Moms of young children are going through the fight of their lives. Marathons. Exhaustion. Change of identity. The best of times and the worst of times.
The things people say to young mothers are awful. Cliché. Atrocious.
Perhaps the problem is that mothering is so common and familiar that others have a comfort level that there shouldn’t be. Others are quick to offer commentary and correction. Assessment is common. We have phrases like “mommy wars” and “Home/Battleground”.
Over the past three years I’ve watched the difference between the comments I often field and the comments my husband receives. The difference is staggering. Amusing, really. I am fortunate to be married to a man in uniform, which makes me wonder… what if soldiers in battle fielded the same comments that mothers do as they push screaming toddlers around, try to teach manners and sharing, or get caught raising their voice? Hmm…
If you wouldn’t say it on the battlefield, don’t say it to a mom.
When seeing a dirty soldier carrying a heavy load, would you stand and watch him try to open the door alone while just staring in awe? Tell him what a hard job he has? Critique his skills? Say, “Better you than me” with a chuckle?
Would you look at a man who has been up all night facing noise, liquid, lack of food and all manner of grossness for another and then say, “You look exhausted!” and make a joke about under eye circles or a need to shower?
Would you chastise a leader for yelling or being rough with the troops during a fire fight? Then why the mother who yells when her son is bungee jumping off the roof by a jump rope?
Would you regularly check in to see how much exercise or hang-out time a soldier had this week?
Would you watch a soldier face more challenging circumstances than expected and then say, “I’m glad God picked you and not me” or “Watching you makes me not want to go into the military.” (Oh wait…that’s happened to him too. Scratch that one.)
Would you ask a wounded warrior if he would change his circumstances if he had known what would happen even though he knew it was a possibility? (If you would, don’t. Don’t ask it about a kid born with special needs either. It doesn’t matter and it can’t be changed.” )
Take heart, Mommies who love with fierceness and instruct with the discipline of a Drill Sergeant.
We are in a war for the hearts, minds, and successes of our children. We have days in the trenches. We go without sleep, food, and water. We pick our battles. We put on our Spiritual Armor. Some of us also do it while our husbands face the things that give us these sayings.
Fellow moms, thank you for your service.
To the men in uniform who love us and then come home to be our reinforcements, thank you. We love you. You amaze us.