Why Women Need Other Women

I remember when I was in high school saying, “Girls are awful. I don’t need girlfriends anyways. Guys are so much better.”

I was tired of the emotional warfare that girls, especially adolescent girls, are so good at. This statement stemmed from a place of hurt, a place of not knowing how to work through the drama surrounding my female friendships, of being attracted to the apparent ease of intimacy with men.

In many ways, men are far easier to have friendships with. They don’t typically have a lot of expectations for emotional commitment, they {usually} just say what they mean, they are great at easy compliments, the kind that are awesome when you need a quick-fix confidence booster.

But men have no idea what it’s like to be a woman. They don’t battle the massive attack on body image, the constant criticisms of every role we fill {wife, mother, employee, etc.}, the oversexualization of our persons and paradoxical expectations of purity, the deep desire to be at once nurtured & protected, as well as nurturing & independent.

When my friend Melissa published a feature about the kids and I on her blog, I was completely caught off guard by the sweet things she said. My initial reaction was disbelief: Superwoman? Me? Yeah right.

But as I read & reread her post, something changed in my heart. I couldn’t help smiling, a swelling sense of being seen coming over me. Melissa is one of the most joyful souls I’ve ever met, you can tell she has so much love in her heart, and it’s infectious. I knew, even if I wanted to deny it, that she really saw in me the things she wrote about. In this little article I suddenly saw myself differently.

I realized, we need other women to tell us we are strong.

We need other women to tell us we are capable.

We need other women to tell us we are beautiful.

We need other women to tell us we are worthy.

We need other women to cheer us on.

We need other women to acknowledge the struggles of motherhood.

We need other women to pray for us.

We need other women to laugh with, to cry with.

We need other women to remind us who we are.

We need other women because we will always be looking at other women to see where we measure up, we need those authentic friends to come along side us and say “I see you. I see your beauty. I believe your truth. You are right where you need to be, let me walk with you. Let’s have a cup of coffee and focus on who we are today, not who we should be or could be.”

We need other women because there is a unique & special ability we have to understand the common hurts we all experience and the incredible gift of being able to empower each other with the things we admire in each other.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve been overwhelmed by the love I’ve received, the vulnerability I’ve been able to share, & the empowering affirmations I’ve been given. As someone who spent years with absolutely no sense of self-worth, the healing that has started even in the midst of heartbreak has been God sent. The effort it takes to find women of authenticity is worth it. I’m thankful for each and every one of you who has come into my life & made it a better place.

xoxo, B

A Mother's Worst Fear: When Everyone Knows You Failed

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve certainly heard about the tragedy at the Cincinatti Zoo over the weekend, where a gorilla was shot so a small child could be rescued.

There have been many different eyewitness accounts {which, if you know anything about criminology you know eyewitness accounts are the least reliable source of evidence} of what actually happened and who is actually to blame, but I’m not here to talk about who is or isn’t at fault and what should be done about the situation. There are plenty of other articles and discussions on social media about it. I have my own personal feelings about the incident, but those don’t matter now.

A gorilla is dead and a child is safe.

Whatever could have been, this is what is, and it’s time to move forward.

So what am I here to talk about?

The tragedy of a mother put on public trial on social media.


Full disclosure: I did agree that the mother played a part in what happened and that she should have been held accountable in some way for the accident. But then I started to think about what I would have done if it was me. What if the unthinkable happened? What if I was flustered and overwhelmed and hot and was answering my child out of habit instead of intention?

I don’t know about you, but I say “no” out of habit when I hear my child ask a question more often than not. Half the time I don’t even know exactly what she’s asking, I just know that whatever she wants doesn’t fit in the scope of what we are doing.
When I started reading the comments of people saying the mother should have been shot too, that her children should be taken away, that she was an idiot and should never have had children, all I could think was: oh no.

The zoo will get another gorilla. The child will forget the accident by his fourth birthday. The siblings will most likely see it fade as well. But will this mother ever get over seeing her name plastered all over the Internet with the horrible things people have to say about her?

As mothers, we try, harder than we can ever show, to give our children the best lives. We read until 2 am, books and articles that promise to make us the best mothers we can be. We cry over jabs from our peers over our parenting choices and every mistake haunts us like little ghosts that live in our closets and make us wonder how these little lives will ever survive our parenting. We battle enough condemnation in our small circles, can you even imagine what you would do if faced with it on a national level?

When a mother makes a mistake, everything about her character is called into question. When a dad makes a mistake, when a grandmother makes a mistake, when a babysitter makes a mistake it’s often brushed off as a one-time accident. But when a mother makes a mistake, it negates every good thing she’s ever done.

Michelle Gregg took her children to the zoo that day for fun. I’m sure that she fed them breakfast, dressed them, helped them comb their hair. I bet she strapped them into their car seats properly and planned to get some good pictures of everyone enjoying learning about the different animals. I’m sure that in days past, she kissed boo-boos, shooed away monsters under the bed, and prayed hard that she was doing the right thing. I’m sure that she did everything I’ve ever done, and that she never once imagined that she would be a household name over one mistake.


Here’s the thing: I may not know this mother, but I know what it is to be a mother. I know the heartache and the struggle. But I also know the joys… I know the sweet feeling of my child’s arms around my neck when I’m laying her to bed, the sweet smell of her hair after a bath when we read a story, the sweet sound of her voice singing to me as I do dishes. Too often I feel those joys are outweighed by the sorrows I face as I fail daily to be the mom I want to be.

So how is it fair for any of us to judge a mother for the ONE mistake we can see? We have to stop defining every other mother by the accidents we see on the news. We have to stop shoving those mothers to the front of the battle lines so they can take all the criticisms and hatred that we hope we never have to face. We have to stop linking arms against the mother who failed and ostracizing her from our social circles because everyone can see her dirt… All the while knowing ours is just swept under a rug.

Beloved mamas everywhere — we are more than this. We are stronger than this. We have to stop being so afraid of failure that we vilify anyone who reminds us just how possible it is. Because we all fail, every day. It’s not when or how that defines us as mothers, it’s how we rebuild. And I would hope, should I ever be that mother on the news, that I would find a community that would help me pick up my scattered dreams of motherhood and remind me that I’m still good enough.

xoxo, B

The Monster Mommy

Today started out terribly.

A quick nap turned into a hulk-like rescue attempt to get Tiny’s leg unstuck from between the bars of her crib, in which the end result was me tearing the bar from the crib and scattering my room with small wood fragments.

Needless to say I lost my nap.

And my patience.

 

Black and White Baby Snuggles

The Monster Mommy came out.

The one who loses her mind over every little toddleresque thing Tiny does.

The one who throws fits over thrown food.

The one who cries in the bathroom because the cat is sitting on her lap and the toddler is screaming from her playpen and she just wants to pee.

The one who yells “JUST TAKE YOUR NAP!”

The one who wants to throw something.

The one who really wishes she could just drive away.

The one who finally swaddles and snuggles the thrashing, wailing, exhausted child who just. won’t. stop.

The one who holds her as she finally calms down and starts to breathe peacefully.

The one who starts crying again because the sleeping innocent has lost her fierceness and nuzzles her head into mama’s neck.

The one who stares at the precious, sweaty features of the little creation she’s been given to nurture and wishes she could take back all the harsh words.

Black and White Baby Profile

So often I let my feelings of failure as a mother define my day. I allow myself to be overtaken by the guilt and frustration that is just part of the job description. I forget to ask for help.

I don’t take the time to look — really look — at the incredible creation that is my daughter and instead I growl and roar because I am afraid that I am failing her and if she could just let me have a moment to myself, I could figure it all out, right? Right? Maybe?

But this evening, during her nap, I took the time to just look. To just look at all the sweet pieces that make up this feisty little mountain shaker. Shakespeare didn’t even have a clue. And my angry, monstery heart just melted.

Black and White Baby Feet

When she woke up, Tiny didn’t yell at me. She didn’t pinch me. She just rubbed her eyes and laid her head on my shoulder. I said I was sorry and she just nodded.

And I realized, despite everything, if Tiny can forgive Monster Mommy, so can I.

So here’s to the days when we mamas lose our humanity amidst the accidents, and temper tantrums, and exhaustion, here’s to the supermoms who keep going even when they seriously consider leaving their identity behind and permanently locating to the Bahamas, here’s to the precious little ones who love us despite it all.

You’re not alone.

xoxo, bcb

 

xoxo, B