You know her. You’ve heard of her. You’ve seen her. You’ve given her the one-two eyebrow raise before. She’s that crazy mom you said you’d never be.
She’s the mom who hovers a little too closely. The one who won’t let her kid do anything by himself. The gal who clings a little longer than necessary, doesn’t let her baby cry it out (or lets her cry too long), or brings the little one into the doctor for every bump, scratch, or sniffle.
She seems a little looney by your standards and you’ve had a guffaw or three at her expense. She’s made you feel superior and has led you to think that you’re doing a pretty bang up job at this mom thing.
Well you’re welcome, because this week I was that mom. O caught his dad’s cold on Tuesday and by Wednesday it had morphed into a bad case of croup. His tiny little chest caved in with exertion to inhale and with every laborious pull of that oxygen came whistles and wheezes and gurgles and I let myself get terrified. I wasn’t sure if I believed in happy endings and things turning out like they should. What if my little boy was that one percent? It wouldn’t be the first time for us. I let myself go down that path mentally and I couldn’t reign it back in. The fear consumed me.
Ok, that was intentionally dramatic, but I was feeling all of those feels on Tuesday night when my ever-patient husband hauled us into the ER of my choosing (no small town for me, we needed to be close to the Children’s Hospital just in case—translation: 45 minute drive instead of 10). We were there far too late into the night while our little boy got poked and prodded. It was a good thing we brought him in, they said; do they always say that to the wide-eyed, scared looking mom?
I even made excuses to the doctor—when he asked what was wrong with O, I lamely commented that we don’t usually bring him in for a cold, but…”Babe, that’s not what he asked,” Ethan gently interjected while I bumbled around for the right words to dismiss my paranoia. He’s good at keeping me on track like that, especially when I’m letting my crazy show.
Crazy or not, I felt better. My anxiety was relieved, our boy was going to be taken care of, and we could keep moving forward. O is still fighting off the lingering effects of his cold, but I’m no longer tempted to melt into a puddle of tears because of the what ifs.
So here’s the thing: the next time you’re tempted to auto-disengage with a mom’s feelings because she seems too fill-in-the-blank-with-your-best-mommy-superiority-complex, cut that business out. Be nice and attempt to empathize. We all operate on a different system of emotional triggers, life experiences, genetic make-ups, and personality nuances. We are all special snowflakes, so let that mama have her moment. Let her love and take care of her baby (even if he is 17 years old) in the best way that she knows how. Isn’t that how you’d want to be treated? The golden rule is a beautiful thing, folks.
Oh, and by the way, I’m writing this post largely to myself because I am a prideful lady who takes great pleasure when I get to imagine I’m doing a better job than Sally over there. It’s ugly, but it’s true. I like it when my ego is stroked, don’t you? It’s rather intoxicating when I get to hang out in my “I’m such a great mom” bubble.
But do you know what’s even more fulfilling? Letting that bubble pop, stepping out, and encouraging the mom who’s not so sure she’s doing a good job. Because sooner or later, you’ll find yourself wondering if you’re really cut out to raise up tiny humans into respectable adults, and you’ll need a friend to come give you a boost.
Don’t be a gross bubble mom. Be the world-changer mom who sees beyond herself.
Be that mom.