The moment I realized that I had become a Mean Mommy.

So there is a moment in every mom’s life that she realizes that she has indeed been, as I describe it, a ‘mean mommy’. There was a defining moment in my life as a mother, where I realized that I indeed had turned into a mean mommy, and I decided to do something about it. I vowed to never judge or criticize another mom again, cause you never know where life will take you or what challenges you and your family will endure. This will make more sense as your read about my own ‘mean mommy’ moment.A few years back I was in line at the liquor store around the holidays. In front of me was this mother with a little girl who looked to be about four years old. She had a full leg cast on and the mother had her on the counter sitting next to her bottles of wine. At the time, I thought to myself, ‘How on earth did your four year old daughter break her leg?’ Oh…it gets worse. My mind continued to wander, ‘Why would you bring that poor little girl out with you to get your beer and wine?’ Oh…and worse still, ‘You were probably busy drinking wine and not watching your daughter when she broke her leg.’ I’m not just a mean mommy, I’m a mommy monster. Luckily, I have enough sense not to open my big mouth, and stood quietly judging this other mom. Writing this, I am embarrassed to have been such a horrible judgemental mother, even if I didn’t say it.

It often takes hindsight before we can really grow and improve as human beings. This is exactly what it took for me. Almost two years ago, our daughter Jocelyn fell while we were camping. She is a tough little cookie and didn’t cry too much. Days later, we noticed her collarbone area turned yellow and green, oh and there was a bone sticking out. She had broken her collar bone, and we didn’t even know it until days later. The aftermath of doctor’s appointments, x-rays, and a ridiculous amount of judgement, opened my eyes to the tremendous stress that mothers go through when their children get hurt.

james_slingOh wait… it gets better. The universe must have really been sending a message to me. Less than six months later our son thought it would be a good idea to jump off a couch on to an exercise ball. He launched himself across the room and on to the floor. The scream was deafening. After a night at the emergency room, and him almost needing surgery, he was sent home with a sling and a stuffed bear. Oh yeah… and a broken collar bone. Yes that’s right, both our children have now broken their collar bones.

So, this was my moment. After both our children broke their collar bones you can imagine the amount of judgment and criticism I received from other moms. I couldn’t even be angry about it, because I myself remember doing this to another mom. Looking back I wish I had been able to realize a few things about the mother at the liquor store. First off her child was too young to use crutches but too big to use a stroller. This poor mom had to carry her child everywhere. Secondly, it was the holidays and she probably had a million errands that she had to do, including a stop to get some wine. Thirdly, maybe after being through a traumatic event like your child breaking a bone, she just needed some freaking wine. Seriously, I can’t believe that I was once the mommy monster I described. I wish that I would have told that mom that she was doing a great job and that her patience was commendable. I wish I had offered to help her get her daughter out to the car, and her wine safely into her trunk. I wish I would have opened a bottle right there and then and done a ‘cheers’, cause any mom who goes through the stress of a hurt child needs to hear that they are doing a good job.

Please don’t judge me, but reflect on yourself and realize that we all have had a mean mommy moment. Join me now and vow to tell another mom that she is an amazing mother and to support one another through both our struggles and triumphs.

Tell a Celebrity Mom she’s doing a good job…

So, just because they’re celebrities doesn’t mean they aren’t moms, just like the rest of us. In honour of the Oscar presentation last night, I wanted to recognize my three favourite celebrity moms. I can only imagine the amount of judgement that these mother’s endure daily. Just think what it would be like if you had a camera constantly following you around all day, publicly documenting your parenting flaws. I have a lot of respect for these celebrity moms and how they present themselves, as strong respectful women in the media. What great role models for their children. Who are your favourite celebrity moms? These are my top three: Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon & Jennifer Garner. You are all amazing mothers who looked spectacular last night!

Soccer Mom Militia

Scan 1So this past summer I thought it would be a good idea to enroll my son in soccer. He loved playing in the yard and was really quite good at it so I thought it would boost his self esteem. I knew by this time that he had some anxiety, but thought since he loved playing soccer that it might be okay. Alright, so I know what you are all thinking…why would this be any different from swimming? Well, I guess I thought if we removed the whole water aspect it would be okay. It wasn’t. And now I had a whole slew of soccer moms to compete with.We arrive for the first game of the season. My son starts to have a meltdown. I encourage and motivate him in every way that I know how. I’m prepared this time…I know now that this is not a behaviour issue and that patience is essential. I stay with him during the practice portion and feel the eyes of other moms piercing through my back as I stand in front of the whole line up of proud parents.

The game starts, my son  is on the field. I avoid eye contact hoping that it might help him from running off the field. He’s running…he’s kicking the ball… he scores a goal!!! I’m thrilled. I look down the field and there is my son balling his eyes out. He comes running off because he didn’t like the way all the kids were running together around him. He refuses to play the rest of the game. A mother comes over and informs me that all the players are supposed to sit on the bench on the other side of the field. Are you for real? Who was she? The ‘soccer mom police’?

I wanted to just throw in the towel and quit soccer. My gut told me that this was the right thing to do, that my son was just not ready for this. So many other moms I ran into insisted that I couldn’t ‘let him quit’ because it would send the message that if things were hard it was okay to not finish them. I so wish that I hadn’t listened. I pushed for six weeks. I let my son bring his own soccer ball, only to overhear a mother say, ‘why does that boy need to bring his own ball all the time?’ I ran along the sidelines while enduring the grumbles and complaints of parents who were as I call them ‘hard core spectators’. My son just plain hated everything about the sport. After six weeks he begged me not to make him go and I gave in. The breaking point for me was when he said, ‘Mom, if I go today and I still don’t like it, can I please not have to go anymore?’

So we went for our last week and as usual I sat on the ‘wrong side’ of the field across from all the moms glaring at me wondering why I had to be sitting on that side when clearly that was for the players. I told them that we wouldn’t be returning only to have another mom ask me if I had at least brought the snack for my week yet. You’re right… how dare I do what’s right for my child. And heaven forbid I forget the snacks.

‘YOU ARE A GREAT MOM’ moment of the day.

So as I dress my son for the blizzard outside, I think to myself…wow how I wish you took the bus right now. He is petrified of the bus, so I drive him everyday. I call my mom to see if she can watch my youngest while I drive him to school. She lives a block over.

I get to the school, fight for a parking spot and get my son out of the car. We make the trek towards the kindergarten area. ‘This is so much work,’ I think to myself. I look over and see this other mother pushing a stroller through the inches of snow with a newborn baby. She is dragging her toddler aged child who is dragging his boots the whole way, obviously not thrilled to be along for the trip. Holding on to the side of the stroller is her school aged child, backpack in hand. WOW. This woman is amazing. To top everything off, she is on time. She doesn’t looked stressed and is not yelling or even whispering threatening disciplinary action at her children. I didn’t make it over to commend her, but seriously… what a great mom. To all the mothers out there who do this every day, hats off to you, you are doing an amazing job and I hope to get some pointers one day.