Recently, I’ve been noticing you. No, not your squawking infant, wiggling toddler, and/or loud band of ragamuffins… Sure, I notice them, but I see you.
I see the patience you have for your little ones. I see the battle you fight with yourself to maintain peace and love when times are trying. I see that you do sag under the weight of the withering stares and condescending whispers of those that would ask too much. Just because you have patience does not mean you’re heartless with no feelings.
Your job isn’t easy, and I’ve recently discovered just how hard it can be. I know you fight hard to stay positive, and how you try to stand against the pressures from those around you. I know you are not unaffected by the negativity, and I know sometimes you’d rather not go anywhere you might possibly offend someone.
I understand that sometimes the anxiety of a loud baby discovering the world doesn’t feel worth the hate you might experience from those who don’t get it, and that you might rather stay home. I know that if you could wish a perfect world into existence, one where there isn’t an embarrassingly loud diaper blowout mid prayer, and one where you can simply feed your child without the arching back, squeals of frustration, and thrashing around, you would. I know all of this, because I’m five months in, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon.
I see that when you are facing forward, stoically, and your child is dancing in your lap, pulling your hair down, and laughing at the people behind you during Mass, that you’re doing your best to be the best mother you can be…and sometimes that means letting it go and focusing on the words of Jesus being spoken.
When your child is putting all her fingerprints on the windows of a house that isn’t yours, when your child comes and begins pulling out all of the contents of my diaper bag and handing them to me, or when your child eyes the bottle containing the last few drops of pumped milk that isn’t his, I see you struggle to ever desire another outing among the public again. But from one mom to another, you are wonderful. Please stay.
If that diaper bag is mine, I don’t care. If that bottle is my baby’s, let’s laugh together. If those windows belong to me, window cleaner abides. What stands out to me is not the chaos. It’s how you respond to the chaos when I know what you’re feeling. I have the utmost respect for you no matter how crazy your crew might get, and when you gently encourage and guide your little one in those times, you encourage and guide me too!
When you let your little one make some noise without shushing them during conversation, you might not know it, but another mom is breathing a sigh of relief. When you sit patiently in Mass with a few beside you that have the wiggles, another mom quietly slips behind you and wishes she could whisper to you, “thanks for being here today.”
Your ceaseless patience, and perseverance during tiresome moments does not go unnoticed. You are a picture of Christ with His limitless patience and love for humanity. Perhaps the things that get said are the negative comments, and perhaps you’re feeling worn thin from them. But even if there are a dozen condescending strangers, there may be another stranger who needs you to keep being you.
Keep coming out with your gaggle of loud chickadees. Keep soaking in his Word in Mass. Keep shepherding with gentility, humor, and love, for this is your ministry.
A Mom who sees you, and needs you