My five year old son recently started Kindergarten and has been slowly growing out of his anxiety about… well, most things. When he came home talking about his "new" best friend, I was thrilled. I wrote a note for his friend’s mom, and sent it to school with him. Days went by, weeks went by… and then finally, after about a month, I got an email to try to arrange a play date. I’m thrilled.
Should I have them over to our house or do we meet somewhere? I begin to worry about many things that might affect the outcome of this play date. This is my son’s very first best friend, and I will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that it goes perfectly. I realize after a few emails back and forth, that I’m not worried about two boys having fun. I’m stressed about meeting this other mom.
My son has a birthday party that requires my husband to pick him up from on a Sunday that I’m working. I get home and I immediately drill him with questions about the party and more importantly who was there. He kind of laughs and tells me that he knows exactly which mom will be meeting me next week for our play date. Hmm… this can’t be a good sign. He informs me that, "She’s a Yummy Mommy." I know he’s just joking, but what does that mean exactly?
It means that she’s got legs that are twice the length of mine. It means that her hair is perfectly straightened without a single piece of hair out of place. It means that she is immaculately put together on a Sunday afternoon with knee high boots, designer sunglasses and a great jean jacket to boot. Now I’m stressed. We’re so different… we’re not going to get along. This play date is going to go terribly. It will be three hours of awkwardness and mommy competing.
Before you know it, I am getting us ready for our play date. I look in my closet. Hmm… no designer labels, not even a jean jacket. Crap. I decide to just be myself. Okay, maybe I won’t wear my bright pink crocs in the middle of winter, but I am definitely wearing my comfy jeans and zip up fleece. After all, we are meeting at an indoor play gym.
We arrive almost on time and I look around. I don’t see my son’s friend. And then the door opens… and I know right away that this is the mom that I have been stressing about all week. She’s immaculately put together. We say our hellos and the kids take off running. I remind myself that honesty is perhaps one of my best qualities, and I start the conversation by talking about my son’s anxiety. I share how ecstatic I am that my son has made such a great friend. She opens up about her son’s potty training struggles. I tell her about my son breaking his collarbone. She talks about struggling with working full time. Now the ball is rolling. Where are our kids? I totally forget that this is their play date.
So, I guess what I want to get across is that I was blinded by the judgment that we’ve all had at one time or another from another mom. I was so worried that this other mom would judge me, that I didn’t even realize that I myself was guilty of judging her based on appearances. The fact of the matter is that despite so many differences, me and this other mommy had one obvious thing in common… motherhood. As soon as I put my guard down and revealed the honest truth… that being a mom has it’s challenges… she did the same.
So, next time you have a new play date with another mom, instead of looking in your closet for what you’re not… simply tell another mom the truth. Tell another mom that you have bad days. Tell another mom that you make mistakes. Tell another mom that you don’t love every minute of motherhood. And lastly, tell another mom that she’s doing a great job. You’d be surprised with what you might get in return.
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