Have we met all the designated milestones? Are we in the right preschool or programs?
Have we been doing gymnastics since the womb in order to make the US Olympic team?
Let's pile on a few hoops, shall we?
A good friend, while nursing her newborn, once asked me, "Do I look like I know what I am doing? Like I deserve to be a mom?" We want to look like we can manage. We are wired for relationship and connection and yet are pitted against one another. Our educational systems rank us, our socioeconomic status can cripple us. Our labels precede us.
Labels like "single mom," "working mom," "at-home mom," and "military mom" identify our realities but can also leave us unfairly isolated. Children with special needs or unique situations bring life-changing questions to the table that are often misunderstood or flat-out ignored. Terms like "older mom," "teen mother," "blended family," or "adoptive mom" fly around our social circles, often landing with a sting.
Most of us know the heartache that comes from careless assumptions, judged for what appears as truth rather than the honest reality of our very hearts and souls. And yet we still crave connection. That is good news! The very design of our lives is to be together in life-giving relational circles. To find a daily rhythm that makes space for others is one consistent cry of a mother's heart.
We do not have to compete.
We can rally together with our pile of imperfections. We can celebrate the march of time.
We can bond over messy houses and stretch marks. Together, we can mock Snooki and the lack of any reality on TV.