To the mom I swore I’d never be,

I just want to say I’m sorry. 

I saw you before I had kids of my own. And I judged you. I swore I would never be you. Now that I am a mother myself, I AM you. And I finally get it. Oh, how I wish I had shown you grace.

You were the mom who didn’t discipline your kid in the store. 

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How could you just ignore your child throwing a temper tantrum because you wouldn’t let him have a lollipop? If that were my child, I would leave my cart and take him straight to the car!

Now I realize you were choosing your battles. 

You were out of diapers and milk and had to skip nap time to run to the grocery store. It wasn’t his fault he was overly tired. You were being a good mom by not giving in to him. I can see that now, but I couldn’t see it then. Leaving that cart was easier said than done. You NEEDED those Pampers and milk. Instead of seeing your patience, my ignorance chose to see a spoiled child throwing a fit due to a lack of discipline. 

I wish I had offered to buy those diapers and milk for you or tried to console your toddler.

You were the mom who was always frazzled and unorganized.

If she would just get it together, she wouldn’t always be so stressed out.

Now I realize you were doing the best you could. You were trying to juggle three active kids while working full-time with a husband who traveled for his job. It’s not your fault your boss sprang a project on you last minute. That extra 15 minutes put you in traffic, causing you to be 30 minutes late picking up your first kid, making him late to practice, causing a ripple effect to your other two kids.

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No wonder you seemed frazzled. You thought you had it together but one small adjustment in your schedule threw off your entire night. 

Why didn’t I offer to take your kid to soccer? Or drop off dinner when I knew your husband was out of town?

You were the mom who never looked put together.

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. How hard is it to put on a little makeup?

Now I realize there are soooo many more important things in life than lip gloss. It’s not about letting yourself go, it’s about putting little tiny humans’ needs in front of your own and always putting yourself last. It’s about becoming a selfless human when you enter motherhood and leaving your old self-absorbed life behind. Brushing your hair isn’t even on your radar when you have two minutes to leave the house and you smell a poopy diaper.

How vain was I to even think this way?

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I feel ashamed for not having more compassion. I’m embarrassed it took having children of my own to show empathy. I regret not lending a helping hand when needed. I feel blind that even though I saw you, I didn’t SEE you. 

But I see you now, momma. 

I’m looking in the mirror. 

And I’m not even wearing lip gloss.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Amber Kruse

Amber is a professional Accounting Manager by day and a train wreck mother by night. She is a wife and mother to four children ages 5-15. She gets through life on copious amounts of coffee, lots of humor, wine by the box and tons of laughter usually brought on by her kids’ shenanigans. You can view her Facebook page at The Motley Kru by Amber Kruse.