A Call to Action: Universal Mom Code of Conduct

We have lost our way. Somewhere along this crazy path of motherhood and modern society, something went wrong. How did it get to where we are judging each other instantly upon laying eyes on each other? Men are almost to be expected, but why are women eyeballing each other’s post-baby kangaroo pouches and making comments or asking if there is a bun in the oven? Why are new moms isolated and being rejected and feeling judged by other moms? Well, I am calling for a new code of conduct.

No Mom Left Behind

I just finished reading the incomparably hysterical Bunmi Laditan‘s Confessions of a Domestic Failure: A Humorous Book About a not so Perfect Mom. Do you know what struck me the most about it? It wasn’t the fossilized food under her couch or the fact that she accidentally ordered $8K of furniture. What struck me straight in the heart was that she was so alone. She tried and tried to find a Mom Tribe, and felt judged at every turn.

This is not acceptable. Unless you happen to be a Special Mommy Unicorn {like Skyler in the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting}, you have been there. I have been there. It is isolating. Especially for stay-at-home moms. You love that tiny person with every fiber of your being, but doggone it, she just isn’t a good conversationalist, and you would give your left arm {even though it’s where you carry your baby} for a grown-up interaction.

I propose a new No Mom Left Behind movement. Like Ashley in Confessions, if you see a mom struggling and looking downtrodden, lift her up. If she is losing a fight with the too-narrow door at the café, jump in and help. If she looks lonely, strike up a conversation. How many times did you wish you had a friend? What are the odds that you will be irritating her instead of shining a light of hope into her mommy-fogged world?

It shouldn’t matter if she is breastfeeding, formula feeding, or giving her infant spoonfuls of bat milk. {I hope that isn’t a thing, however.} Moms should stick together. No mom should ever despair of ever finding her tribe!

The Kind Comment Movement

I cannot be the only one who remembers that wise little Disney bunny whose mother told him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

When I had only two children, one of each gender, everyone I met {or walked past in the grocery store} had something to say about how I must be “done.” I had my girl, and I had my boy, so what business might I ever have with having more children?

Now, I have three children, and that classic “You sure have your hands full!” grates every bit as much as everyone said it would. Is there seriously nothing else to say? Why is that the default comment? And while it isn’t exactly snide, the implication that I must be on the edge of a breakdown at all times hasn’t escaped my notice. {How do they think people with four or more children survive?}

This is to say nothing of the post I recently read about having children that are all the same gender. Since my boy is sandwiched between sisters, this is not an issue I personally deal with, but good heavens! What are people thinking?!

I have even had someone ask me if my children are all mine. I have three! While still unbearably rude, I can sort of see the logic behind asking this of a mom with a family of eight or twelve, especially if they don’t resemble one another. {Still not your business!} But three? Three that all look just like me?

I propose that when you feel an urge to make a comment on the size / gender / general rowdiness of a family, instead, you pick one of the following:

  1. What a beautiful family!
  2. Your children are so well-behaved!
  3. They look just like you!
  4. What a good group of helpers you have there!

And finally, if you absolutely must question whether a woman is a kidnapper, at least try this one: “You are far too lovely to be a mother of seventeen!”

Not-So-Common Courtesy

How about we just agree to look on other moms as sisters? If there was ever a sisterhood, being a mom is it. If you see a mom struggling to keep her cool, reach out and see if you can help. We are not in high school anymore. Say hi. If you hear some primeval comment said by someone close by, speak up for her! Or at least commiserate with her afterward. {Sharing an eye-roll won’t take more than a second.}

See you out there. Please remember that we are all grown-ups, and we are all in this motherhood thing together.

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