I had an experience recently that made me want to issue a challenge to moms everywhere. I was at Aldi (did I mention once or a hundred times that I LOVE Aldi?) during spring break with all three of my kids. While at the bagging counter a woman next to me said, “I really like how you’re raising your kids.” All I did was ask them to help me by putting items from the cart onto the bagging counter. It’s amazing what one person’s mompliment (compliment on another mom’s parenting skills) can do for a tired, overwhelmed or stressed out mama.
Encouragement in Aisle 1
I read this article on the Huffington Post, which relates a very similar experience. It’s odd that the few times I’ve had a stranger compliment me on my parenting it’s always been at the grocery store. Maybe other mothers just get how hard it is to juggle children while grocery shopping. You must simultaneously keep your children close to you and out of the path of displays and other patrons’ carts while hunting for the items on your list.
God bless the parents who also show understanding and compassion on those days this juggling act just doesn’t go as planned and some balls (or jars of spaghetti sauce) hit the floor. I know I’ve personally turned to the mother in the checkout line behind me whose child has just dropped a glass jar on the floor and said, “Don’t worry. My child has done that before too.”
Broken Glass and Break Downs in Aisle 2
I get that it’s embarrassing when your children do something wrong or have a tantrum in public. The reality is that it happens to the best of us at some point or another and it really doesn’t reflect poorly on our parenting skills. We all have bad days and we should be able to turn to one another in these moments and say, “You know what Mama, it’s going to be ok.” One bad day or moment doesn’t define you as a parent.
Seasoning and Wisdom in Aisle 3
I’ve noticed a trend. It’s usually the seasoned parents whose children are now teenagers or grown adults that are the most likely to point out your parenting wins and compliment you. Perhaps they’ve just had time and space from the season of raising young children, and can look back and appreciate those mamas still in the trenches of parenting little people with little to no impulse control. I don’t think we should wait that long though. We can start recognizing the good in others right now no matter what season of parenting we’re in.
Challenge and Change in Aisle 4
At my mom’s group at church this week I told them about my experience and how it affected me and I offered up a challenge. Tell one stranger that they see out in public that they’re doing something right with their kids.
The internet is full of parents shaming one another and I for one am tired of it. We’re better than that. We don’t need to make each other feel bad in order to make ourselves feel better. When we’re having a bad day, we need to extend ourselves a little grace and forgiveness and we need to extend it to other parents as well.
Attention and Praise in Aisle 5
So I’m issuing this challenge to parents everywhere if you choose to accept it. Take a moment to go out of your way to notice another parent totally rocking it; whether it’s helping their child at the park, reading to them at the library or just taking their kids on a walk in the neighborhood and say, “You’re doing a great job!” We all need to hear it sometimes.
Think about the impact one little mompliment could have on those around us. When we choose to lift each other up it not only impacts our lives, but the lives of our kids as well.
Mompliments and World Change in Aisle 6
It’s not that I really believe this challenge will change the world, what I believe is that it will change one person and that’s really all you need to do to change the world. When we stop worrying about the impossible, just maybe we summon the courage to do what is possible.
Let us know you participated in the #momplimentchallenge and how the recipient responded. If you’re so inclined, take a selfie with the parent and share it as well. Don’t forget to tag it #momplimentchallenge.
Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.