let’s hug.

“You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who’ve never had any.” (Bill Cosby)

Truer words have yet to be spoken.

I confess, I was a little afraid of myself pre-parenting. I thought I would fight the comparison-game, size up other parents and wonder whose kid was better at eating organic carrots. I envisioned long days sitting outside of pre-school pickup, dodging other moms with fear of judgment and scowling.

But I’ve been shocked (and relieved) to find the very opposite. When I see a mom of three shoving goldfish into her kids’ mouths in the checkout lane, trying desperately to get them to be quiet and leave the store with limbs attached, all I think to myself is, “Solidarity, Momma. Solidarity.” Or when I see a mom going through the Drive-Thru at McDonald’s ordering a 3rd round of chicken nuggets, I just think, “Do work, girl. Do. Work.”

And just when I thought I was heading into the most judgmental season of life, where moms everywhere stared at one another and we all wanted to hide, I found the opposite. Instead I found companionship, support, and love. My inbox flooded with prayers, support, and encouragement. All I really feel is one big metaphorical hug from Mom-land.

I know Mom-wars are out there, but I haven’t fought them. What I’ve found instead is a group ready to support, give pats on the back in the grocery store, offer a shoulder on the strung-out days, and laugh when someone’s kid is having a meltdown in Aisle 8. We’re trying. We’re all trying. And I could care less if you bottle-feed or breastfeed, co-sleep or have-that-baby-in-the-crib-on-night-one, stay-at-home or send your kids to daycare. You know what? We’re all trying. And we’re all different. Let’s hug.

Cheers to you, Mommas. And an extra-special thanks to those of you working hard to make this space one that’s ready to embrace those of us who still aren’t wearing mascara in public. We know we look a mess, and we’re thankful for you.

By the way, this is what Keegan really looked like yesterday. Image

just you wait

“Oh, just you wait. Just you wait until you have two kids.”

You’ve been there, right? You share a current struggle or circumstance and someone invalidates it with a statement that shuts down the conversation?

It’s not fun.

But you’ve also done this, right? You sat across the table from someone a few years younger than you, watching them walk right into a season you just left, and your mouth can’t help itself but to throw advice into unwanted ears. Suddenly you hear yourself spitting out, “Just wait until you. . .

go to college.

move out on your own.

get a job.

live in another country.

get married.

stay single.

have a kid.

have two kids.

have three kids.

are pregnant with three kids.

have kids that are teenagers.”

And on, and on, and on.

And what you and I may not realize is that while our heart is pure, and our intentions are good, what we think we’re doing isn’t really what we’re doing at all. Because when we talk at people instead of listen to them we quickly invalidate what they say and trump their pain with “my life is harder than yours, so shut it.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like having clarity about this when the damage is done. I don’t like the moment I’m driving home from Starbucks and realize I monopolized a conversation, or spoke out of turn because my pride needed to come first. I wonder if today, we could listen. If we could place a metaphorical (or physical) hand over our mouth when we’re tempted to trump someone else’s struggle, and instead allow them to feel safe and heard. What we may surprisingly find on the opposite end is someone who wants to listen to the person that listened to him, first.

I wonder how different our families, relationships, churches, and businesses would be if we chose to listen a little more, and speak a lot less. Let’s listen today. And let’s put away the “just you wait . . .” monologue, and replace it with life-giving dialogues instead.

“Just you wait. . .” No. Just you listen.