If you have ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness, you know how great it feels. That’s especially the case for us moms, who are often victims of angry stares while their kid’s tantrum holds up a checkout line, who struggle with the mental and physical challenges of motherhood more than you’ll ever see on the outside, who are sleep-deprived, stressed and take way too long trying to get their words out on a phone call.
For moms, a little kindness can go a long way
So here’s to the cashier, neighbor, friend and stranger, who had no idea they helped me re-write my narrative as a Mom.
They made me feel valued and worthy of being taken care of just like I take care of everyone else.
And that’s something special. Something everyone needs to know.
To the cashier with the purple hair
You had no idea how sleep-deprived I was when I walked into your store that day. I was the kind of tired that coffee doesn’t fix. The kind of tired that suffocates a mama with another new baby.
It was one of the first times I had leaned my weary body on a shopping cart since giving birth.
I was confused about a discount at your store. You could have broken me into a million pieces with an impatient word while other customers waited behind me. Instead, you were patient and made me feel like I was important and they could wait just another moment. When I returned to your store a few days later because the item I had purchased was the wrong size and I had already ripped off the tags, you keyed the item in manually, refunded my money and sent me happily home to all three of my babies.
You chose kindness that day and I never forgot it.
To the neighbor with the snowblower
You had no idea that my husband worked long hours, or that the two of us were enduring yet another high-risk pregnancy. I was stuck at home in the winter on partial bed rest and my driveway was once again, snowed in. Your driveway always looked perfectly plowed.
I saw you out my front window many times with your snowblower and I could tell you were in your 80’s. I saw you look over at our house and walk over with your snowblower. You cleared out our driveway and it looked just like yours. Pregnancy hormones and all I cried. Happy tears that my husband would finally get a break from keeping up with so many things inside and outside of our home when I was barely able to do a load of laundry.
You could have looked over and figured my husband would clear it out again when he got home. You chose kindness that day and I never forgot it.
To the friend with the paper bags
You had no idea that I was in a great deal of pain after my third c-section while also adjusting to having three kids.
I was feeling pretty useless as a mom at that time.
I could barely walk around let alone care for my family. Though he would never admit it, my husband was weary from all the crying and meal-cooking during my week-long hospital stay. We had just spent days watching our newborn struggle to breathe and taking him homemade us even more anxious.
You didn’t know our minds weren’t focused on cooking. You simply dropped two large brown paper bags full of meals on our doorstep.
When I opened up the door and saw them, pregnancy hormones and all, I cried.
Our three and six-year-old came running over with happy squeals. They were so excited. Somehow you had chosen their favorite meals and treats! You could have told yourself that because we have family around someone else would help us instead. You chose kindness that day and I never forgot it.
To the stranger who paid for coffee
You had no idea that I had just been in a terrible argument. It was one of those arguments that was not the other person’s fault: it was mine and I knew it.
I was so tired from so many late-night feedings and early morning wake-ups. I was not thinking straight. I hopped in my car and started to drive. I thought that maybe coffee and some quiet time would clear my head. Maybe then I would return home a better mom and wife.
Waiting in that long line did the opposite: I was internally agonizing over practically every mistake I made since becoming a wife and mom, my thoughts were spiraling.
When I pulled up to the window the lady excitedly said “your coffee’s paid for!” Her words jolted me right out of my slump that day better than any cup of coffee could. I smiled and was able to go back home feeling a new sense of hope, energy and love. You chose kindness that day and I never forgot it.
I won’t forget those acts of kindness
To the cashier, neighbor, friend and stranger: You may never know the power of you kindness, but I promise you, this mom will never forget it.
And so many others don’t either.
When you see us in lines at the store trying to calm a toddler tantrum.
When you sit in front of us on an airplane and we’re struggling to get our little one to stop crying.
When you encounter the moms in your personal circle, professional network or local community.
Remember how much it means to us to show patience, compassion and kindness. We need it more than you may ever know. And it really makes all the difference in the world.
“Kindness is incredibly powerful because it is so unlike what most of us see every day. It does not come naturally to us. We have to work at it and build it, like a muscle. But when we do, it stands out.” -Candace Cameron Bure