My six-week old baby and I were flying home from the best reunion ever, she was snug and sound asleep, wrapped up next to my chest. I stood there in my planned out travel outfit, stylish yet decently comfortable with my coffee in my hand. I looked down the corridor and saw her, frantic, frenzied, in sweats and a large tee-shirt. Her hair pulled back and her eyes full of desperation. On one hip, a chubby little baby, stripped down to the diaper, wailing. In her other arm, a diaper bag, a soiled outfit, and an umbrella stroller trying to keep up. For a moment, I wanted to raise my eyebrows, but my heart spoke louder and I wanted to help.
There is a lady who lives in our building, I often hear her escaping outside for a cigarette. Mother of two year old twins, long-term fiancé to man who prematurely moves around with a walker and thus is not employed. Neither of them work, and their disputes and door slamming can be heard from across the building and up the stairs. I hate that I have to breathe in her addiction as I approach my front door. But, as she sits numbingly looking forward, I know my attempts to avoid eye contact would make her feel even more invisible, so I try to remember a smile.
I was talking with a friend about how she is so cautious to ever discuss her parenting decisions with family, because of the waves of negative feedback that often follow. This morning I read an article from a blogger that I enjoy about her own thoughts on motherhood, the comments were an onslaught of judgment, hateful, spiteful, and ungracious words.
As women, mothers, wives, heck, as people, we are constantly battling something: for our marriages, families, finances, faith, careers, hopes, dreams, that impossible customer service department, and even our sanity. Why must we battle each other too?
How powerful would it be, if instead of our opinions, our judgments, our scowls…
we tried grace.
To the one with the screaming child in the grocery store, because that was probably you yesterday. To the one who dares to show a bit of vulnerability, by saying, hey today is rough.. To the lady whose fashion choices are forlorn, because every last bit of her soul might also be. And yes, even to the one who doesn’t parent like you do.
Whether you think you are saving the planet or your wallet with your cloth diapers or happily keep target in business with disposables, whether you stand by this parenting book or that one, whether you choose to work outside of the home because of preference or necessity, whether vaccinations are helpful or hurtful, public school or home school or un-school, it goes on and on. It seems that once you decide what is best for your child or even yourself, you must then defend your decisions to anyone in sight.
If we stopped fighting against each other, won’t we have more energy to be better for ourselves, our families, or jobs? If we offered grace, we could save each other from one less struggle, opposition, or frustration.
And wouldn’t that make a huge difference?
I suppose this might apply to people without children too, but I could be wrong.