practicing random acts of mom-kindness

As I’m poring over dozens and dozens of emails, Facebook and blog comments, cards, plants and notes from friends, internet buddies, and clients sending me prayers, thoughts, and sympathy, it occurs to me: people can be really nice, and really thoughtful and helpful in a crisis. It just shows you that most of us have our hearts and our intentions in the right places. It’s during the everyday grind of life–standing in the checkout line, driving carpool, waiting in the hall for your parent-teacher conference–that we tend to forget how big a difference those little acts of kindness can have on another mom’s day. I was reminded of this last week when I tried to go grocery shopping the day the last of my family members packed up and went home. The entire day, I felt like I was walking through soup. I probably looked normal (except for the extreme slowwwwness of my movements) but each little kindness I was granted–like the guy who waved for me to cross with my cart in front of his car even though he didn’t have a stop sign, or the friend who sent a supportive text at just the right moment–made a huge difference. Even on a good day, all moms could use a helping hand–whether it’s a knowing smile at just the right moment or a surprise offer to babysit.

When I take the time to stop and be nice–whether to a friend or a total stranger–I always get a little boost out of it myself. It’s just reminding myself to stop and take a moment that’s the tricky part. So I’m going to consider this post my reminder…and would love it if you felt inspired by it, too.

Here are a few ideas for ways you can make a fellow mom’s life a little easier this week:

  • When you’re shopping without kids–or when you’ve got just older, easier kids with you–give up that prize “right by the shopping carts and front door” parking spot in the hopes that a mom with a bolting toddler or newborn baby will get it. I do this regularly and while I know there’s a good chance some young, able-bodied person will snag it instead, I figure at least once in a while it’s got to help out a mom in need (or maybe somebody else who really could use the closer spot).
  • Stop in to see a friend today, and offer to grab her kids and take them to the park. Just imagine how good you’d feel if somebody unexpectedly offered you an hour to yourself today. It’s not that hard to give that gift to somebody else.
  • Next time you’re at the grocery store, call a friend and see if she needs you to pick anything up. You know what a bummer it is to head out to the store in bad weather when all you need is a gallon of milk, right? You can save somebody else the effort with practically no additional effort of your own.
  • You’re at Target and there’s a mom with a wailing, inconsolable child in the aisle with you. Regardless of how you feel about the way she’s speaking to or looking at her child, regardless of how ill-behaved he seems, regardless of how busy you are or how painful the piercing screams are to listen to…look at her and smile. Maybe grab the cart if she needs help steadying it while removing her fit-throwing kid, or just give her a kind word. Another time, you might be the “mean mom” with the “bratty kid” hoping desperately that everyone around you knows that you really aren’t usually so grumpy and your child usually isn’t so scream-y.

I’d love for you to add your own suggestions in the comments, or let us know about random acts of mom-kindness that have brightened your day, whether you’ve been on the receiving or giving end.

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