I’m no expert, but I have been a mom for 11 years. I’ve been a mom and stayed home full-time, I’ve been a student part-time, I’ve worked part-time and now I work full-time. I’ve covered almost every iteration of mommyhood that’s possible, and every one of them is hard and complicated and important. But in this season, I’ve learned a few things and maybe you have too. Here’s mine. I’d love to hear yours.
1. we love our kids
We love them deeply. We think about them all the time. We worry about them at school and them at home with the babysitter or at daycare. We want the best for them. We love them just as much as any other combination of work/home mom. It looks different, of course. We might text them after school or FaceTime them from a business trip or email them. We aren’t there to pick them up from the bus stop and there are days where that kills us, just makes us want to rush home and bake some cookies and throw on an apron, but then we snap out of it, we realize that it’s a myth, that we are chasing some ideal that doesn’t exist, and that we are doing the best we can with what we’ve been called to do. And so we send that text or we hug them extra close that night and we know that life is complicated but love doesn’t have to be.
2. we need other moms
Friday I was about five minutes late to pick my kids up from school. One mom was waiting there with them and another called me to offer to pick them up if I was delayed. Five minutes, people. When I was growing up we left my brother at a strip mall outside the bank and didn’t realize it for an hour.
I feel loved and taken care of because other moms pick up the slack. I am constantly behind. I’m missing appointments and deadlines. I forgot to send in the PTA check. I didn’t get to come be a mystery reader because I had a meeting. And so we need you. We need moms to include us. We need moms who are in the know to keep us in the know. We want your help and we appreciate your kindness. We need our teachers to give us a break when we bring the kids late, and mostly we need to give ourselves a break. So next time you are standing at Back to School night or the bus stop and you see that mom, the one in the heels and jacket or the scrubs, the one who’s obviously rushing and doesn’t look familiar to you, will you introduce yourself? Could you welcome her into your little circle of moms, the ones you might get to see a lot more than she does? She needs you. She wants to be friends. She may seem a little brusque but that’s probably because she feels judged, and maybe you do too. But somebody’s gotta break the cycle because let’s face it, most of us realize as we pull away from the hospital, bellies still swollen, wide-deer-eyed scared and afraid of breaking our babies, OHDEARLORD I NEED FRIENDS. And we realize it again, when our daughters sass us and our kindergartener refuses school and our tweens get Instagram and our boys are taller than us, we realize it again and again, that we need one another. WE NEED ONE ANOTHER.
3. our no doesn’t devalue your yes.
We have to say no. We just HAVE to. We can’t sign up to bring the teacher basket or serve the lunch. We say no to the school parties and sometimes the after-school parties. Even if we serve on the PTA we won’t be able to give it as much time as we want. Sometimes our kids can’t do as much because we just can’t arrange another carpool. We can’t make the cookies and our kids won’t be dressed in the proper Pioneer gear. We sometimes forget that it’s a field trip day and our kid bums a snack from your kid. We say no because we have to scrape time together from wherever we can find it. We didn’t talk with you that long at the last school picnic because we really really wanted to watch our kids play with their friends, because we wanted to capture that moment on our lunch break before we go back to the demands of our work.
But our No doesn’t devalue your Yes. Your Yes is important. The way you serve in the classroom and host a birthday party and handle so many things is awesome. We love it and we are grateful for it. So if we don’t answer your email or sign up for that next volunteer slot, please don’t give up on us. Don’t think we don’t appreciate what you are doing and how you are doing it. But we’ve all got to play our notes well, to borrow a line from Jen. And we are playing our note, and our note involves the marketplace. We are playing that note out there, leading others, encouraging, helping, being excellent at whatever God’s given us to do. So we want you to GO FOR IT and we want to GO FOR IT and we can all go for it together, we can love these kids and love this life and accept that it’s crazy and complicated but it can still be good– and we can be good for one another.