Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to be More Helpful to Moms

A post Mother's Day blurb... Due to some recent experiences, I've been inspired to write something different today, something about being a more beautiful person.

Since becoming a mommy  almost a year ago (where did the time go?!) I have had much more appreciation for little "helps" from friends or random strangers. This is a collection of the helps I have either received or really wish I'd received, so think about doing some of these for the moms you know or randomly see :)

1) hold open a door

This simple and polite gesture we extend to others who are very capable of opening a door themselves, is inifitintely more appreciated by the mommy with the big stroller. Not that us power super moms aren't capable of opening a door and push a stroller through (we damn well are and do it all the time), but it is just so much easier when someone holds it open... We are talking 5 min struggle vs 5 sec breezy walk through. I have especially appreciated it when this help came from someone who wasn't immediately infront or behind me, and took special effort to come help.

2) offer to keep an eye on the baby at a party (just for a minute)

I usually only go to a party when it's a mommy/kids party, or when hubby is going too. Why? Cuz I just don't have enough hands to be dealing with the baby, try to socialize, and somehow try to fill my grumbling hungry tummy.  Regardless, I somehow ended up at a cocktail style event where I barely knew anyone other than the hosts, on my own with the little one in tow, and as I feared, ended up standing around awkwardly tending to her while everyone else ate and I looked on with envy. I did finally grow a thick skin and asked an acquantince to please just stand by the stroller and watch my kid while I quickly filled my plate with some nibbles and quickly returned to her side. So please, if you see a mommy looking awkward on her own at a party, offer to keep an eye on her kid for a minute so she can get something to eat. Then, I don't know, maybe say hi and start a conversation, she'll appreciate it :)

3) help lift a stroller (over steps, puddles, etc)

Downtown Toronto collects some big water puddles when it rains, and they are hard to avoid! I came up to a very deep one once, and paused for a second wondering how I'm going to get across without getting the bottom of the stroller and the diaper bag wet. There really wasn't a way around and I was literally stuck until a kind stranger came up behind me and offered to help me lift the stroller across. My shoes got wet as expected, but the diaper bag and stroller bottom was saved! I have carried the stroller myself before (luckily I have a light one) up stairs, and have had random strangers help me up the stairs as well, the difference is phenomenal. Believe me, though we moms might look like we're trying to exercise our biceps, we are not and help is hugely appreciated.

4) don't judge

There are some things in life we can do without, and we mommies would be much helped by not having people we barely know make judgemental comments about how we are raising our children.  Yes, if we are doing something dangerous that warrants a call to Children's Aid or the like, then please judge us and call someone.  Outside of that, if you think we're feeding the baby too little, too much, or dressed the baby too warmly, or not enough, please keep it to yourself. We moms judge oursevles the most harshly and are already prone to feelings of guilt and worry about what we're doing. We would be most helped by your encouragement, not your criticism. 

Overall, be more aware. When I have been offered help from random strangers versus having strangers walk on by without a glance, I believe a big difference between the two groups starts with  just being more aware of what's around them (then a kind heart that wants to help to make the act comes net). You can't help if you don't see it. So be more aware of what's around you next time you go somewhere, and see if you might be able to help someone!

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