Momplimenting. It’s a new verb that I hope will sweep the nation.
We all know about momshaming. It happens all the time, everywhere, every way. I clearly recall the first time it happened to me. I was out of the house for one of the first times by myself with newborn twins. It was a beautiful day so we went out for a walk. I had hot coffee. So much was right in the world in that moment. A cranky old lady stopped me and asked why I didn’t have hats on the girls’ heads. Hats, on this 60 degree day. Just thinking about it today brings the flush back to my face and the pit to my stomach. All of my pride in momming came to a crashing halt.
Recently, I went out to lunch with my parents and my two (now one-year-old) girls. They are really well-behaved when we dine out, but they are still toddlers and we’re kept on our toes. You know, knife almost in the mouth, straw on the floor, near grab of my open and full cup of soda, squealing, screaming, shouting, slobbering. True, they could be much, MUCH worse, but I desperately try to keep up and feel like a hot mess mom.
As I take the first bite of my lunch despite both girls nearing the end of theirs, I see a woman walking towards us. A woman I had seen glancing over at our table during her own lunch. I bristle, knowing she’s coming over to tell us we shouldn’t have them out in a restaurant or that we’ve ruined her lunch.
She leaned over to me and said, “You are a really good mom.”
Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. She went on, “Truly, you’ve got two of them, that’s a lot! You are so patient and kind with them, we need more of that in this world. You’re doing a great job.” By now, I’m in full-blown sobs, thanking her profusely.
You guys, we really need more of her.
There is no rule book when it comes to parenting. It’s a really hard job with no clear expectations or annual review. There’s rarely confirmation you’re doing something right and a lot of chances to second guess ourselves. Perfectly curated Pinterest moms all over Instagram. Moms who clearly worked out, showered, and put on makeup before they made the same trip to the grocery store that you did. Direct and indirect momshaming is everywhere.
So I’m proposing we make momplimenting a thing. The majority of moms you see out in the wild are doing the best job they can. If you see a mom struggling, don’t just flash that “been there, done that” smile; instead, tell her she’s doing a great job. When you see a hot mess, think, “She could use a boost!”
Here’s a bonus tip, free of charge: if you see a mom with multiple children, try, “Look at you juggling all of this out in public! Good job!” No one needs to be told, “You’ve got your hands full.” It’s the equivalent of saying, “You’ve got brown hair.” If you can SEE how full my hands are, you can bet your bottom I currently FEEL how full they are.
Parenting is not easy. In fact, sometimes, it is really, really hard. We could all stand to hear we’re doing a great job more often. Let’s make this trend happen by liberally momplimenting everywhere we go. And in case you didn’t hear it yet today, you are doing a great job, Mama!