“Enjoy them now while they’re little!”
“Oh, I’d give anything to go back to that age again.”
“Just wait til she’s a teenager!”
I hear these sentences or something similar at least once a week. Usually more. Often from strangers, but from close people, too. And I smile and laugh and tell them that I’m doing my best and yes, my hands are full.
This post is not just for the young moms. This is for all of us. Those with tiny babies. With toddlers. With elementary agers. With teenagers. With grown kids who have their own kids.
Guys. Girls. Ladies. Whatever.
We need each other.
And since I’m speaking from the toddler age – I need you who have been there before. I know you mean well. I know when you tell me to enjoy every minute that you truly mean it, because you probably wish you could go back and do some things differently. And it’s your way of trying to encourage me.
But if I’m honest, it doesn’t feel encouraging. It feels a little bit crushing, like I’m doomed to fear my future because of regret and the looming dark age of teenagers.
Because right now, I’m focusing on sleeping when I can, feeding the little people and making them presentable for the world. I’m trying to love my husband and be wise and create a home that I love to be in.
This whole thing may come off snarky, and I promise it’s not my intent. I just want us to change what’s normal. Desperately, maybe unknowingly, we are seeking connection. Those of you who have gone through it all have so much wisdom and experience to share. And those of us who are in the trenches are desperate for it, whether we know it or not.
But somehow, our attempt at connection gets misconstrued and it turns into a competition. I know it doesn’t feel like you’re trying to compete. But when we don’t know how to simply support someone else by validating their time of life, we’re trying to build ourselves up instead of building them up. Or maybe we just aren’t really sure how to interact, so we just kind of throw out whatever sentence makes the most sense. Whether we’re in the same phase or different times of life, what would happen if we just let others be where they are?
Instead of connecting through competition,
let’s connect through validation.
What if we used words like:
“I know what you’re doing is so draining right now. I see you.”
“You’re doing an amazing job.”
“Your children will be blessed because of how you’re raising them.”
Listen,I know it goes fast. I know I need to be more present. I know I should clean less and play more. Our world has turned us against each other without us having any clue that it’s happened. We’ve subconsciously learned to tell people who may be a few years behind us in life that it only gets harder.
I just can’t see this as God’s way for women; for moms. I’m pretty sure this is what He’s saying to us instead:
“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.” [1 Thessalonians 5:11]
“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out…” [Hebrews 10:24]
Let’s do that instead. Let’s be together in this. Instead of throwing out a sentence to another woman out of our own insecurity, let’s work on our creativity. How inventive can we be in encouraging each other? Let’s build up hope. Let’s encourage. Let’s love.
What would happen if women went out of their way to validate each other, calling out the God in them?
I’m pretty sure the whole world would change.