My family and I are often busy doing projects at the table near our front window, which means we get little snippets of the goings-ons in our neighborhood throughout the day. One day as we were sitting by the window, we saw a young mother with her two children walking past our house. It was a nice, sunny day–a perfect day to be out for a stroll. She was pushing her brand-new baby in a stroller, while her toddler shuffled along on his tricycle beside her. We watched as they happily crossed the street and went over to play at the park nearby.
It was about 30 minutes later when we saw this same mom heading back from the park, only this time she appeared to be completely distressed and frustrated. I watched curiously as she struggled across the road. She was trying to push her baby in the stroller with one hand, haul that heavy, metal tricycle in her other hand, and carry a screaming, kicking toddler under one of her arms.
I knew immediately what had happened because it happened to me as a young mother many times before. I know from experience that trying to get a toddler to leave the park is one of the hardest tasks in the world! We’ve all been there and it isn’t fun, especially when you have other children to take care of at the same time.
I felt instant empathy in my heart for this young mother, for I knew she was probably tired (because let’s face it, most new mothers are), overwhelmed, and frustrated that things weren’t going as planned on that sunny afternoon.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that I could ease her burden.
I quickly ran across the street to where she was. I smiled and offered my services. I took the tricycle in one hand and the toddler in the other, so she could be free to push her large stroller. The toddler instantly calmed down, surprised to see the arms of a complete stranger wrapped around him. The mother’s face also instantly changed from despair to peacefulness and gratitude. She only lived a few blocks away, but to her it might have been the longest few blocks she’d ever trudged had I not come to her rescue.
Her face lightened up again as she said goodbye and thanked me again for helping her out. “Thank you, you made my whole day!” she said and smiled, genuinely.
I walked home with a really good feeling inside, knowing that such a simple act on my part made such a huge difference in someone else’s day.
I then started to think of all the simple things other mothers have done for me these past eight years as a new mom. I recalled the time an older mom with teens helped me put my groceries into the car so I could tend to my crying newborn baby, or the time another mom opened the door for me at the library when she saw that my hands were full. I remembered when I was at the park with my baby on an unusually hot day and another mom brought me a large umbrella. And I recalled with fondness the time another mom, a complete stranger, gave me a cup of hot cocoa while I was standing in the cold at a winter parade with my small children. “For you, Mama,” she’d said.”You deserve to have a little fun, too!” She finished with a wink.
Finally, I thought of those early weeks with my newborn babies when other moms came to my rescue by bringing our family meals, tidying up our messy house, and answering my many, many breastfeeding questions.
These simple acts of kindness coming from other mothers have lifted my spirits on hard days, rescued me in difficult moments, and made me feel extremely special when I needed a boost.
That feeling of warmth and gratitude stayed with me all day that day and has further inspired me to be more mindful of other mothers around me. It can be something as simple as opening a door, or carrying a baby while another mom uses the restroom, or helping lift a heavy stroller over a tall curb–all of these little things add up and are greatly appreciated by moms.
Since we are all on this journey of motherhood together, I’d like to personally challenge myself to keep looking for ways to help other mothers along my path. After all, we mothers have a special knack for loving and nurturing. Let’s remember to love and nurture each other!
QUESTION: How have others helped you out in difficult or challenging moments with your children? How did it make you feel as a mother to have that kind of empathy and support?
CHALLENGE: Next time you see another mom who needs help, support, or attention, don’t hesitate to give her a hand.
Edited by: Rosie Liljenquist and Rachel Nielson.
Image from Shutterstock.