I love being a mom and (mostly) everything that goes with it — especially since I've started being much more proactive about making new friends for both me and my little one, including play dates, play groups, structured activities and sports. Even as lame (sorry) as on facebook, there's something very pleasing to me about a group of women discussing everything from kids who won't nap to boys who hate to shower or brush their teeth. It's good to know you're not alone when it comes to the daily dilemma, whatever that may be, in child rearing.
However, and I don't know if it's just me or if any of you find this to be true also, I often find in conversing with other moms that although we're always offering a sympathetic ear, chuckle or similar story, not much is being offered up in the way of solid, friendly, helpful advice.
Why is this?
I'll be telling 7 women in 1 week about my latest fiasco — it could be bath time, bed time, dinner time, what have you — and while everyone will chime in with the typical "Really??" and "That's so funny!" commentaries, I've gotta believe that even if they haven't been in the exact same situation, someone out there could easily provide a handy little tip or suggestion: Oh, I bathe my boys in the morning, because then I find they don't want to linger too long in the water. Or, Lunch is hard for me too; have you tried cutting the grilled cheese into shapes with a cookie cutter?
The secret behind the silence could be a number of things, I know. Our overly sensitive sex may be worried that advice will be taken the wrong way, misinterpreted, has already been stated or will be instantly dismissed. It could be that we're all too overwhelmed with our own problems to even give a second thought to someone else's. It could even just be that no one's really listening because Bobby's getting into the Diaper Genie and Lauren's in the middle of a marathon nursing session. I really can't put a finger on it, but I would like to put my neck out there and say this:
Help a sister out, alright?
When someone mentions a potty training trouble, a developmental dilemma or any other number of frustrating difficulties that come with raising children, ignore the ego part of your brain for a minute — that part of you that worries about all those things I mentioned above, sounding stupid, or repetitive, or nosy — and do something to try to help. Put your sister in touch with your friend, who's smack dab in the middle of potty bootcamp. Bake up a batch of pumpkin muffins for your neighbor, whose child is turning up his nose at every breakfast item known to man. Give a call, knock on a door, drop off that ratty old receiving blanket that worked like a charm every time. What have you got to lose? I'd argue that you have a lot to gain, actually — although my point is not "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine," you'll probably receive of wealth of helpful advice the next time you're in need; you'll see that heartbreaking look of maternal appreciation; you'll just feel good from trying to help out someone in need, even if your advice is never taken. If your heart is in the right place, a kind word never hurt a soul.
Keep your eyes and ears out today for a fellow mama in need (or papa, for that matter). You know the look of that mom in the grocery store whose baby is colicky and big sister just broke a dozen eggs on the floor. You've been that woman in the park with no clean diapers, an empty container of wipes and a sippy cup full of apple juice left over from last October. You need the help or have needed it in the past, and even if no one was there for you then, you can be there for someone now — complete stranger, best friend, sibling or acquaintance.
Next up: People Just Don't Get It