When Validation Is What’s Really Needed


A scenario for you:

A new (or newish….sometimes not so new) mama says something along the lines of “this is so freaking hard!”…..

And someone might say something in response like “we’ve all been there!”.

And you sometimes think, was that supposed to be encouraging or make me just want to crawl into a corner and cry some more?

I say this because it is often times (not always, I know) followed up with statements such as “get used to it”, “it gets worse!” or “just wait until they’re teenagers!”.

There are more varied responses, I know. Those are just a sampling of what I’ve personally heard, or have heard others say to the new parent on the playground.

I do believe the intention is there to be encouraging, but sometimes those responses or “advice” statements seem to be opposite of that.

It kind of goes along with things like “sleep when the baby sleeps” (not that that’s all that bad of advice), and the “oh, enjoy this time because it goes fast!”.

And it so very much does. They are not lying. Being a mama of 4, the oldest and youngest two being ten years apart, I get it. You just blink and they are heading toward tweendom and buckle up! Because, holy moly!

I know….I know these 2 year olds are going to be there faster than I’d like, but I also know how very hard the early days/weeks/months….years….can be!

Absolutely, I have been a mama that has said “we’ve all been there” to a new/new-ish mama. And I have absolutely intended it to be encouraging….kinda like “we’ve been there, we totally get it. It’s hard”. But I have found myself in this season of life being more mindful of how I respond. I will often try to follow up the “we’ve all been there” with, “you are not alone, us mamas that have been there before get it, we’re here when you need to chat”.

Because, let’s face it, it’s freaking hard, this parenting thing!

I know I’ve been guilty in a quick response of saying “we’ve all been there”, only to wonder later, when someone has said it to me, if the person I’ve said it to before took it as encouragement, or just a “yeah, we’ve all been there…join the club!”.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve not found that entirely encouraging when dealing with tiny humans and feeling like I’m losing my mind. I have found myself wondering “I am supposed to just suck it up and deal with it? Am I doing something wrong? Why do I feel more alone than not?” And yes, there are times we definitely need to suck it up and deal with it. Life happens and you gotta roll with it.

What I have found helpful? When a fellow mama or, more seasoned than myself mama, has said “we get it. It’s hard….we’re here for you, you are not alone”.

Followed up with statements such as “and you are doing a fantastic job!”, doesn’t hurt either.

Sometimes? Sometimes a mama just needs validation that it’s HARD. And it’s okay to hide in the bathroom or a closet, or the pantry or laundry, with some chocolate and cry.

We have ALL been there at some point! And it helps soothe the rough day, even if just a little.

I think it’s easy to compare….to the mama that has 3, and you wonder why you’re having such a hard time with only one!

{by the way, I totally hate the word “only” when used like that….}

Or the mama with 2, three years apart, looking at the mom of twins thinking “and I thought I was having a hard day….I only have two, not the same age!”.

Or the mama with 3 that can’t figure out how that mom over there with 5 is managing so much better! She should be able to handle “only 3″…..

And it becomes easy for those thoughts of  “they’ve all been there, I just need to deal” to pop into our heads, making us doubt if we’re even cut out for the parenting thing.

You are. We are.

When I had an “only” for 8 years, I often doubted myself. Then I went from being a mom of ONE to a mom of FOUR in less than two years and I REALLY began to doubt myself.

Here is what I have learned….

When it is ONE, it’s hard because it’s all you’ve known. You are caring for a tiny human and they cry and are super needy and helpless in the beginning and you are just trying to figure this whole thing out! There was a time, when my oldest was itty bitty and I was crying, he was crying…it was bad. I looked at him and said, “I’m new at this whole mama thing, and I know you are new at this being in the world thing, so let’s bare with each other and figure it out together, k?”….I gave myself grace. I didn’t know it all and I had to learn a whole lot. I am STILL learning a whole lot since I am about to embark on the teenage years with that one.

When I had TWO? I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I was a brand new mama all over again, but this time through adoption to an almost 5 year old, that I’d missed the first 4 plus years of life with….talk about figuring things out! I’m still learning on that, too.

Then, SURPRISE! Add some twin babies to the mix and It was, again, like starting all over! I’d not had twins before, and they were new at this whole life thing!

I’ve learned that it’s OKAY not to have all the answers. And it’s okay to give yourself GRACE in the learning process and curve balls that will, absolutely, head your way.

So, fellow parents, will you join me in being more mindful and thoughtful in our responses to the new parents on the block?

I don’t know if you do resolutions or not, but this year I want to be more mindful, THOUGHTFUL, and intentional with how I speak or respond to others.

How about you?