Recently I touched base with a friend I've known for most of my adult life but lost connection with when we moved to Alberta four and a half years ago. She emailed me after reading a few blog posts which resonated with her, and we got talking about our kids, and she expressed relief that I was willing to share some of Ava's fears as she found similarities with one of her children in reading what we were going through.
She said she felt less alone, knowing that someone else was struggling with some of the same things. I loved the chance to reassure her that her child was fine, and she was doing well as a mother, and that beating ourselves up because our kids are not the same as other kids is a useless exercise.
Our kids are our own, and we know them like no one else does. If we offer them an invitation to exist in our presence, with all of their strengths and weaknesses on display, we can build up their confidence instead of tearing it down. It benefits everyone to be encouraged and supported. It works to advance positivity and happiness in a way that nothing else can touch. I want my kids to go into the world as adults knowing this in their bones.
We all have so much to give to each other. A kind word, a compliment, a sense of "I've been where you are and lived to tell the tale" can radically alter the course of a person's day. It's more than simply paying it forward. It's a choice, each and every day, to contribute to the negative gossip you hear, or to rise above it and try to say something nice instead of hurtful.
I'm honoured that my friend reached out to me. I'm thrilled that she identified with something I've struggled with, and that it made her feel better instead of worse to share her own concerns and hear that she is doing just fine, and that her child is okay too. We all need permission from others every now and again, as it shores up our own confidence to have someone affirm the job we are doing.
Mothering can be very lonely, especially when you feel judged by others. Reach out to someone else, giving what you can from your own experience, to help them in their journey. It helps you know that you are not alone. Once the connection is made, both of you will be further along than you were before, and life filled with community is better than feeling isolated.