Thursday, March 2, 2017
I sent my oldest child to school yesterday, like millions of other parents across the world. We walked the brisk walk down to the bus stop, the wind whipped our hair. She asked, again, for me to drive her and Theo to school so she wouldn't have to take the bus. All of the sudden she didn't feel well. I couldn't take her that day, the bus had to happen. As the bus appeared at the end of the street, I could see her fighting back tears. She grabbed for my hand and walked towards the bus, even though she didn't want to get on it. I was telling her that I loved her, that I was so proud of her, that she was being so brave, and then I found myself saying this: we can do hard things. For those of you who follow Momastery, that phrase will be a familiar mantra. The author of Momastery, Glennon Doyle Melton, refers back to those five words often.
Later on I was messaging some of my high school friends in a group text titled "Mom's Bitch Fest." We are, obviously, all moms now and it's our safe place to rant and bitch and roll our emoji eyes at the moms who have it together (see Amber Fillerup on IG). We were talking about how some days it feels like all our kids do is watch movies, and how getting out of bed feels like a monumental task. And then, inevitably, we turned to comparing ourselves to other moms, or just people in general, who have much harsher realities than we do. Right now, there are people dying of cancer, dying from war. There are people who don't have clean water. There are people who can't have babies, there are people who just lost their baby. There are people who just got divorced. There are people who don't have homes, or don't know how they will make it to the next paycheck. There are people without paychecks.
It seems silly to lament about putting my teary eyed girl on a big yellow bus so she can go to school for free when there are undoubtedly harder things in this world.
And yet, that was hard for her. It was hard for me. I felt that familiar mom-ache deep inside my chest cavity.
I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that motherhood, and life in general, isn't a contest, right? It's not about keeping score, but it is about keeping people, and keeping a healthy perspective. It's about being empathetic in little so that we can be empathetic in much. It's about loving our neighbors and our kids, and pushing them to do the hard things that won't break them, so that when they get to the life altering, really hard and harrowing painful stuff, they might be able to come out of it alive, while still being able to empathize with the little kid who's scared of the big yellow school bus.
There are varying degrees of hard, and we'll all likely find ourselves on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between throughout our lives. But we can do hard things. Let's be kind to each other.