I feel like every time I leave the house with my son, people look at me like I’m a young, single mom who is should be pitied. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m ALWAYS in sweatpants and usually sans makeup (because it’s errands with my toddler, duh) but it makes me laugh because let’s face it: they couldn’t be more wrong. Not only am I NOT young, but I’m also far from single. Married, in fact, if you’d bother to notice the ring on my finger. No need to pity me, especially with a kid as obviously delightful as mine.
But I think these assumptions actually help me be better at being the kind of mom other moms aren’t as scared to reach out to, like I’m more approachable than one of those Stepford Wife moms that seems to always have her shit together. I can relate to every woman who has ever had a child, something that I am proud of and think of as a great quality. But none of this is obvious if you really look at my life, since my true mom friends are extremely few and far between. But nothing scares me more than a mom feeling totally alone: we’ve all been there, and quite frankly, it sucks.
And yet, the judgement is EVERYWHERE. Between mothers, between women, between people in general. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to embrace every parenting style, embrace every bedtime routine, embrace every way of teaching and learning. What works for one parent definitely doesn’t always work for another, and we as a whole need to accept that THIS IS PERFECTLY FINE. But always be open to asking for advice and always be open to giving it, because you never know how a simple “Oh, me too! Here’s what I did that might help you…” may do for another mother who might be struggling.
I think all parents need to have one thing in common: an open mind. If you remain open to relating to all parents, despite their age, their gender, their marital status, their income level, or their way of life, we could bridge so many gaps on this terrifying journey of raising miniature human beings. And hey, open minded parents breed open minded kids, which can give us all hope for a sunnier future for our little ones.