Seattle Photographer’s Thoughts on Mom’ing’
Moms, it’s time we unite. It’s time we change the narrative. Let me set the stage. One fine afternoon, I took my son to the grocery store, and decided to treat him with a (free) cookie. He said he wanted the chocolate chip, but apparently, he wanted the sprinkles. I deciphered this as he laid on the grocery store floor writhing in emotional pain and screaming at the top of his lungs that he wanted “Spwwwinkkkleeeees!” As I walked away from his tantrum, I felt it: the burning eyes of moms everywhere judging me. I could hear their thoughts whisper in my ears like the proverbial devil on my shoulder.
“That child is such a brat.”
“Can you believe she just walked away?”
“She gave him a cookie?!”
My hands became clammy. I felt beads of sweat rise to a peak on my forehead. I snatched up my child, and ran far, far away from prying eyes.
During our next grocery trip, my special snowflake was practically perfect in every way and it was another mom’s turn. As her child writhed and screamed about the injustices of who knows what, I stared. I stared with empathy, understanding, and the desperate desire to help her. I nearly put a bottle of wine in her cart. How I felt her pain. Then I saw it. The clammy hands. The sweaty forehead. The snatch and run. She thought I was judging her. I suddenly joined in as the presumed leader of the Cruel Moms Club.
CHANGE the Narrative
What if the truth is that we all want to give each other a Hunger Games salute? What if nobody cares what, where or how you feed your baby, or if you’re walking away from a tantrum fueled toddler? What if instead of feeling judged we truly felt community, knowing that we have each others’ backs? We really aren’t glaring at one another; we’re looking for ways to help and to offer kindness without intruding. What if we all realized that there isn’t really a Cruel Moms Club, but just a Cool Moms Who Get It Club? What if?
A funny spoof video highlighted the different moms you’ll meet. We all identify with the self-deprecating basket case mother, but really, most of us aren’t total nutjobs. We just feel like it. We’re told that if we aren’t doing x,y, and z we’re failures, and that we should despise those moms who think we’re failures (news flash: they don’t think you’re a failure!). We take others strengths and interpret them as our weaknesses. Instead, let Health Food Mama make the school menu, and let Uber Organized Mom schedule the functions. Let’s do what we do with every other facet of our lives- appreciate each other for our strengths, and try our best to ignore and drown our weaknesses to pretend they don’t exist. Okay, perhaps we actually need to identify our weaknesses so that we can own them and be confident in them. Maybe then when our children are sprawled on the nasty floor of the grocery store, you can imagine the Cool Moms Who Get It Club staring at you with knowing, understanding eyes offering you loads of invisible margaritas.
What a beautiful world it would be, indeed.