I’ve been the mom.
I’ve been the mom having a baby out of wedlock in a community that was still very conservative and traditional.
Acutely aware of her bare hand and embarrassed by the need to constantly explain or justify why there wasn’t a ring on it to people asking questions they had no business asking.
I’ve been the mom with the alcoholic husband who didn’t come home at night.
The mom who was more afraid that he would come home than she was sad that he didn’t. The mom who lied to her babies and the rest of the world in the hopes that no one would see the truth. The mom who worked full time and had her babies in daycare because someone had to guarantee a pay cheque.
I’ve been the mom who made the decision to take her babies to safety in the middle of the night. The mom who chose to end her marriage and in doing so, felt that she ended her family as well.
I’ve been the mom who tried to pick up the pieces and move on.
I’ve been the single mom who worked full time and still couldn’t find a landlord who would rent to her and her children. The mom who was told again and again that single moms do not make dependable tenants.
I’ve been the mom working part time shift work, because her child wasn’t well and needed her more and more. The mom who could no longer work a full time job and had to constantly explain why to people who didn’t understand.
I’ve been the mom who found love and remarried, but far too quickly according to the opinions of others.
The mom who had two more children and found raised eyebrows and questions about the size of her family at every turn.
I’ve been the mom who stayed home full time because with a child who was sick and three other young children, it simply made sense.
I’ve been the mom who worked from home part time while raising her children.
I’ve been, and continue to be the mom of two children with invisible illnesses that make having a traditional full time job nearly impossible, but work nearly full time hours outside of the home.
I’ve been the mom who is constantly expected to justify why she does so much for a child with an invisible illness, because people simply do not understand.
I’ve been the mom who only had herself to count on for an income. And I’ve been the mom who depended completely on the income of her spouse.
I’ve been the first time mom with a newborn.
I’ve been the mom raising a toddler while fighting a disease that nearly killed her.
I’ve been the mom with a newborn and a toddler.
I’ve been the mom with a newborn, a toddler and two teenagers.
I’ve been the mom with the child winning academic awards.
I’ve been the mom with the child who barely gets through a school day.
I’ve been the mom with the child surrounded by friends.
I’ve been the mom with a child being excluded and bullied.
I’ve been the mom with the child who finds nearly everything comes easy.
I’ve been the mom with the child who struggles at every single turn in every single way.
I’ve been the mom.
In countless circumstances and scenarios, in many different seasons, I’ve been the mom.
In every single one of those seasons I have been the mom consumed with worry and doubt and guilt.
In every one of those scenarios I’ve been the mom who questioned every decision she made and worried that she was somehow and in some way failing her children.
I’ve been the mom carrying the judgement of others like a weight, dragging her down when she so desperately needed to be lifted up.
And now, I’m the mom who is simply sick of the raised eyebrows, pointed fingers and whispered judgments of others.
Being a working mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard. Being a part time working mom is hard.
Being a single mom is hard and being a married mom is hard.
Being a mom, in any situation, in any circumstances can be really, really hard.
What works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for all families, and what’s best for one child is most certainly not best for all.
But one thing is absolutely true. When we support our fellow moms, when we lift them up, reassure them and make sure that they know they are doing the best they can with what they have for those children they love so desperately, it helps. It helps them feel stronger and happier. And it sure as hell helps their children.
We need to stop judging and competing and support each other. When moms are happy, children are happy, and literally everyone wins.
I’ve been the mom who felt the crushing judgement of others.
Now I’m the mom trying to change that for all of us.