It Takes a Village

Bryce regularly asks me why I’ve stopped blogging.

It’s not that I’ve stopped… it’s that I’m busy and I usually wait for a topic to come to me. I don’t have a preplanned schedule of topics I’d like to discuss. I’m so busy chasing after this little man that I regularly forget to focus on me and my thoughts beyond “where did I put my cell phone?” and then 10 minutes later “I found it! I threw it in the washing machine…” So yeah, not a lot of time for reflection.

Recently Hudson and I have been on the go. We went to Rexburg, Idaho and then to Seattle, Washington. He is the worlds best traveler. This is because he flirts with EVERYONE and it works to our advantage (tons of help, an extra seat when I didn’t pay for one, and friendlier strangers).

Between our trips and local outings, I’ve been experiencing something I’ve never witnessed or experienced before: compliments and encouragement from strangers.

During our trip to Rexburg a friend and I were discussing parenthood and how we idolize other parents. Let’s face it, the internet makes it pretty easy to think that other moms have it all figured out. During our discussion she looked at me and said “that’s interesting, I imagined you had things pretty in order and taken care of.”

Then I started wondering how I am perceived as a parent.

Next we took a trip to Seattle. On the train ride back home a stranger sitting across the aisle said to me “He looks like a handful and you look like superwoman.”

Today while walking the pugs with Hudson a neighbor with her two kids said to me “You make it look so easy.”

I have learned so much from becoming a mom. One of the many things I’ve internalized is that we all are struggling and that some of us hide it better than others. Other times we are only shown one portion of the entire picture.

These women who all complimented me have no idea the impact of their words. It seems these comments were God Winks; reminders that though I may feel like a complete and utter failure or on the brink of a meltdown, I’m doing my best and it’s okay.

What my friend in Idaho didn’t know is that I look up to her and feel like she has it all together.

What the lady on the train didn’t know was that I was on the verge of a breakdown because traveling with a baby wears on the nerves.

What my neighbor didn’t see was the tantrum that was held right before putting Hudson in the stroller. She also has no clue the amount of YEARS it took to train two pugs, when pugs are inherently stubborn and difficult to train.

I have learned through my short time as a mother that things are rarely what they appear. We are all facing our personal struggles and trying to recognize our triumphs.

Before Hudson and before trying to have kids, I judged moms. “I would NEVER do that,” My baby will NEVER act like that,” and “Why don’t they just…” were judgements that I would whisper to Bryce while in the grocery store. Now that I’m on the other side I do not have these thoughts.

I look at other moms with children in tow and think “Wow, I wish I had her patience.” I don’t know how they do it. When I ask them they usually respond with “I don’t know, I just make it work.” I am in awe of their abilities and pray I can be like them.

Ultimately, we’re all winging it.

Moms – You are doing an amazing job. You make it look easy. You are a good mom.

I’ve learned from these instances that children bring people together and in the most unlikely of places and ways: The man at Nordstrom who helped me with the stroller. The lady at the train station who held the other side of the car seat as we walked together off the train and to the front of the station to keep Hudson asleep. The older gentleman who carried my packages at the post office while I held Hudson. The lady on the plane who not only held Hudson but let him suck on her jewelry and poke at her teeth.

These situations have shown me how wonderful and helpful people are. It’s made me more aware of my interactions with others. I wish I could repay all of them for their willingness to act and for revealing their kindness.

I’m not perfect nor a perfect mom. Motherhood has shown me all of the weaknesses I didn’t know I had. Who knew I lacked patience? Who knew I had a temper? Who knew naps were the elixir of a well balanced life?

We’ve got to stick together. We all have good days and hard days. It’s so helpful to have positive words come unexpectedly. I’m trying harder to break out of my introvert shell and praise those doing a good job around me. I think it, but I struggle to say it. It means so much to me that the only way I can show my gratitude is by passing it on and becoming a God Wink to others.

It really does take a village… Even if the village is only there to share words of encouragement.