“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.” - Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
A few months ago I was at the gym picking my kids up from daycare. A women I've talked with a few times while on the treadmill came in to pick up her son after being called on the intercom. She was in the middle of potty training him and during his time in the daycare he had taken his pants down and peed in the corner of the gym play place. Every moms nightmare, right? When she came to pick him up she rushed him in the bathroom. She looked calm and wasn't embarrassed, but I knew that it wasn't her finest moment either. As parents, our days sometimes feel defined by the actions of these little people we care for. How early our kids learn to talk, walk, potty train, or ride a bike somehow becomes a ruler for measuring our success as a parent. In reality, their successes or failures should not be how we measure our performance as parents, but more by the way we love and care for them as they hit these milestones at their own pace.
I left the gym before talking to that mom that day and part of me has felt sick ever since. I should have waited and said something to lighten the mood like, "One time when I was potty training my little girl she peed all over my huge pregnant belly in Target." Or, "One time when I had just had a baby I went to a bounce house and peed all over myself when I tried to jump with my kids. So...it doesn't make me much better off than your kid." Or even something as simple as, "Those first few days out of the house while potty training are the WORST!" (Because they are!)
Whatever it was I could have said, I know I should have said something. Because as parents of young children, we are all in this together. If we don't stop one another to empathize and share our worst potty training stories when our kids pee on the floor, then all we have left — literally— is stinky kids and a puddle of pee. We don't have to expose our worst flaws to make someone feel better, but it never hurts to say, "I totally know how that feels!" No one will ever be mad. In fact, they will probably feel validated and understood.
I love the quote above from Brene Brown because as a mother I am constantly trying to let go of shame that comes from the fear that I am doing all of this wrong, or that no matter how hard I try, I'll never be enough. Empathy is the answer; it is the way we remind one another that we are enough, we are doing our best and that these little ones are going to turn out alright. Leaning over and saying, "You've got this" to friends and even strangers we see at the park will help us all let go of shame together as parents and open up some more room in our hearts to show love and kindness to our little ones.
YOU are amazing mama! Sending love to you and your family this week.
P.S. This is the third installment in our #tubbytoddsoapbox series. This series is intended to do the exact same thing as our Tubby Todd products — they're meant to help you love and nurture your little ones! So go on, give 'em a squeeze. They're only little once. hihigyuw4ft