1. Get off the perfection train. When I was a kid, birthday parties meant pizza, cake, balloons, and maybe some games or a craft if we were lucky. They were definitely not picture perfect. Now birthday parties for kids are supposed to be a Pinterest-worthy extravaganza. It can be daunting for new moms to realize they’re suddenly expected to be living in a magazine shoot. If you love design, decor, and event planning, then of course go crazy! But if you’re working your butt off because you’re worried about what the local PTA moms will think when they see your Facebook pics trust me when I say a lot of them will be happy that someone is rebelling against those Pinterest ideals.
2. Be a helper. I will never forget the mama in Orlando’s crazy-ass airport who saw me trying to wrangle my 18-month-old, a stroller, a car seat, and our carry on through security without any help and said “I’ll hold her, you get the stuff on the belt.” My daughter wasn’t happy to be handed to a stranger but I could have kissed that stranger. And I won’t ever forget the mama who just recently saw me trying to wrestle my screaming 5-year-old out of the mall with my 2-year-old and no stroller and said “Would a shopping cart help? Let me run and get you a shopping cart so you can put him in it and pick her up.” And she did, too, returning with her two daughters and three cart choices like a super secret rescue brigade.
3. Stop with all the mom shaming. There is literally no one definitive study that shows that staying home with kids is best or that standardized early childhood education is best or that daycare is detrimental or whatever. If disposable diapers make you a happier mama then use them. Just because you have time to prepare all your baby’s food at home (and you can afford organic) doesn’t mean the other local moms near you are in the same boat. Or that you even want to do all that. Some mom shaming comes from a place of pride – when a mom thinks she better than another mom. And some comes from fear – when a mom is afraid she’s not measuring up. Both are silly. Stop.
4. Ignore kiddie meltdowns. We’ve all had that moment where our kids are being totally terrible in public (like me in the mall) and there’s another parent nearby just rolling her eyes right up to the ceiling like she’s got it all figured out. Maybe her kids just aren’t the tantruming type – some really aren’t. Or maybe she’s a big stinking liar because her kid was screaming his head off earlier; he just did it in the car on the way over. Don’t be the eye roller. If you haven’t got anything nice to say, then look away. Better yet, be the helper. I promise you the mom you help will never, ever forget you even if she never learns your name.
5. Stop pretending we’ve got it all figured out. I know the tendency is to share only the prettiest, happiest, most glowing-est moments of our family’s lives but please. We all have sticky floored, voices raised, laundried couch, husband hating, one sass back until mommy meltdown moments. We’d be doing a lot for each other just by giving our mom friends or even the moms we haven’t met yet a peek into the low points in our mothering lives. Then we’d all know that we all have those moments and we might not feel as ashamed by them.
Because you know what? None of us moms has it ALL figured out. Which is why we need to be kind to one another.