Last week my family was at Disney World, and, as any parent can attest, it’s truly the happiest place on earth . . . until it isn’t.
I was leaving the park one afternoon when I happened upon a mom pushing a stroller with her infant. Nothing unusual there, but it’s what was going on in her other arm that had me (and everyone else) watching.
She was carrying her screaming toddler in a football hold of sorts while he threw the tantrum of all tantrums. It’s nearly impossible to make a scene at a theme park with all of its inherent chaos, but the lungs on this toddler were no match for this mom trying to quietly escape an escalating parenting predicament.
Determination in the trenches.
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I’ll never forget the look of determination on her face as this sweet mama made a beeline for that exit as fast as she possibly could go.
But I’ll also never forget what happened next as I watched mom after mom approach her with the most genuinely sympathetic smiles and precious words of encouragement.
“You’ve got this mama.”
“You can do it, you’re almost there.”
“You’re a good mom, don’t let this get you down.”
“You’re not alone, we’ve all been there.”
I was profoundly touched by the sisterhood of motherhood I experienced at that moment: a bond strong enough to compel complete strangers to stop and encourage one of their own. (And yes, I realize a screaming toddler at a theme park is not the biggest crisis in the whole scheme of parenting, but I also know it kind of feels that way when you’re in the moment.)
It’s from that seemingly simple moment I knew I needed to write these words for every mom with a metaphorical football hold on your babies, clinging to them as you fight through the most challenging places of raising kids in today’s culture.
This goes out to all of us in the trenches of parenting, facing days so often filled with no recognition, little reward, and seemingly no relief.
Prayers of truth . . .
So, sweet _______ (insert your name here—like seriously, do it), here’s some truth I’m praying will resonate with you today:
You are loved.
You are significant and have purpose outside your role as a mom.
Your worth is not defined by the momentary successes and failures of your kids.
You don’t have to keep up the perfect appearance because nobody has it completely figured out.
What you do each day matters and is seen.
It’s OK to ask for help and invite others into your struggle.
You’re in this for the long game, so don’t let today’s setbacks choke out tomorrow’s hope.
You are getting it right more than you’re getting it wrong.
This is hard.
You don’t own every bad decision your children make.
It’s OK to be disappointed when things don’t go as you had always dreamed.
You’re not alone.
You’ve got this
You might never pass by me with your laser-focused face, clinging tightly to your baby, but please know I see you—we see you. And even though I may not know you personally, I know your walk.
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And so for all of you facing another sleepless night with a colicky baby or for those mamas tearfully contemplating how you’re going to drop your baby off at college . . . you’ve got this.
And to those of you fiercely advocating on behalf of your child with learning differences or even nursing a broken heart for your child who struggles socially . . . it’s going to be OK.
You’re a part of the greater sisterhood of motherhood, and we will leave no woman behind.
Be strong and trust your God-given discernment as you shepherd your kids in the hard places each day.
And as you’re racing around doing all the things it takes to raise these precious little people, make time to encourage the sisterhood walking alongside you. Share these words with your people.
Show up unexpectedly with a latte and some Kleenex. And forge a judgment-free zone all around you so you can humbly step into someone else’s hard story.
Parenting is one of life’s greatest privileges, but also one that carries some of our hardest burdens. You belong to an amazing sisterhood of motherhood—and because of that, you will never walk alone.