Life is hard. Parenting is hard. There have been so many moments since becoming a mom where other people’s words and actions really impacted me. Unfortunately most of those were in negative ways. I know many of the comments weren’t intentionally meant that way, but sometimes people don’t realize how their words can alter a person’s day.
While pregnant with my son and checking out at Target, the cashier casually said to me, “Are you having twins?” I’m sure she meant no harm saying it but clearly didn’t need to comment on the size of my growing belly when we have never met before. How about, “It is a beautiful day outside,” or “Are you doing anything fun this weekend?” if she wanted to make conversation. Thankfully I was able to awkwardly say “No, just one baby, but I do have twins at home.” While I know that my growing belly meant a healthy, growing baby, I still think about that comment…
On another outing, a woman came up to my daughters and I and said, “That better be a boy!” She was referring to my pregnant belly (which was in fact a boy). As if the gender determined how much love I would have for my child.
I think Halloween last year trumps all of the others though. My husband and I took my daughters trick-or-treating a week before our son was born. As we were walking up to a house, a stranger yelled “Is that a costume, or are you that pregnant?” Of course lots of people were around to hear… “Yes, I’m that pregnant.” Thanks for noticing.
Thankfully I have also seen so much kindness as a mother.
At the grocery store last year, a man asked my pregnant self if I needed help putting my groceries on the belt while checking out. He could see that my belly was making it hard for me to reach the food at the bottom of my cart. I appreciated his offer but politely declined, as it was just another thing I had gotten used to figuring out. Later as I was paying, his teenage son came up to me and said he really wanted to help me put my groceries in the car for me. I am used to being independent but figured this would be the one time in my life when I should accept offered help. So, I said yes. His kind gesture to load my groceries into the car, not only helped me out but also restored some of my faith in teenagers. When he finished, I told his father he was doing a good job raising him. It was pretty incredible that by watching his dad offer to help, he realized that he could help out too. This whole scenario lasted about ten minutes but the thought of the kindness continues on.
I was at the beach with my family last summer when a woman walked by us playing. She saw my twin 18 month olds and my quite pregnant belly. She stopped to say hi and told me how lucky I was. She wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know, but her kind comment definitely put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Again, another comment that I still think about. Words really have the power to do good or bad.
My daughters and I went to see the gorgeous sunflowers in bloom in Madison last year. We had gone previously but my girls were much smaller, I had parked much closer, and we were in a completely different area. This time around, it was also quite hot, and I was six months pregnant. As I struggled to push our double stroller up a LONG, steep hill, I could feel the sweat beads forming on my forehead and my body begin to ache. A mother and her young adult daughter were walking up the hill just ahead of us. They saw me struggling, and the daughter offered to push the stroller the rest of the way. Again, I felt a little guilty since it was hard work and my children but I let her help me. She doesn’t even know how much her help meant to me that day. She easily could have looked at me struggling, then looked away. But she didn’t.
All the actions of these people I encountered didn’t cost a thing but made such a difference.
The next time you see another mother struggling or looking exhausted (or anyone for that matter), give her some encouragement. Tell her she is doing a great job or she has polite kids, or even better offer to help. Make your next words empower someone and brighten their day! They will feel better, and you will too! Even better if your kids see you sharing kindness.
Do you have any stories to remind us of the good in the world?