Summer is on the way which means many of us will end up at the playground or in other social gatherings more often than usual. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll be among other mamas in those situations and I see it as the perfect opportunity to build each other up. Days can be hard and the last thing we need is to feel worse. Let’s get in the habit of sharing kindness, compassion and open-mindedness. Try one, some or all of these nine ways to bring some light into a mama’s life:
Smile at her. Even if you’re feeling tired and it takes some effort, a smile can brighten anyone’s day.
Ask her how she’s doing. You may get the obligatory one word response but it could be just the opportunity she needs to share when she’s feeling like no one cares.
Listen to what she has to say. You are probably mama’ing at the same time but do your best to give her your attention and hear what she has to say. Try not to interrupt and listen until she’s finished. It may have been a long time since she felt like someone actually heard her.
Acknowledge her feelings. Sometimes that’s all it takes for a major breakthrough in a person’s life. Even something as simple as, “That sucks” or “That sounds so challenging” could be enough for her to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that how she’s feeling is just right.
Admit your trials and troubles. If you can tell she feels bad about letting her child watch three hours of TV so she could get a nap, tell her the last time you did something similar. Let her know that we all have different ways to get through the hard and long days.
Encourage her to keep doing what makes her feel good. Maybe she’s feeling guilty about her daily double latte or going somewhere all by herself. Remind her that we also all have (or at least want) to do these little things. Self care is so important! (Let this be my reminder to you that you can’t give as well from an empty cup.)
Sincerely compliment her. Whether it’s on catching her child before he bites it or how nice her hair looks or for getting to the park before dark – let her know that you noticed what she did.
Hug her. This may be a stretch if you’ve just met that morning but if she’s your friend or if you’ve met her a few times, ask her if she wants a hug. You know how good it can feel!
Unite. Maybe you won’t save the world today or even shower but growing our mama community can feel like we can conquer anything. We’re stronger together.
Please know, mamas, that we all have strengths and things we’re working on. Also know that no one has all their stuff together no matter what it looks like. We all have wishes, wants, troubles and struggles AND we have many successes each day. Let’s build each other up and recognize that doing the most important job in the world can be challenging and wonderful and that we’re all doing a good job at it. Seriously, you’re doing great.
Janine is a birth doula, prenatal yoga instructor, childbirth educator and mama to three boys. To learn more about her classes and birth services please visit www.rootedinlovedoula.com.
Janine Mason, CD, CYT
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