Earlier this week as I was browsing through Instagram I came across a post from a celebrity. It was a cute picture of her adorable baby girl on a boat surrounded by all of the kids who had been boating that day with them. I thought to myself "Oh cute! Look at all of those adorable smiling faces. They must have had a great time!"
And I thought that to myself BEFORE I read the caption.
I forget what the beginning of the caption said, but probably something like "fun day on the lake." But at the end, she wrote a disclaimer, letting her followers know that the boat was docked at the time the photo was taken.
Hmmm...now that's kind of a strange thing to include. So I read on...
You guys, there were multiple comments on her post basically stating how she was being a terrible parent because the kids didn't have life vests on and the baby was sitting there on the seat not being held by an adult. Like really? People were bashing this poor mom EVEN AFTER she felt the need to put a disclaimer on there (a disclaimer that definitely wasn't needed).
I scrolled through more of her photos and read some of the nasty comments complete strangers were writing on her page and it made me so sad to think that we cannot just support each other as moms and as humans, at that. We are the only people who know what each other is going through so there is literally no one else we can lean on and yet, we constantly troll and judge and make nasty comments to each other without even knowing the back story of another mama's life. And so, we feel the need to put disclaimers in all that we do.
And this is not just moms, we do this in every day life. I know I do constantly.
What if I use the wrong word or someone reads this the wrong way or someone just doesn't like me and tells me that for the world to see. Believe it or not, I've gotten comments on my instagram page telling me that I was a "terrible mom"....and that is putting it far more nicely than it was worded by a complete strange. And I've received those comments on more than one occasion.
You may be thinking, "I would never do that" but to some extend, we all get angry or frustrated with complete strangers in every day life and the reason is because we cannot see past what we know. If only we knew what that person was going through, we wouldbe more understanding:
Maybe the person driving too slow on the freeway that you're currently tailgating got in a terrible wreck last week and is driving again for the first time after the accident. Or maybe that slow driver is a brand new dad driving his wife and 2-day-old baby home from the hospital and is driving slow because he's never driven such precious cargo in his life.
Maybe the person in the store who didn't smile back at you was zoning out because they had a lot on their mind and honestly didn't notice your kind gesture. Maybe a close family member had just passed away that day and they just couldn't bring a smile to their face.
Maybe the mom who had to let her baby cry it out hadn't slept in three days and was bawling in the other room the entire time but it was literally her last resort and she didn't know what else to do. And after three days of no sleep, she felt that her baby was more safe in her crib crying than in her own tired arms. Maybe that is what was best for the baby in that moment.
Heck, maybe the photo of the baby sitting on the ledge was completely Photoshopped and dad's hands were taken out of photo that was posted online.
We think we know everything but we really know just a tiny slice of each others' lives, if any. So just think about that next time you want to judge or get angry with someone else.
And in fact, let's just flip it.
Why don't we just assume that a simple smile at a stranger in the grocery store was a smile that they needed to get a spark of light that their life isn't as bad as it seems. Why don't we just assume that when we comment something nice on the Instagram of a complete stranger, that that mama needed that comment today and it totally made her smile bigger than she had smiled all week...or all month. Let's be kind to each other as though a stranger's life depended on it instead of just assuming that our tunnel vision is the truth. Because it's not the truth. We will never know the full story of someone else's life.
Let's lift each other up in all that we do. Let's smile, let's give compliments, let's be courteous and kind to anyone and everyone.
Let's be excellent to each other.
And with that, we can make our own lives, our mama community and the world a better place. A laugh and a smile are contagious...so spread them like wildfire.