Eva had her 2.5 year check up last week and the pediatrician said, “You make having three kids look easy! You’re always well put together and calm. It’s pretty impressive.” I have to be honest and tell you that I really loved hearing that. Not only was it one of the best compliments I’ve ever received, but it was said to me while Mr. Hotcakes was sitting right next to me. The thing is, I don’t always have it all together. I make mistakes, I lose my temper with Eva sometimes. There are days that I envy other moms who look so graceful, moms with bodies that look like they’ve never had a baby in the first place.
I take Cardio Kickboxing at my gym twice a week. The instructor is this tiny girl, muscles for days and has the energy of someone who drinks espresso all day long. My jaw dropped when I saw her leaving her three kids in the child center before class one day. I could not believe she had three kids! I’ve had three kids, too, but I surely don’t look like her, the first thing that popped in my mind was – not fair! I think we live in a society where it seems that a lot of women kind of ‘give up’ after they’ve had kids. They gain weight and don’t have the drive to lose what they’ve gained or get discouraged when the weight doesn’t just fall off as it seems it does for many women in the public eye (have you seen Jennifer Lopez’s body after she had twins?). The instructor and I struck up a conversation about our kids last Friday and somewhere in the middle of her telling me that none of her kids sleep through the night, it just kind of hit me that she’s just like every other woman navigating through motherhood. I’m sure she has good days and bad days, days when her patience runs thin and days where the last thing she wants to do is teach a high intensity cardio class.
‘It takes a village’, you’ve heard that, right? It’s kind of a lost art these days, We want to prove we can do it alone, we are capable of raising our kids without ‘you sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong’. I think if more women were to show kindness instead of jealousy or passing judgment on other moms (guilty!) the world would be a nicer place. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our little world but the truth is that the world isn’t just about us. Community and loving one another is what it’s really about. Show kindness to the mom you see at a local coffee shop trying to get her much deserved caffeine and keep her toddler from touching everything in sight. Show kindness to the mom on your flight who really doesn’t want to hear her child crying the whole flight either, but she’s doing the best that she can. Show kindness to your mom friend who you haven’t heard from in a while, caring for a child is hard work and sometimes that means less time for chatting, she still loves you.
Body image is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, that’s why I gave that example but for you it may be giving your kids fast food or letting them watch too much TV (um, how much is too much?) or letting them stay up late. Whatever it is – IT’S OKAY, you don’t have to be perfect. You’re caring for your kids the best that you can and you are their perfect parent, not someone else who you think could do a better job than you. Because the truth is that they can’t. No one can love your kids the way you do, it’s impossible. So be kind to one another, lift up other moms for doing well with their own kids, give them compliments, make friends. What a beautiful world this could be.