I'm traveling thirteen days in May. It all starts this week when I head to Orlando for our sponsor, Similac, to speak on a panel about supporting mothers. It's a casual Q & A session (the only public speaking I agree to anymore because I have four kids and anything more involved than that is logistically painful). In any case, I like to put some thought into these things so I've been pondering the idea of supporting moms. And I've decided that with motherhood, as with most things, the real key to support is understanding.
My sister moved in with us recently. She's a very practical, no-nonsense kind of person and it's been downright hilarious to hear the observations she makes about motherhood after helping me juggle it for awhile. “Two is the perfect number of children,” she'll say. “More than that is insanity, but one requires too much personal attention.”
In her downtime, she makes PB&J sandwiches to freeze for the boys in bulk before she arranges their clothes into matching sets to hang up for me.
This is a person who understands my challenges, has put thought into addressing them, and decided to take action. This is what support looks like.
Now, saying that I need support is not saying that I'm not strong. It takes real strength – motherhood kind of strength – to seek out support. I should also clarify that every mom needs a different kind of support. Not every mother has problems with sandwiches and matching clothing. Some of them just use Uncrustables or Lunchables, and are less neurotic about what their kids wear. But I'm obsessive and happen to have a family that winds up on-camera a lot, so these are my specific issues that need addressing.
I've definitely had people try to address parenting problems that I don't have. I had an OBGYN who tried to send me to a postpartum support group when I told her I didn't have enough hours in the day and needed more sleep. I have a solid support system in place, and it would be the opposite of helpful for me to schedule more meetings into my life.
Many moms need that kind of support, absolutely. I needed that support with my first son. Now, as a much busier person with more parenting experience under my belt, not so much.
Parents of multiple children and parents with children spaced out differently tend to have different concerns (it's a blessing and a curse, really, that there are certain mother hacks you only master after your kids completely overwhelm you). In addition to an infant and a couple older children, I also have a spazzy 2-year-old. He gets into EVERYTHING, so we have child locks on every single door of our home. I kindly request that anyone who comes to visit secures each room when they're done with it or I'll inevitably get up from feeding the baby and find a closet or desk or dresser ransacked.
Not typical, but again, motherhood looks different in every household.
Some moms need more help with dishes or toy storage or midnight feedings. I happen to be an organization ninja and my husband is great at handling wakeup calls, but we both get overwhelmed when it comes to school drop-offs. Having someone else around to occasionally run our oldest to kindergarten when mornings go haywire? That's HUGE for us!
This is the reality of motherhood. As much as we share a common bond, we're all unique in our approach. Each of us is strong enough to make our own decisions and set priorities based on our family's individual needs.
This understanding should help us support each other as opposed to dividing us in judgment.
For the last couple years, Nate and I have been working with Similac on campaigns to help share their messages of support for moms. Their newest video – released the week leading into Mother's Day – reinforces that idea with scenes of dramatically different moms who all have some things in common.
They're all being strong for their children, and they can use all the support they can get.
The setting may look different from home-to-home, but the love is the same. If you've ever dropped a rattle in a plateful of salad, shushed a crying baby at 3am, or thawed a frozen sandwich because it helped your morning go a little more smoothly, here's to you. You are understood. You are supported. You are strong.
[clickToTweet tweet=”All moms have two things in common. They're being strong for their kids, and they need support.” quote=”All moms have two things in common. They're being strong for their kids, and they need support.”]
Where do you look for understanding and support? Share the video and your answers with hashtag #SisterhoodUnite!
Similac partnered with influencers such as me to promote its Pro-Advance and Pro-Sensitive products. As part of this Program, I received compensation for my time. Similac believes that consumers and influencers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Similac policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.