Motherhood is anything but a "one size fits all". I think there's this giant misconception that if the way I mother doesn't look like how she mothers... one of us must be doing it wrong. But that's the biggest lie that too many of us are holding onto.
If you breastfed until your baby's three, or if you weren't able to at all, you're a great mother. If you started as a size four and ended in a size twelve, or got to your pre-pregnancy weight in no time... it doesn't matter your size, you're a great mother. If you co-sleep or sleep train, you're a great mother. If you leave the house a mess to play with your kids (or hide to nap when they do), or let them watch some tv so you can wash dishes or pee in peace, you're a great mother. If you work a career or if staying home is your job, you're a great mother. If you homeschool or drop your kids off in the carpool lane, you're a great mother. If you have five kids, or have had five miscarriages, you're a really great mother. If you've home-birthed or adopted, you're a great mother. If you love your babies with everything in you, and still get fed up sometimes, you're a great mother.
Motherhood is hard. It is the most rewarding, amazing, life-giving adventure anyone experience, but it's a whole lot of tiring hard work. It's so silly to compare how we mother our children. We're all such different people with different personalities, with different children with different needs. We aren't alone in our struggles and triumphs, but even when similar, our stories and daily lives are all so very different, there's no point in comparing my hard versus your hard. Let's just all agree that being a mama is hard, no matter how wonderful.
Motherhood is nonstop. It's a full time gig whether you stay home with the kids or go to work and come home in the evenings... Give the mama in the grocery store a break. You don't know what the rest of her day looked like. She may have snapped because hello she's in a grocery store with a screaming baby or a child taking everything off the shelves while she's likely trying to finish her list that she probably left at home because she was getting her kids out the door which can often be a lot like herding dinosaurs (don't act like that hasn't been you one time or another).
Motherhood is grace upon grace upon grace. Give each other a break. Trust that mama really does know best for her baby. Even if that means feeding formula bottles, or a different kind of car seat than you prefer for your own littles or a really messy home with puffs everywhere. Sometimes we fail; we make mistakes. But we learn, we survive, and we can have grace on each other and ourselves and on the good days we really thrive and even wash our hair.
Motherhood is indescribable. It's sort of like a club, and I think any mama should be allowed to be a member, no matter what her journey may look like. We are so much better for our babes and for each other when we encourage and uplift and stand alongside one another without so much judgement. We are teaching our children how to be good friends, good people and good future spouses.
Motherhood isn't a competition. It isn't about what we have or don't... it's not about the things; the abundance or the lack, which brands or which methods, how many or how few, who is or isn't doing what at whatever age... it's truly truly truly about loving and growing our littles to become the best people we can possibly help them to become, all the while, they're making us someone new and better and softer day in and day out.
Next time you see a mama with a tantruming child in her cart at Target... maybe treat her to Starbucks or something. Or chocolate. Or wine. You know it isn't easy... let's have each other's backs and shower each other with grace. We're so much better when we do this thing together, because I think we can all agree that no matter what it looks like for each of us, we're really doing the best we can. And if that's you... it's really okay. Don't mind the awkward stares and just do what you gotta do. Grace upon grace. Treat yo'self.
Motherhood is the most amazing, life changing, inexplainable, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, life-giving, beautifying, soul tendering gift we've been blessed to live out. Let's do it graciously, together.