It’s that knowing glance, the one from the mother across the aisle who sees you desperately trying to keep your cool as the toddler in your cart melts down in the middle of Target, yelling mean words, kicking and screaming. Just when you feel like everyone is judging you, you get that look, the one that says, “Man, have I been there before.”
It’s the stranger who holds the door as you head into the post office, pushing a stroller with one hand, package looped under your other arm. In your hardest moments, when you’re just trying to figure out how to accomplish everything on the to-do list with children in tow, those small gestures from strangers can be the difference between accomplishment and failure.
The fact of the matter is we can’t do this alone. We may feel like we’re going at it solo, but mothers are part of a tribe, The Mom Tribe. Whether it’s the best friend you can joke about running away with, or the checker at the grocery store who calms your children with stickers while you fumble for your credit card, you’re anything but alone.
Most of the time a favorite toy or a well-timed snack helps my son and I make it through the day’s errands. Sometimes though, it’s not enough. My son is in a mood and he loses his cool at the mall and I’m positive the people around me are contemplating calling CPS because I’m clearly doing something wrong here. But it’s those little moments where nearby moms say a gentle word, often in passing, that I remember, I’m not alone. We’re all going through this together. We distract each other’s crying babies, we pick up fallen toddlers, and we offer a kind “I’ve been there” as we walk by the overtired preschooler and his frazzled mother.
These interactions, these moments, they’re important. Feeling like you’re not screwing this all up is sometimes the only reminder needed to make it through hard days. And whether she knows it or not, the grandmother who gushes over my tiny human while I try to select the right cereal at Safeway, is my savior.
We may never exchange numbers, or even names, but we’ve got each other’s backs. The kindness of fellow mothers reminds me not only to appreciate the women who save my day without knowing it, but also to do the same for the ones I see in need. In those overwhelming moments, my tribe lets me know, we’ve got this, often without saying a word.