The 4 Words Every Mom Needs To Hear

“Motherhood is a sort of wilderness through which each woman hacks her way, part martyr, part pioneer; a turn of events from which some women derive feelings of heroism, while others experience a sense of exile from the world they knew.” (Rachel Cusk)

We all have a pretty clear idea of how we’re going to raise our children… Before we actually have them. Like many moms out there, the realities of mothering were in stark contrast with the theory.

My first baby turned out to be very intense. He would wake up hourly, and didn’t sleep through the night until I weaned him at age 3. His naps were about 15 minutes long, unless he was on me, nursing, in a rocking chair. That chair gave me such backaches I dubbed it “the God forsaken chair”. I quickly had to adjust from a diet of leisurely made freshly pressed green juices, gorgeous smoothies, homemade sourdough bread and kefirs, and other time consuming meals, to only some of my past staples, all made in a hurry with a fussy infant, usually in between mini naps — and lots of more convenient foods.

Both my neighbors and family members were disapproving of how I cared for my children. I was set on breastfeeding full term and co-sleeping, and while I was definitely in favor of preschool, I wasn’t going to send my boy to daycare even though I worked from home. This isn’t my idea of ideal parenting, but it is my idea of ideal parenting for my own, unique situation. Wonderful, loving parents come in all shapes and forms.

“Joanna does too much for her children” said my aunt to my father, expressing what so many people were thinking — either out loud or to themselves. But, my dad stopped her right there. His reply was quick.

“It is not for us to tell her how to raise her children. What we should tell her is “how can I help?””

How can I help?

These simple 4 words are what a mom needs to hear. Not “you should put your child in daycare.” Not “you should sleep train your child.” Not “you should be more relaxed about the food you feed your child.” None of that is useful. If anything, it makes a mom’s job harder by adding to her life the burden of dealing with criticism that isn’t, in the end, helpful at all.

How can I help?

If you see an overwhelmed mother, those 4 words are all she needs to hear. That being said, she may not even know how you can help her, so here’s a list of things you can do for her.

Vacuum and mop her floor.

Leave home 10 minutes early, and go to her house. Play with her children while she gets dressed alone, instead of throwing clothes on her back as fast as she can while a baby tries to climb up her legs.

Children are fussy in the evening. Bring her some take out, or make extra food for her.

If you’re out grocery shopping, pick up some extra items for her. Diapers, yogurt, eggs, frozen vegetables, bananas, protein bars, soup, juices, shampoo. Give her a call and see what she needs.

Bring her flowers and arrange them in a vase so she has some beauty in her day.

Fold her laundry.

Talk to her so she has some adult conversation. Spending your days with small children can sometimes make you feel as though your brain is shrinking.

Buy her books about mothering she might enjoy, like How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, or Peaceful Parenting, Happy Kids, or Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life: Or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child. Or books about things completely removed from parenting altogether.

Next time you see an overwhelmed mother, do not judge her. You both have different lives, different challenges, different upbringings, different ideals. Instead, ask her these 4 simple words.

How can I help?

About joanna

About Joanna Steven is an Amazon best-selling author, an attachment parenting mom to 2 boys, and a lover of food. Her mission is to inspire mothers and make their life easier so they feel nurtured, nourished, and better able to raise children in a peaceful way. She regularly updates her blog with delicious, wholesome recipes, and lifestyle tips for moms seeking to live motherhood to the fullest.

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