Last night Brandon and Zane picked me up from work and we ran to the mall just to wander a bit and shop for an hour. Unfortunately, nap times for Zane have been hit or miss and all out of sorts (this subject is another blog in and of itself), so she hadn’t fallen asleep until around 3pm and they left to pick me up from work around 4:15pm. Not a long enough nap.
We got to the mall, diaper changed, and I was ready to get my deal finding game face on. Zane had other plans. She was, of course, tired. She didn’t want to be held. She didn’t want to be put down. She was starving. She wasn’t hungry. I figured if I just put her in her stroller and laid her back, she would probably cry for a minute or two, pass out and then I could get my shop on. I told B “just head to Nordies – I will take a lap around the mall and then meet you there”.
Zane launched into a full five-alarm, back arching – legs flailing – arms thrashing – demon screaming type of tantrum right there in the middle if the mall. Now I am not sure if you are aware of how GREAT the acoustics are at the mall, but let me assure you, sound travels.
I feel the eyes of everyone on me. At first I was like “oh she will calm down, she has done this before, she is just tired, she will wear herself out and fall asleep”. After walking the mall for a bit and getting tired of people looking at me like “why don’t you stop your child from crying” (as if I would choose not to if there was something I could actually do about it) I decided to head down the hallway and park her facing a wall. I figured if she couldn’t see people maybe she wouldn’t think she was getting attention from someone and start to calm down. She continued to scream and carry on kicking her legs. Every minute or so I would come into view and I would calmly say to her “Zane, you need to start to calm yourself down before we can move on”.
We were near the bathrooms, so Zane couldn’t see but people were still walking past us at a steady steam. I was just about to hit my limit of judging glares when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn and it is a woman I don’t know. She quickly smiled at me and said “you are a good mom”. It took everything within me to not burst into tears and ugly cry right there in the mall. All I could get out was a “oh gosh, thank you” and then she said “I have a 27 year old, and I still remember times like this. Just know you are doing what you should be doing. You are a good mom.”
One more quick sweet smile and she walked away.
With a renewed sense of discipline vigor, I remained strong for a few more moments as Zane began to wind down. I took her out of her stroller, we had a little chat and she apologized (seriously the cutest thing when she says “I sorry mom”) and we went on our way.
Last week, when my 6 year old niece looked up at me with innocent eyes and asked “is being a mom hard?” I almost didn’t know how to answer. Motherhood is the best job I have ever had. But in these moments, when you don’t know if you are doing things right – and how much more you can handle – it can be really hard!!
Those kind words from a complete stranger “you are a good mom” got me thinking – as women we have a hard job. We are responsible for raising these little kids to be everything that God has called them to be – to not only grow up to be responsible citizens, but to live full passionate lives and fulfill the call that God has placed on their lives. But we can’t do that job alone. As women, we need to be supporting and encouraging each other as much as possible.
I put this picture on Instagram yesterday it complete embodies what I am talking about today. We act childish when we try to compete with each other, but we truly walk in our purpose as women, and mothers, when we empower and encourage each other. I put a lot of my life out on here – my blog, social media- and a lot of it is really good. God has blessed me fully. But I want to be completely honest and transparent with you as well – sometimes it is just a mess. Sometimes it is a child demon-screaming through the mall. But ONE thing I really want to always be is encouraging. It occurred to me yesterday how easy and effortless it can actually be. It didn’t cost that woman ANYTHING to stop and encourage me.
From now on, I am going to be keeping my eyes open to the opportunities to encourage moms. Will you join me?