleaned, it will need to be done again. And again. And again.
There is no external validation, no grades earned for patiently soothing a baby through teething. She never earns a grade or an award from a teacher. There are no honor society inductions, no landing high profile internships.
For a woman who was a high achiever in her educational and career pursuits before children, the change is abrupt and jarring. She loves her baby, but sometimes she vainly attempts to make her child eat for the 72nd time and wonders What am I even doing with my life?
She goes out to eat with her husband and the baby. One holds the baby while the other eats. When it’s her husband’s turn, a stranger approaches the table and tells him what a fabulous father he is for holding the baby.
She smiles politely, but thinks of the countless strangers who have told her she is doing it wrong.
While the specifics of every woman’s situation is different, there is one thing that nearly every mother needs to hear: You’re doing a good job.
There is so much negativity aimed at women in general, and at mothers specifically. We need to encourage each other. One lady at my church encouraged me when I expressed concern about my son’s weight percentile.
“Don’t let them stress you out,” she said. “My kids were around that percentile too and they’re fine.”
It may have seemed like a little thing to her, but to me it was just the balm my weary mama soul needed. He’s going to be okay.
Since I realized the power of a kind word, I’ve been trying to actively recognize other moms. If a child is well behaved when I take care of him in the church nursery, I make sure his mom hears about it. I send uplifting Facebook messages to my mom friends when I know they might be having tough days.
What would happen if we all focused on building up, rather than tearing down? How can you edify someone around you this week?
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32